A few weeks ago I was volunteering at the library sale and was bored to tears. There weren’t many people around to shop for housewares – the booth under my supervision – and I needed something to pass the time. Like any good bibliophile, I sifted through some of the books for sale and settled on Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich.
I first discovered Evanovich’s work through, “One for the Money” the first book in her Stephanie Plum series. I love the Stephanie Plum universe. Sure, it’s pretty formulaic, but I love the characters and wacky situations that come their way. What Evanovich does well is what the Victorian novelists perfected – everyone has an identifying catch phrase, quirk or tick. Stephanie Plum’s cars blow up and she ends up in her Uncle Sandor’s Buick, Lula wears insane clothes and Grandma Mazur thinks she can solve crime. She builds physical elements of her story beautifully. After reading her books, I can always see the homes her characters inhabit and where they spend their time. Her descriptions are simple, but they do the trick.
I liked how she introduced Lizzy’s (Wicked Appetite’s heroine) kitchen.
“The inexpensive refrigerator and stove worked just fine. The floor was wide plank yellow pine. The over-the counter cabinets were painted Wedgewood blue, with glass-paned doors. The sink was porcelain, with only a couple chips in it. The countertops were red Formica. I’d added a small butcher-block work island and two wooden bar stools. My pots and pans hing over my workstation on hooks screwed into the low ceiling (Evanovich, 74).”
Here we see a kitchen that could be in anyone’s house. It’s warm and functional and probably smells like vanilla cake.
Wicked Appetite is the first in a series surrounding pastry chef and Salem, MA transplant Lizzy Tucker. Lizzy possesses a power where she can feel the magical energy of objects. Two seekers of a kind, Diesel and Wulf need someone with her ability to help find a set of magical stones. Diesel and Lizzy partner up, along with a cat and small monkey, have to find the stones before Wulf and his partner, a certified wackadoodle doo.
While I enjoyed this story, it didn’t really suck me in. I didn’t connect to Lizzy the way I did Stephanie. I thought the little anecdotes about Glo, the kooky pastry shop girl and Clara, the pastry shop owner, were nice, but the supporting cast wasn’t great as I thought they might be. The relationships between all the characters seemed too similar to her pervious work but without the characters I know and love.
All in all, I liked Wicked Appetite. It was a fun read and great for the beach or a flight. If you’re looking for some fun and talk about cupcakes, this is a book for you. If you check out Evanovich’s website, there’s two more books in this universe and there may even be more books to come.
If you like your mysteries with magic and talk of cupcakes, pick up Wicked Appetite!