Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Veritable Plethora of Monkeys

Earlier this week I wanted to go someplace with monkeys, and then I started reading the new car book I just received from Amy, mostly because of this positive review and, to my delight, I had landed in a story that has a veritable plethora of monkeys.

For a "between the numbers" Stephanie Plum novel, Plum Spooky (by Janet Evanovich) is the best of a mediocre lot. This one charmed me in spite of its attempt at woo-woo stuff with a character called Diesel who keeps telling Stephanie that people leave "cosmic debris" that he can track, and then laughs at her, saying "you don't really think there's cosmic dust, do you?"

Not only is Stephanie looking after Carl, the pet monkey of a woman she once met, she discovers an entire back yard full of monkeys in the course of her bounty hunter rounds. Carl is a charmer who understands everything that is said to him, eats the same food as Stephanie and Diesel, gives people the finger when appropriate, and makes annoying repetitive sounds in place of "are we there yet?" when a car trip starts to get long (Diesel solves that problem by buying him a handheld video game).

The end of the novel is where all the monkey jokes really started to pile up. At one point Morelli asks how Stephanie's day is going and she replies
"It's average. Stole a truck. Blew up a house. Brought seven monkeys home with me. And now I have a naked man in my shower."
"Yeah, same ol', same ol', Morelli said."

Just a few pages later, Stephanie has to call Ranger when the five monkeys inside the jeep she's borrowed from him lock her out: "He took a key out of his pocket and opened the car door. 'Do you want the two on the roof inside? Or do you want the five inside to get out of the car?'"

The final time Morelli asks Stephanie how her day has been, many people would think the joke has already gone too far. She replies that she
"blew up a fuel depot, stole twelve rockets and made off with them in a stolen van, got kidnapped by a maniac, and had dinner with a guy who farted fire."
"That would be funny, but I'm worried it's all true."
"It's been a long couple days."

But what would a novel like this be without excess? It's kind of like watching the Simpsons, only quieter, and you can take it wherever you go, as long as you can laugh quietly. Which I can't, actually, so I read it at home, where everyone but the new kitten is used to my laugh.

No comments: