Wicked Appetite (Lizzy and Diesel Series #1)by Janet Evanovich
Life in Marblehead has had a pleasant predictability, until Diesel arrives. Rumor has it that a collection of priceless ancient relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins have made their way to Boston’s North Shore. Partnered with pastry chef Lizzie Tucker, Diesel bullies and charms his way through historic Salem to track them down—and his criminal
Life in Marblehead has had a pleasant predictability, until Diesel arrives. Rumor has it that a collection of priceless ancient relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins have made their way to Boston’s North Shore. Partnered with pastry chef Lizzie Tucker, Diesel bullies and charms his way through historic Salem to track them down—and his criminal mastermind cousin Gerewulf Grimorie. The black-haired, black-hearted Wulf is on the hunt for the relic representing gluttony. Caught in a race against time, Diesel and Lizzie soon find out that more isn’t always better, as they battle Wulf and the first of the deadly sins.
With delectable characters and non-stop thrills that have made Janet Evanovich a household name, Wicked Appetite will leave you hungry for more.
The creator of Stephanie Plum (Sizzling Sixteen, 2010, etc.) kicks off a new series that presses familiar ingredients into the genre of supernatural farce.
In lieu of bounty hunter Stephanie, Evanovich presents pastry chef Elizabeth Tucker, recently relocated to Marblehead, Mass., and baking cupcakes for Dazzle's Bakery. In place of file clerk Lula, Stephanie's antic sidekick is Dazzle's counter girl Gloria Binkly, who thinks animals and books and storefronts are calling to her. And instead of that dangerous hunk Ranger, Lizzy gets involved with Diesel, who seems to be channeling Ranger right down to sleeping in the nude. This time, however, Diesel isn't the most dangerous man in Lizzy's life. That honor goes to Diesel's cousin Gerwulf Grimoire, a denizen of the dark side who's determined to acquire the SALIGIA Stones, each of which holds the power of one of the seven deadly sins, in order "to unleash their power and create hell on earth." Wulf's first target is the Gluttony Stone, which has long been guarded by members of the More family. In order to gain access to the Stone, Diesel explains to Lizzy after she's been spooked by a brief visit from Wulf, the seeker has to find three keys held by different Mores. These apparently normal trinkets can be identified by Unmentionables with uncanny powers, like Steven Hatchet, the former military paramedic now working as Wulf's vassal—or like Lizzy herself, who suddenly discovers she has powers she's never dreamed of. You don't need to be an Unmentionable to see that Shirley More, who consumes three-dozen cupcakes every day, probably has one of the keys. Unfortunately, it won't be easy to get much information out of Shirley, because Gloria, attempting to cast a truth spell over her, has accidentally turned her speech into gobbledygook.
Instead of the slapdash mysteries Stephanie solves, there's a frantic pursuit of the paranormal. Fans attracted by the comic-book plotting and pacing will doubtless re-enlist for the pursuit of the other six Stones.
Read an Excerpt
My name is Elizabeth Tucker. I’m Elizabeth to my mother, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been Lizzy to everyone else. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve baked cupcakes. I enrolled in the culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island right out of high school, hoping to someday get a job as a pastry chef. I graduated J&W in the top ninety-three percent of my class, and I would have graduated higher, but I flunked gravy. My gravy had lumps in it, and that pretty much sums up my life so far. Not that it’s been all bad; more that it hasn’t been entirely smooth.
I grew up in Virginia and when I was in third grade, Billy Kruger gave me the nickname Buzzard Beak, and I carried it with me all through grade school. I got my brown eyes and distinctive nose from Grandpa Harry, and while the nose wasn’t great, I told myself it could have been worse, because Billy Kruger’s nickname was Poop Pants.
And then when I was in eighth grade, during a moment of misguided curiosity, I made out with Ryan Lukach, and the jerk told everyone I wore a padded bra. I mean, give me a break here. I was a late bloomer. Anyway, the truth is, my bra was so padded I didn’t know I was getting felt up.
I got engaged to fellow classmate Anthony Muggin while I was at Johnson & Wales. Two weeks after graduation and a week before the wedding, Anthony and his Uncle Gordo were caught hijacking a refrigerator truck loaded with sides of beef. It turned out to be a lucky thing, because after I visited Anthony in jail and returned the ring, I sobbed myself through a couple tumblers of vodka, fell off the toilet in a drunken stupor, crashed into a sink, and broke my nose. When they patched me up, I was no longer Buzzard Beak.
