Okay, so I was going to do this series the same way I did the series by Laurell K. Hamilton, but I flew through them too fast. ;) Plus, it’s easier to do the whole series because while each one has it’s own plot, there are some points that transcend all of the books. So let me get started.
We’re introduced to Stephanie Plum in One for the Money. She is unemployed, single, and desperately trying to pay the rent. So what does she do, she blackmails her cousin Vinny into hiring her as a bounty hunter. Her job – to bring back those individuals who Vinny has bonded out and have failed to make their court appearance (aka FTAs). While this seems like an easy enough job (for the idiots who break the law), it tends to have a few side effects. One of those – getting caught up in Joe Morelli’s police investigations. It seems like all of her FTAs are connected to something that is bigger and badder than what they were initially arrested for. For example, her first FTA assignment was to capture Morelli (he was accused of murder) and during her hunt, she stumbles across an insane boxer who likes to hurt people, a disgruntled boxing manager, and her renewed attraction to Morelli (they’ve been playing doctor off and on for years). Another example, the local ice cream store owner is loved by everyone. He can do no wrong, not even when he’s suspected of killing drug dealers. Hey, it may be murder, but it’s a community service as well (Two for the Dough). How she does it, no one knows, but Stephanie is constantly getting caught in something she really doesn’t want to be caught up in.
Another side to being a bounty hunter – Stephanie tends to go through cars like tissues. I’ve lost count the number of cars she’s gone through, but at least one gets blown up, incinerated, crashed, trashed, flatten, etc in each book. It’s always amusing to see what happens next to her vehicles.
There are a couple of perks to the job. Well, I’ll let you decide if they are perks, but Stephanie meets a couple new friends. The first one is Lulu. She’s an ex-hooker who has decided that she can do better as a file clerk for Vinnie. At the same time, she also assist Stephanie will some of her FTAs. Lulu likes to think they are Cagney and Lacy, but Stephanie knows they are more like Laurell and Hardy.
Another friend is Ranger. He’s ex-military, Cuban, a whisper on the wind and hot as hell. At least that is what we’re told. He always has a supply of brand new black cars and no one knows where or how he gets them. Ranger is the bounty hunter that Vinnie sends after the rapists, murders, and high bonded deviants. He knows what he’s doing and Stephanie initially goes to him for help. Like Eliza Doolittle does Jersey. Throughout the twelve books, Ranger makes it known that he is more than interested in playing teacher with Stephanie (especially if you read Hard Eight and To the Nines – I think).
While Ranger is definitely sin in the flesh, it’s a temptation that Stephanie is always having to be careful about. Especially since she has an on-again/off-again relationship with Morelli. Yes, she has two men in her life that know the other is attracted to her. While neither of them are ready for marriage (and neither is Stephanie), it is obvious that that is not in the cards for Ranger, ever. So while he may be the bad boy, Stephanie knows that her chance at marriage is with Morelli.
So while Stephanie decides what she’s going to do with the men in her life, she continues to chase FTAs for Vinnie and getting her cars blown up. I have to say, I always skipped over these books at Barnes & Noble due mainly to their covers; but don’t let that stop you. These books are fun, hilarious, and still a mystery. Yeah, some things maybe obvious, but there will be just as much, if not more, that you won’t see. Take the time and try these books. If you don’t like the first one, than you haven’t missed anything, but the series continues to get better with each book. Like I said, I wasn’t crazy about the books initially, but when my cousin recommended them, I gave them a try and now I am counting down the days until the next one is out.
I won’t make up your mind for you, but I will try this. Janet Evanovich has excerpts of all of her books at her website. Check them out and make your own decision.
One for the Money
Two for the Dough
Three to Get Deadly
Four to Score
To the Nines
Ten Big Ones
Eleven on Top
Lean Mean Thirteen
Finger Lickin’ Fifteen
Top Secret Twenty-One