I was lucky enough to stumble onto Janet Evanovich back in ’95 when her book ‘One for the Money’ came out in the UK. At the time I was working near a large Waterstones and I’d often pop in to have a look during my lunch hour. I still recall (what strange memories I have!) finding the book by Janet: it was in the crime section and I thought it strange. It was crime-ish but it seemed a little too lighthearted to warrant being sectioned with heavy murders and dastardly deeds.
I bought the book anyway.
And I’ve been hooked ever since.
‘One for the Money’ was the first book in what has, so far, become a 16 book series. The heroine of the book is Stephanie Plum who takes a job at her uncle Vinnie’s bail office out of desperation. Uncle Vinnie is a slime ball extraordinaire with a penchant for ducks… and he’s one of the more sane characters.
Janet writes her stories of Stephanie around Trenton, New Jersey. It may not be the most exotic location for a book but the characters make up for any shortcomings. They are all bigger than life characters with personalities to match their big hair and mascara.
Stephanie’s life revolves around working, mostly unsuccessfully, at the bond office with her ex-prostitute, spandex loving file clerk sidekick Lula. There’s also the love of her life, Trenton cop, Joe Morelli. Although just to make Stephanie’s life more complex there’s the mysterious bounty hunter, Ranger, who bails her out of trouble at an alarmingly frequent rate and who makes her toes, and other regions, tingle.
Another character who appears in each book is Stephanie’s grandma Mazur who, when not visiting funeral homes, is dying her hair, wearing leather trousers, grabbing a gun and checking out the hotties. She’s the grandmother you’ve always wanted!
In each book Janet weaves a plot around ‘failure to appear’s and Stephanie’s love life. It seems kidnapping, murder and regular deaths are all part of life in Trenton… well, at least for Stephanie. At the beginning of each book you begin a roller coaster ride of mayhem which leaves you laughing out loud or gripping the book until your knuckles go white.
Although Janet has written other books I’ve not felt compelled to read them. I’m hooked on the adventures of Stephanie Plum and I’m always first in line when the latest book comes out.
If you haven’t read anything by Janet Evanovich I’d recommend beginning with ‘One for the Money’. I don’t think you’d be disappointed.