For centuries, adventurers and power seekers have sought to possess the seven SALIGIA stones, mystical objects created by an unknown source and said to each represent one of the seven deadly sins (SALIGIA being a mnemonic for the sins as written in Latin). Having now found their way to Massachusetts, they have attracted the attention of two strange cousins – Gerwulf Grimoire and the man known simply as Diesel. Each has abilities way beyond the ordinary, but lack the skill to be able to recognise one of these stones when they see it. Only two people in the world can do this: the singularly odd Hatchet, who teams up with the dark and dangerous Gerwulf, and cupcake baker Lizzie (newly moved to New England from New York), who finds herself assisting the impossibly handsome but off-limits Diesel and his mischievous monkey Carl.
In Wicked Business, the second instalment in the Lizzie and Diesel series, the mysterious death of Harvard Professor Gilbert Reedy (thrown off his fourth floor balcony with nothing but his socks and a magical burn to the back of his neck) sets them on the trail of the Luxuria stone. Said to be able to inspire lust – or true love, depending on how it is used – the Luxuria stone has been the object of Gilbert Reedy’s obsession for thirty years. Following a giant treasure hunt around Boston, Salem and Dartmouth, Lizzie and Diesel race to find the Luxuria stone before Gerwulf or whoever killed Professor Reedy gets there first.
It is usually not an easy thing to pick up the second book in a series and be able to get straight into the story without becoming confused or feeling you are missed out on subtle background information, but despite having not read first Lizzie and Diesel book (Wicked Appetite, published in 2011), I had no trouble following Wicked Business. Although to be fair, the book was very light (the literary equivalent of one of Lizzie’s cupcakes – the sort of thing I could very easily imagine being made into a Katherine Heigl film, actually) and had no complex back story beyond what I have summarised in the paragraphs above, and that is presented to the reader in the first couple of chapters. I do suspect, however, that the reader would get more enjoyment by reading the series in the order that the author intended. The tone was like a pleasant rom-com; not laugh-out-loud funny, but enough to raise a smile in several places and nothing to tax the grey matter too much. I think it would make an ideal summer holiday read.
This is the first Janet Evanovich book that I have read, although I don’t think it will be my last. Hers is a very different writing style to what I normally read, and while I admittedly found it maddeningly insubstantial in places, I suspect this was as much to do with my tendency to read weighty tomes on a regular basis as much as it was the fluffy-light prose of the book. Coming in at 297 fairly largely type-set pages, the story did not take long for me to conclude, but for times when I want something gentler on the mind than my usually choice of reading material, I could well imagine me trying another one of her many books – although given how quickly I read this, I don’t think I would be likely to pay the full hardback price tag to do so.
Recommended to readers wanting something light and amusing.
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich
Published by Headline, June 2012
With thanks to Headline for providing a review copy of Wicked Business.
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