The Bottom Line: If you haven't read the earlier Stephanie Plum books, read those first. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this addition to the series.
As a big fan of the Stephanie Plum series, I have read the entire series and actually managed to tie Stephanie into my master's thesis in English literature. Stephanie Plum (as I argued in my thesis :) ) is a true post-feminist heroine--tough enough to "run with the boys" in the male-dominated world of law enforcement, but girlie enough that women everywhere relate to her foibles (from her love/hate affair with junk food to her complicated, unresolved romantic life). This particular novel tries to deviate a bit from the formula established in earlier novels by finally providing us with some background information on the mysterious Ranger Manoso, Stephanie's mentor and sometime romantic interest. I appreciate Evanonich's attempts to develop her male characters throughout the series and particularly in this novel. As realistic and likeable as Stephanie's character is, her cop boyfriend Joe Morelli and her mentor Ranger have always seemed kind of flat and uninteresting in comparison. (Especially Joe. I'm still not sure why she doesn't ditch him for Ranger...) However, we learn more about both these characters in Twelve Sharp.
The weakest point of this novel is that it IS still pretty formulaic. It seems like after 12 novels, Stephanie would have learned to be a slightly better bounty hunter, and would have made some decisions about managing her personal life. Of course, if she did, the series would be quite different. Evanovich is probably smart to stick with what works! Overall, this book is at least as enjoyable as any other in the series and has the bonus of providing tantalizing never-before-known details about Ranger.