Full Blast
by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes, contemporary (2004)
St Martin's Press, $7.99, ISBN 0-312-98330-1


Where we last left off Jamie Swift, Max Sinclair, and Muffin the talking car, Jamie and Max are still trying to make up their minds whether to shag on or shag off. In Full Blast, our threesome investigate the weird happenings of Beaumont, North Carolina, when heat wave, a crazy psychic, edible lingerie, and pornographic cakes start making an appearance. Things really heat up when dead bodies - murders that the psychic in question predicts - start to pile up. What is going on?

Yes, seriously, what is going on? The only good thing I can say about this book is that it is short. Jamie and Max are really pulling at straws in this book to keep the sexual tension going, but to be honest, I am beyond caring. They and that stupid car can go drive off a cliff for all I care. The humor in this book is as sophisticated as a potty joke in a kiddie joke book. Old people behaving badly have gone out of fashion since 1999 - hasn't anyone passed the memo to these authors?

It is hard to describe what is wrong with this book because it is so shallow and substance-free that it is hard for me to start pinpointing. This is one book that emphasizes unfunny gag scenes and one-liners at the expense of actual plot. It doesn't want me to care for its cardboard characters, it just makes to get cheap laughs from me. These books have their uses, of course, as throwaway beach reads or airplane diversions, and Full Blast is best treated that way. The six people out there that still care - five actually, as I'm no longer counting myself as one of these people - and have some trips coming up in their schedule can get a copy of this book ASAP. Everyone else, let's just sit back and marvel at how a previous powerhouse author can sink this low when it comes to reusing her shtick again and again to point of overkill. Janet Evanovich is in danger of overstaying her welcome if she keeps churning up swill like Full Blast, and she is dragging Charlotte Hughes right into the line of fire with her.

Rating: 48


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