January 27, 2011

Review - One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Ex-lingerie buyer Stephanie Plum finds herself unemployed and down on her luck. After pawning off most of her possessions and getting her car repossessed, she is desperate for a paycheck. Stephanie takes a position as a skiptracer for her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, despite the fact that she has absolutely no experience in bounty hunting. Her first assignment is to bring in Joe Morelli, a vice cop who is wanted for the murder of Ziggy Kulesza. Even with the potential $10,000 paycheck from bringing in Morelli, Stephanie is not thrilled to run into him again. After all, he took her virginity in high school and then never called. They also had a memorable encounter in the past in which she accidentally-on-purpose hit him with her car. 

Stephanie has a lot to learn about bounty hunting, so she enlists the help of Ranger, the best in the business (at least in Trenton, New Jersey). She learns how to use a gun but discovers she is too scared to actually shoot someone. This makes apprehending Morelli particularly difficult. After a handful of encounters with him, she still isn't able to bring him in, and he's even used her own handcuffs against her. Morelli claims that he shot Ziggy in self defense and that the witnesses could vouch for the truth of his story, yet Stephanie has trouble tracking down those witnesses. 

As Stephanie stalks Morelli and the shooting witnesses, she also finds herself in a twisted cat-and-mouse game with heavyweight champion boxer Benito Ramirez (the murder victim's employer). His violent, psychopathic threats shake Stephanie to her core. 

This fast-paced novel has just the right mix of mystery, suspense, humor. The sexual tension builds between Stephanie and Morelli over the course of the story as well. While most of the secondary characters are one-dimensional, Stephanie is an underdog that the reader can't help rooting for. She's just a normal girl with a sassy attitude (and terrible fashion sense) who finds herself in over her head with her new job as she tries to make ends meet. 

Evanovich's writing is a bit unsophisticated. However, the author does not apologize for the books she writes. Evanovich explains, "If you want to cry, you're not going to like my books...If you want a really good plot, you're not going to like my plots. My books have pizza and cussing and sexy guys" (Cruz, 2006). Let's be honest - sometimes you just crave pizza even though you know that a salad is better for you. It's the same way with books - sometimes you just crave a juicy, entertaining read instead of something more literary. Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series just became my new guilty pleasure. 



Cruz, G. (2006, June 2). How Janet Evanovich broke through. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved from http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1199996,...

2 comments:

fourth musketeer said...

Guilty pleasure is the perfect way to describe this series. They are all kind of the same, but funny and entertaining, not nutritious but literary fast food, and most of us like a burger and fries now and then! By the way, the audiobooks are also really fun--the narrator does a great job with all the different characters.

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

I seriously loved this book - I thought it was hilarious even though it was ridiculous: that's what made it awesome. Unfortunately Stephanie doesn't grow as a character at ALL in the series... I stopped after the 5th or 6th book because I honestly think she regressed. Evanovich made her STUPID, and the plot of the series got unbelievably horrible. I can handle fluff and cheese, but bad writing and characters doing the stupidest things? Not so much. Haha sorry for ranting all over your review... I was just reminded how much fun I had reading this book, and even the 2nd one, and how disappointed I kept getting as I read on.

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