So here I am with the cutest nose in town, and I’ve finally grown breasts. They’re not huge, but they’re better than a poke in the eye, and I’ve been told they’re perky. Perky is good, right?
In January, three days after my twenty-eighth birthday, I inherited a house from my eccentric Great Aunt Ophelia. The house is in Marblehead, just north of Boston and southeast of Salem. I emptied my bank account to pay taxes on the house, quit my job at a downtown New York City restaurant, and I moved into Ophelia’s money pit. Probably, the smart thing would have been to sell the house, but no one could accuse me of always doing the smart thing. Truth is, New York wasn’t working for me anyway. The restaurant hours were horrible, the kitchen politics were toxic, and the executive chef hated cupcakes.
For the past five months, I’ve been living in my new Marblehead house and working as a pastry chef at Dazzle’s Bakery in Salem. The bakery has been owned and operated by a Dazzle since Puritan times, and is now managed by Clarinda Dazzle. She has an apartment above the bakery, she’s twice divorced, approaching forty, and looks like Cher on Cher’s day off. At 5'5', she’s the same height as I am, but Clara looks taller. I think it’s the hair. Clara’s hair is black and shot with gray. If it were straight, it would be shoulder length. As is, Clara’s hair is a huge mass of out-of-control energy coming to just below her ears, sometimes pulled back into a half-assed knot. She has piercing blue eyes and a nose and mouth said to have come from Wampanoag Indian blood on her mother’s side. I’m not nearly so exotic, having Austrian and Danish ancestors who left me with wimpy blond hair and a body that looks more athletic than it actually is.
It was Tuesday morning, the June sun was shining bright over Salem, and Clara and I had been baking since five A.M. I was in my usual outfit of running shoes, jeans, T-shirt, and white chef coat. I had my hair pulled back into a ponytail, and I was dusted with flour and powdered sugar. Everything was good with the world, except Clara was in a state. It was eight o’clock, time to open for business, and we were missing the counter girl, Gloria Binkly.
“For crying out loud,” Clara said. “It’s not like I’m a factory. It’s just you and me and Glo. How are we supposed to finish baking when we have to keep running out to the front to sell a muffin? Where the heck is she?”
We were standing in the large front room that constituted the retail part of the bakery. The floors were wide plank pine and the plaster walls were uneven. It was in decent shape, considering it pre-dated the witch trials. The display cases were old-fashioned glass and dark wood trim, and they were at the moment home to a batch of cinnamon rolls, four different kinds of muffins, almond tarts, and apple strudels. The breads were against the wall in wire baskets. The remaining space behind glass was about to be filled with my cupcakes. The cash register was from 1920. The credit card swiper was state-of-the-art.
A sexy, low-slung black car pulled to the curb in front of us and a man got out. He was maybe six foot tall, with glossy shoulder-length black hair swept back from his face in a wave. His skin was unearthly pale. His eyes were as black as his hair. He was dressed in a perfectly tailored black suit and black dress shirt.
He approached the bakery, and my skin prickled and a hot flash ran through my chest. “Holy moly,” I said to Clara.
“There’s nothing holy about him,” Clara said.
The man stopped inches from the front door and stared in at me. His mouth was sensuous and unsmiling. He looked to be my age, and he was eerily handsome. He crooked his finger at me in a come here gesture.
“Do you suppose he wants a muffin?” I asked Clara.
“Either that or your soul.”
I stepped up, opened the door, and peeked out at him. “Can I help you?”
“That remains to be seen,” he said. “I’ll return for you when I need you. Until then, you’ll remember me.”
He touched his fingertip to the back of my hand, and when he removed it, there was a burn mark beginning to blister. I stumbled away and slammed the door closed between us. The guy in black turned on his heel, got into his flashy car, the engine growled, and he drove off.
“What the heck?” I said to Clara, staring at my hand.
“I’m freaked,” Clara said. “And when you live in Salem all your life, it takes a lot to freak you.”
Personally, I hate being freaked. I avoid it whenever possible. “I’m going to convince myself this is a bug bite,” I said to Clara. “Probably a very small spider with a lot of venom.”
“Yeah,” Clara said. “That’s probably it. You just didn’t see it.”
At ten minutes after nine, the front door banged open and Glo rushed in all breathless.
“I know I’m late, but you’ll never believe what I’ve got!” she said, plunking her black canvas tote bag down on the glass countertop. “I was passing by that creepy store on Essex Street, the one that sells enchanted fry pans and jars of newt eyeballs, and this weird feeling came over me. It was like something was calling me into the store.”
