Pros: Thank God my grandma isn't like this...
Cons: A little more detail please?
The Bottom Line: A Buick built like a tank, a hamster, clumsy female bounty hunter, sexy vice cop, wacky grannie = fun read.
A few weeks ago I finished Janet Evanovich’s first Stephanie Plum novel, One for the Money. I’d had three people telling me it was good stuff, hilarious, and so I hopped on the bandwagon to find out just what I was missing. Interesting times, I’ll tell ya that!
Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter…er, mostly by accident. She needed a job – she was at the point where there wasn’t anything in her fridge aside from the random, moldy food item here and there. Her first catch was to be one Joe Morelli, whose guilt was iffy. You’ll have to read that whole book to find out just what went down, but you do get a bit of a recap in the beginning, so reading them out of order (I assume, and my mother has done it) isn’t such a bad thing. Each story is separate, just with connecting places and characters. So what’s Miss Plum up to this time?
Kenny Mancuso shot his best friend in the leg. He posted bond. He failed to appear. Hence, Stephanie and Ranger go out to reel him in. No dice. Things look even worse for Kenny when his pal goes from bullet in leg to all dead. Stephanie’s grandmother, Grandma Mazur, drags her to funeral viewings where Stephanie ends up with another little job – finding a load of missing caskets. On top of that, she’s getting threats – spray paint on her walls, notes, body parts…ew. On the bright side (maybe, she’s still iffy about the idea) she keeps running into vice cop Joe Morelli. Is Kenny the real bad guy here? Or is something else way creepier going on? And for Pete’s sake, will Grandma Mazur stop harassing the dead people in their caskets at viewings??
There’s only one way to find out…
As much fun as the first one was, this wasn’t quite as laugh-out-loud funny, but oh, it had it’s high points, trust me. You will not believe some of the stuff that happens to poor Stephanie, and you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that your grandma isn’t prone to knocking over caskets “accidentally” (and if your grandma is, then I feel for you). There are times when you wish Stephanie would come up with some better zingers against Joe, but I suppose she makes up for it with the naked in the street stint. What’s that you ask? Oh, I’m not telling you! You have to read to find out, but trust me, low blow though it may be, it’s still pretty great. I think my favorite parts are when Stephanie’s hamster Rex is involved. Makes me want a hamster, and it’s also not often you see hamsters in mystery novels, so it’s like a added bonus (albeit a goofy one).
Though there isn’t any clear cut explanation like there was at the end of the first book (as in the bad guy spills his guts to the heroine), it becomes clear enough what was going on, though it may confuse you for a brief moment in time. You sort of have to make sure you gather everything up as you go so at the end the rest of the puzzle pieces fit nicely. I went though thinking one way and it ended up being a slightly different way. Even my “real bad guy” guess was wrong. Kudos Janet.
Any problems? Sometimes things did seem a little more convoluted than they needed to be, or just weren’t explained well enough. My biggest issue, actually, is just some of the little details. Usually when Joe popped up and ended up hanging out with Stephanie. There were times he was in her car, and then suddenly he was in his following her. There were other times when I didn’t know who was driving, or if he’d gotten into her car or what. Just a little more clarity and I would have been crystal.
But overall, it was a good book. I’m looking forward to the next one and hope it cracks me up and keeps me glued all the way through. I need a good book that will have me thrashing around in the throes of laughter. Stephanie Plum is a good candidate, let’s see if she can deliver.
Originally posted 2006 at Epinions.com