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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

One for the Money - When I Jumped On the Bandwagon


Pros: A good read for plenty of fun
Cons: Nothing big enough for me or you to worry about

The Bottom Line: 4 stars for being a good book, but not super excellent - but I expect the future books to snag 5 stars sooner or later!

Back in college, my friend Sandra told me about these novels by Janet Evanovich that had her laughing out loud, and she highly recommended them to me. She said her sister had started reading them. Duly noted. Then my mother told me about the same novels and how great they were. Hmm…interesting. Then about two weeks after that my sister demanded I read them. She’d bought all eleven on Half.com and had gone so far as to amuse herself by creating a movie cast for the books.

I took this as some weird sign I should look into things. If I was getting told by three people to read these things, I guess it would be a good choice to do so. I promptly ordered it from the library (having just recently discovered again the magic of libraries).

“That’s great, Nicole, but what about the book?”

Stephanie Plum has been without a job for six months. Her refrigerator is turning into a barren wasteland, her hamster Rex may be beginning to resent her, and her car has just gotten repossessed.

Suck.

On a suggestion from her mother, Stephanie goes to her cousin Vinnie, who happens to be a bail bondsman. She just wants to be a file clerk until she can find something better, but the position’s been filled. What’s left? Turning into a bounty hunter. The mark? Joe Morelli, former cop wanted for murder. $10,000 sweet. How hard can it be? So, after a little blackmail-ish talk with Vinnie, he agrees to give her a shot at catching Joe. But it’s not as easy as it sounds – at all. During her time questioning people she bumps into Benito Ramirez, a psychotic heavyweight boxer who has a thing for hurting women and now has his sights set on her. Not so good. Hopefully her help from a cop friend, Eddie, and another bounty hunter known as Ranger, Stephanie can get enough money to get her life back on track – that is, if Ramirez doesn’t catch her first, or she gets shot by a side FTA (failure to appear – in court), or maybe even something more dangerous…

Thinking back, I don’t think I’ve read very many mysteries…at all. Much less crime and cop related mysteries. I think at most it comes to R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Series, Rule of Four, and two Dan Brown books. So One for the Money was a great change of pace. It’s 290 pages, all in first person from Stephanie’s point of view, and yes, there are parts that will make you laugh out loud. Some of the things she says or comes up with are great, and her Grandma Mazur is a hoot too. The banter between characters such as Stephanie and Joe or Stephanie and Ranger are usually pretty fun because they’re taking jabs at one another, more so Stephanie and Joe. Some people may find that the characters aren’t that deep, but we’re just starting out with them and I get the feeling that we’ll delve into them a little deeper later. Besides, this isn’t the type of book where your focus is going to be on that sort of thing. It’s more for sheer enjoyment. You know enough about the characters and get enough sense of who they are to fit the bill. If you want complicated characters, go read Moby Dick. I will say one thing though, Benito Ramirez was truly creepy.

Another good point about this book is that aside from its rather casual tone, it doesn’t focus on one thing and head towards the resolution with a few red herrings here and there to throw you off. Rather, Stephanie has her own personal goal, and goes down the road toward it rather haphazardly, not really focusing on a larger picture, and splitting off on branches of adventures from time to time, such as apprehending a few other court date skipping individuals, and interacting with plenty of other characters on her search for clues about Joe’s whereabouts.

Can you guess the ending? No. It connected to everything, but at the same time, it was so unconnected (or at least, very thinly connected) with Stephanie, that you’re just as “Whoa, really?” as she is. You’re busy driving around town and meeting people with her, not solving crimes, so when the reasons behind this and that come up, you stare at it just like her. Did I guess whodunit? Yes, but I didn’t know why, and I only guessed the right person because I always put my focus on the same type of person (as that’s always who it seems to be). But since you don’t know the reasons, even if you do guess, it’s not like it’s taking anything away from the book.

It was a lot of fun, and the only cons that I can mention would be tiny clichés. Or rather, cliché. Basically just the bad guy spilling his guts to the heroine; “Here’s what I did and why before I kill you.” But we do need to know, and I don’t really mind in the least. I just figure as long as all 12 books don’t do that, as it would get redundant and enhance the cliché, I’ll be fine.

So head to your library, book store, Half.com, whatever, and join me in the bandwagon. I’m convinced that these novels have gained in popularity due to word of mouth, and in fact, I think that’s one of the best way to find good books – especially when you’re being told to check it out by 3 or 4 people.

NT

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