Glo is single, like me, four years younger than I am, and she’s an inch shorter. She has curly red hair chopped into a short bob, freckled skin, a trim, perfectly average body, and her wardrobe runs heavy to black-and-olive drab. Today, she was dressed in black ankle boots, black tights, a short, twirly black skirt, an olive T-shirt, and a denim jacket.
Clara cut her eyes to Glo. “Last time you were late, you said you got mugged by a bridge troll.”
“Okay, so it was actually Mr. Greber, and he fell into me in a drunken blackout, but this is different. I swear! It’s destiny. You know how I’ve always thought I might be special? Like, you know, magical?”
“No,” Clara said.
“Well, for one thing, I have a scar on my forehead that looks like a lightning bolt. Just like Harry Potter.”
Clara and I examined Glo’s forehead.
“I guess it could look a little like a lightning bolt,” Clara said. “How did you get it?”
“I crashed into the coffee table when I was six years old.”
“I don’t know if that qualifies,” Clara said.
Glo ran her finger along the scar. “An evil spirit could have pushed me.”
Clara and I rolled our eyes.
“And then there was that time I told you I saw a green aura around Mrs. Norbert,” Glo said. “And a week later, she hit the jackpot at Foxwoods.”
“That’s true,” Clara said. “I remember.”
“Anyway, this is big,” Glo said, pulling a weather-beaten, leather-bound book out of her tote bag. “This book called me into the shop. I was meant to have this book.”
Clara and I looked over Glo’s shoulder at the book. The leather was cracked with age; hard to tell if the aging was man-made or natural. The front cover was hand-tooled, with scrollwork that bloomed into flowers and leaves and tiny dragons. The book was secured with a hammered-metal clasp.
Glo slipped the clasp and opened the book to an elaborately inked frontispiece. On the page facing the frontispiece someone had written in perfect old world penmanship Ripple’s Book of Spells.
“Who’s Ripple?” Clara wanted to know.
“No one in the store knew,” Glo said. “But the book is dated June 1692. That was right in the middle of the Salem witch trials.”
“Turn it over and see if it says ‘Made in China’ on the back cover,” Clara said.
Glo looked at Clara. “You, of all people, shouldn’t be so cynical about this book. Everyone knows the Dazzles aren’t normal.”
I was new to this. I’d moved to Marblehead five months ago and wasn’t up to speed in the rumor department.
“How so?” I asked.
Glo dropped her voice to a whisper. “The Dazzles have always had special abilities. I heard some of them could fly.”
I cut my eyes to Clara. “Can you fly?”
“Not without a plane.”
Glo thumbed through a couple pages in the book. “I bet I can find a flying spell in here.”
“How about finding a working spell,” Clara said. “There are six trays of cookies that need to be transferred to the display case.”
I turned to go back to the kitchen and slammed into over six feet of hard muscle and bad attitude. He reached out to steady me, and I sucked in some air.
“Jeez Louise,” I said. “Where the heck did you come from?”
“Bangkok. Not that it matters.” He looked around. “I’m in Dazzle’s, right?”
We all nodded, taking him in. His hair was thick and dark blond, somewhere between wind-blown, just woke up, and untamable. His skin was beach bum tan. His eyebrows were fierce and darker than his hair. His eyes were brown and assessing. His posture was confident. His body language was intimidating. His boots were dusty. His jeans were on their last legs but molded nicely to all the good parts. His navy T-shirt was splashed with flour from my chef coat.
He glanced down at his shirt and brushed at the flour. “I’m looking for Elizabeth Tucker.”
It was my second encounter of the day with a big, sort of scary man, and I was on guard.
“That’s me,” I told him, taking a protective step back.
He gave me the once-over. “Figures.”
I didn’t think figures sounded entirely complimentary. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
He blew out a sigh. “It means you’re going to be trouble.” He looked around. “Is there somewhere we can talk?”
“We can talk here.”
“I don’t think so.”
I folded my arms across my chest and narrowed my eyes.
“Lady, I haven’t got a lot of patience right now,” he said. “Mostly, I just want to get on with it. Cut me a break and come outside where we can talk in private.”
He grabbed my wrist, yanked me to the door, and Glo and Clara rushed at him.
“I’m dialing 911,” Glo said, cell phone in hand.
“As if that would help,” he said to Glo. “Put the phone down and stay. This’ll only take a minute.”
He whisked me out of the shop, and we stood on the sidewalk, blinking in the sun’s glare.
“What?” I asked.
“I’m looking for a guy. His name is Gerwulf Grimoire. Wulf, for short. My height, shoulder-length black hair, pale skin, evil.”
“Yeah. Have you seen him?”
“Maybe. He didn’t give his name.”
I inadvertently looked down at the fingertip burn on my hand. The scruffy guy’s eyes followed mine and he gave his head a small shake.
“Wulf’s work,” he said.
He reached under my coat, unclipped my cell phone from my jeans waistband, and punched some numbers in.
“Hey!” I said. “What are you doing?”
“I’m giving you my number. Call me if you see Wulf.”
“Who are you?”
He smiled down at me, and when he smiled, his teeth were white and perfect, crinkle lines appeared at the corners of his eyes, and my heart did a little flip in my chest. “I’m Diesel,” he said. “I’ll catch up with you later.”
He crossed the street and disappeared behind a van stopped at a light. When the traffic moved, he was gone.
“Whoa,” Glo said when I returned to the shop. “That’s the most amazing hunk of raw testosterone I’ve ever seen. What was that about?”
“He’s looking for a guy named Gerwulf Grimoire. He thought I might have run across him.”
“And?” Glo asked.
“It sounds like a warlock name,” Glo said.
“You’ve got to stop watching Bewitched reruns,” Clara told her. “The only warlocks in Salem are paid actors in the Salem Witch Museum.”
Excerpted from Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich.
Copyright © 2010 by Janet Evanovich.
Published in September 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.
Meet the Author
JANET EVANOVICH is the #1 bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, starting with One for the Money,Two for the Dough, and Three to Get Deadly.. She reads comic books and only watches happy movies. She lives in Florida.
Narrator LORELEI KING has recorded over 200 audiobooks, including several titles from Janet Evanovich's bestselling Stephanie Plum series. Audible also deemed her the Best Narrator of 2011.
- Hanover, New Hampshire
- Date of Birth:
- April 22, 1943
- Place of Birth:
- South River, New Jersey
- B.A., Douglass College, 1965
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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From the first page to the very end. This book was very funny and would recommend it to anyone. These new characters developed by Janet Evanovich are genius. If you love the Stephanie Plum series, you will love this book. Two Thumbs Up for this book. Cannot wait for the next one. Hurry Janet write the next one.
I really enjoyed this story. There was so much to like. very good book!
I love Janet Evanovich's books; have them all...hard cover, soft cover, e-books; prordered this one and waited with baited breath. What a dissappointment... the new characters barely skim one dimention and the book is silly without being funny. It reads more like a first draft than a completed novel. Wish I could love it, but I'd rather have my money back.
This was a great book! I was sitting in B&N and found out I could read free books using my nook and I somehow just found this book. I started to read it and could not put it down! I laughed out loud a few times that people turned their heads to look at me! She better be writing a sequel to this book and SOON! Will be looking at her other books now and can't wait to read them!! Two thumbs way up! :)
I have followed this writer for a long time. I have all her books. I suspect she is getting to the end of her days as a comedic writer and story teller. The characters were shallow, the humor virtually non-existant. At times I thuuoght I was reading an eighth grade homework assignment. I can't even believe her editors accepted this. I have been worried with the last numbered series of books but I thought this book might recapture some of her original talents. It did not. There are other good authors. I would step back and find another more worthy of your hard earned money. Good by Ms. Evanovich I have bought my last book authored by you. This was simply terrible; a bad buy. I wish I could take it back.
Totally immature writing. This book had no real ending; characters were shallow. Only finished it because I had nothing else to read while waiting at doctor's office. I was extremely disappointed. I enjoy her Plum books - this was very disappointing.
I had to force myself to finish this book and for the most part I did finish it because I'm very familiar with the locations in Massachusetts where the story (if you can call it that) takes place so that was interesting. However, reading this book was about as fun as having to kiss your brother. I would rather that Evanovich take a couple of years in between Plum books and give her fans what they REALLY want..the well-written, detailed, fun, sexy stories similar to the early years of Plum. All these other books are not working!! Do what you do, do it well or retire.
I found myself laughing out loud reading this book. This author has the ability to plant so much humor into her books that the reading of them automatically lifts the spirit. She entertains and her characters are real. Lizzy learns from Diesel, much to her amazement, that she is part of a small group of humans known as "Unmentionables", people with specialized skills. Hers being the power to locate lost artifacts, a skill so rare that in her case, only two others share it. Lizzy soon discovers that her culinary skills may be more than just talent. A laugh a minute! Enjoy!
Evanovich recycles her character from the Stephanie Plum in-between-the-numbers novels, Diesel. He's an Unmentionable - someone with extra powers, such as an uncanny ability to unlock any door. Only this time, Diesel is sent to protect a new heroine, who also happens to be an Unmentionable but doesn't yet know it. The story line follows the typical Stephanie Plum outline, inclusive of crazy sidekicks. Only problem is, the main characters and sidekicks are no Stephanie Plum, Lula or Grandma Mazur. And Diesel is no Ranger or Morelli. I really enjoy the Plum novels, even with their predictability, but this novel seemed like a cheap knockoff.
Ms Evanovich you did it again, Wonderfully engaging characters, Fun and exciting plot and just such a fun read the only thing I have found that I don't like about your books is having to turn that last page. Please keep them coming. ASAP!
I have read all of the Stephanie Plum books and will probably continue to read more in the future hoping they will get better, the early ones were downright hilarious. "Wicked Appetite" is pretty much the same story type as the Plum books with different names and different location but nowhere near as funny as the early Stephanie Plum books. I chuckled maybe twice but that was it. I hated Carl the monkey in one of the Stephanie Plum books and I hate him even more in this one. After reading some fantastic thriller books I wanted something fun and brainless to read and I think I got the brainless but not the fun. If Ms. Evanovich continues to write more books based on this story and characters I will probably not buy it I suggest you don't either. I have a library and usually keep most of the books I buy but I'm giving this one away to a library book donation as soon as one comes up.
Being a MA native I really enjoyed that it was set in Salem but that was just a perk. It was clever and laugh out loud funny at times. The characters are people you would like to know. I wouldn't want to ruin anyting by giving away anything. If you like the Plum novels you will love it! I loved it and I cant wait for the next one!
I couldn't put it down. It was laugh out loud funny and kept me laughing. I can not wait until the next one comes out. I love Deasel and Lizzy....throw in a monkey and a cat and it's just great.
I've been an Evanovich fan for years and have spent many happy hours reading her books. Sadly, this book was a waste of time and very difficult to finish. Truly, it was awful!
If Evanovich is going to kick off a new series, she needs to start with some fresh material. This series recycles Stepanie Plum in the form of Lizzy, Ranger as Diesel, and Morelli (just a little badder) as Diesel's cousin (Wolf? Wulf? Wulff... whatever). The other bad guys are the same level of ineptitude as Stephanie encounters, etc, etc, and so on. I'd like to say I'm surprised that something she wrote is so bad, but if you've read Evanovich's past few Stephanie Plum books you'd know it wasn't true.
Not what I expected from Evanovich...just a goofy read...
That being said,totally DISGUSTED with paying $8.99 for a 192 page book. What's with that, B&N?
Completely lost interest in the first few pages since I thought I was reading another series. I could barely tell the difference.
Great weekend book. Had a great time reading this book for bookclub
I enjoyed reading this book. It has a suspenseful story line that will keep you reading for hours.
let me start off by saying i didnt finish this book. that being said i couldnt believe it was punlished in its clearly unfinished state. i felt as though i was reading an early first draft. the descriptions were un-detailed and the dialog was very elementary. ive read young adult novels were worded better than this. dont buy it. its a waste of money. and time. if you dont take my word for it, get it at a library or read the first few pages at the store and you'll understand.
I anxiously look forward to reading the latest Diesel adventure. Sadly it was no adventure, but a terrible, bumpy ride. It was very hard to know the charecters and to truly care about their fate. At the end of the last page, I was left thinking did some pages fail to download, because surely the book could not be complete. Alas it was. It felt as though Ms. Evanovich only had a certain number of pages to fill and rushed the ending due to having run out of pages to write on.
This book was easy to read and if you read any of her other books, you will find several similarities.
I was pressed into purchasing this as an audio book at a WalMart. Listened to it in one long drive home (it was only 3 CD's) and was grateful I had it, but was hoping for a new character, not the same zany, nutty, lovable one in a new setting. I will give JE the opportunity to "flesh out" our new heroine, but it will have to be drasticly different than this one. I know you have it in you Janet, let us see it!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was the first I'd read from Janet Evanovich, now I'm a fan. The characters were endearing and fresh. I look forward to more adventures with Lizzy and Diesel.