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Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Wicked Business” is the second in the Lizzy and Diesel Novel series.  I read the first one, “Wicked Appetite” and felt Janet Evanovich had taken a whole new leap into wackiness.  Diesel is familiar from the Stephanie Plum series as one of Ranger’s bounty hunters.  In the new series he has returned to his Salem, MA roots in order to save the world from destruction at the hands of his evil wizard cousin, Wulf.  “Wicked Business” continues the effort to fend off Wulf, but adds a second evil character who calls herself Anarchy.  Anarchy is not as smart as Wulf and very unpredictable while Wulf usually announces what he is going to do before he does it in order to give Lizzy and Diesel a “friendly” warning.

Lizzy is a pastry chef, Lizzy Tucker, who lives in Marblehead and works at a bakery in Salem.  Like Diesel and Wulf, Lizzy has supernatural powers.  She can feel the presence of evil and powerful, dangerous forces.  Diesel has special powers to destroy evil in the world, but he can’t necessarily sense its presence before it is in sight.  He sticks close to Lizzy for that.  The series if full of sexual tension between Diesel and Lizzy.  They come close to consummating their feelings for each other, but they always stop short because to do so would most likely rob one of them of their powers.

The plot takes the pair on a hunt for the killer of a Harvard professor who is associated with magic stones and tablets that each represent one of the 7 deadly sins.  Lizzy and Diesel discover that the professor was killed because he was harboring the stone that embodies the power of lust and had documented a number of hidden clues to lead to the stone.  Supposedly, if all 7 stones are brought together the wizard possessing those stones can rule or destroy the world.  Wulf and Anarchy are both after the stone while Lizzy and Diesel want to be able to destroy the stone or at least hide it where the bad wizards can never find it.

All this sounds vaguely like the plot of “Lord of the Rings” or possibly “Harry Potter,” but is much racier and meant for an adult audience.  While the series includes the familiar Janet Evanovich wackiness, I don’t find them nearly as spell-binding as either of the other two fantasy classics.  “Wicked Business” is more a Stephanie Plum take-off character wrapped up in a fantasy quest.  It is a fast, entertaining read, but not great literature.

Liz Nichols

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