Once again, Janet Evanovich pulled out the Stephanie Plum formula, and once again it worked. Evanovich has been coasting since about book ten or eleven (my theory is that with multiple series, she's spread herself too thin), but Takedown Twenty made me laugh and contained a decent mystery. Uncle Sunny - beloved to the Burg for his habit of crooning Sinatra at weddings while wearing a red bow tie. That habit clearly outweighs his reputation for killing people, so when some kid uses his phone to video Sunny running over someone, well, public sentiment is on Sunny's side. Not on the side of the bounty hunter tasked with bringing him in. Oh, and Sunny is also Joe's Grandma Bella's nephew, so Steph not only has to bring in a "connected" and popular old man, Bella has cursed her. And she keeps seeing a giraffe (which Lula has named Kevin) running around Trenton. Maybe she's better off helping Ranger find the serial killer who murdered a Rangeman client's mother. Or maybe she should go to work for the butcher her mother has invited to dinner.
While not up to the first dozen Plums, Takedown Twenty is a funny, fast-paced, and well plotted book. Evanovich works in car death, a crazy Lula outfit, Grandma Bella in a Mets cap, a secondary FTA, family dinner, and a funeral without making it feel like she's working from a checklist. It's an afternoon's diversion, and not so taxing that you can't read it while sipping some of Mrs. Plum's "iced tea."