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Friday, September 4, 2015

Four to Score - Everything But the Kitchen Sink (And Actually There's One of Those Too)



Pros: Oh the entertainment factor is just through the roof.
Cons: Not much.

The Bottom Line: Where can you go wrong when you're with Stephanie Plum? Well, reading about her anyway, goodness knows I wouldn't want go through everything she does...

I got this one from the library where I don’t have to return it until October 25th. I snickered to myself thinking, “Sure, I’ll be done with that within three days.”

More like two, and if I hadn’t gotten sucked into a movie on TV, it would have been one.

For those of you just tuning in, Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter, one that hates guns and has an unbelievable amount of good luck when it comes to bumping into FTAs (failure to appear – in court), but a horrible amount of bad luck when it comes to people wanting to kill her and the outcome of her latest vehicle. Her creator is Janet Evanovich, a woman gaining more and more notice as word of mouth spreads. At least, that’s what I believe. In the realm of mystery, action, a bit of *winkwinknudgenudge* action, where hookers turn file clerks, grandmothers carry guns, and a hamster is your roommate, you’ll be in for a treat no matter where you start in the series, though I always recommend starting at the beginning, that way you get to find out just how Stephanie got into this bounty hunter gig in the first place.

Four to Score is a bit longer than some of the other books. Unless that’s just a trick of the book, considering this time I got a little paperback as opposed to the large hardback. Either way, Stephanie is on her next pickup, a woman named Maxine Nowicki, who swiped her boyfriend’s car and has now failed to appear in court. It sounds like yet another open and shut case, except Maxine seems to have gone AWOL. So in usual Stephanie style, she checks out everyone, finally hitting some pay dirt with Eddie Kuntz, the boyfriend. It seems Maxine is leaving him clues – but to what is beyond each of them. With Lula at her side for backup and a new friend, transvestite Sally Sweet to decode the clues, Stephanie sets out for another interesting chase throughout New Jersey.

But this time, more than one person seems to want Stephanie dead, and for different reasons. Is some crazed girlfriend of the delicious sink-your-teeth-into Joe Morelli trying to kill her via a ton of gasoline and a lit match? Or is it the same person going around cutting off fingers and scalping Maxine’s mother? What is behind the curtains when it comes to Maxine – and does Stephanie really want to find out? And the worst thing of all: Vinnie has hired Stephanie’s arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt and given her the exact same case.

If I thought any of the previous books had a lot going on in them, this one has lapped them. I mean, Stephanie goes through cars faster than my sister goes through shoes. Lula is an absolute riot and you will just love what she does to Joyce. And you really want these things to happen to Joyce too. Just thinking about it makes me laugh. Grandma Mazur is always a hoot, and if all the other characters aren’t enough, then you’ll love the addition of Sally Sweet. Truly, I do not remember the last book I read with characters as colorful as these. And I do mean colorful. Don’t forget Joe either – he gets pretty hot and steamy with Steph in this book and it’s not that corny novelty romance stuff either. It has more of a real feeling to it so that just makes it even better.

This book seriously is hard to put down. Want to know how much fun it is? Out of 338 pages, I didn’t close it until I’d gotten to page 254. How’s that? I was basically reading all day, stopping only to get a pair of socks, something to drink, snacks, etc. How can you not enjoy it with all the hilarious, crazy stuff that’s going on? You have a code-cracking transvestite that swears more than I do (starting to think I should tone it down), stuff blowing up, stuff getting set on fire, Rex eating Cheerios, and people thinking Stephanie is pregnant. What’s that you ask? You’ll have to read it to find out.

I’m going to give this book 4.5 stars because even though it was loads of fun, after a while I did start to get a little impatient. There were times when things slowed and it seemed more like filler than anything necessary. Maybe I’m impatient. Maybe some things were necessary. Maybe things were done on purpose to get you agitated just the way Stephanie gets when she runs out of leads on things. Either way, I think Evanovich, by this point, has hit her stride when it comes to the style and feel of the books. It was clear, well-written, no confusion at any point in time, and descriptive to a perfect degree for my little imagination.

Now I just have to wait for the next one to come in to the library. I’m rather impatient. I want to see if Joyce keeps up with her bounty hunter stuff or if she quits…or if Lula gets to her yet again…

NT

Originally posted 2006 at Epinions.com

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