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Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum Novels) [Bargain Price] [Hardcover]

Janet Evanovich
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (756 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Lorelei King returns to Trenton, N.J., to continue the misadventures of Stephanie Plum, intermittently successful bounty hunter. King is one of many to voice Janet Evanovich's successful series, but her voice can be heard above the crowd, especially when she's bringing the more colorful characters to life. Her former prostitute Lula can tear down walls with the force of her personality, and King gives professional security specialist (read mercenary) Ranger the measured tones of one who is always in control. Stephanie spends much of the book blue from a briefcase dye bomb. King's Plum accepts her blueness and responds to the reactions with indignity, ruefulness and eventually resignation. In addition to established favorites, Evanovich has thrown into the mix a 60-ish singer trying to hang onto fame who gives King plenty of scope for her Southern side. Fearless Fourteen becomes peerless fourteen with narrator King at the helm. A St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, May 19). (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Our heroine, the irrepressible bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, finds herself watching over a goth teen called Zook, who is heavily into gaming, after his mom can’t make bail and disappears (or has been kidnapped). A lot of people think there is stolen money buried in or near Officer Morelli’s little house—that’s Steph’s Morelli, the cop who is her number-one boyfriend most of the time, or at least when the entrancing Ranger isn’t nearby. The money is the reason behind Zook’s mom’s disappearance, and it’s the tie that binds Evanovich’s various plotlines, which carom about endlessly, not always resolving. Questions abound: Are Steph’s sidekick, the plus-size Lula, and Ranger’s man Tank really engaged? Ranger is working security for a fading but brassy pop star: How does Steph manage to get into and out of her reality show? Can Zook and his sidekicks protect Morelli’s house—and Stephanie—with their homegrown weaponry (think potatoes as missiles)? Where else but Evanovich’s fourteenth novel can a line like “it’s raining money and popsicles!” actually make sense? Fans will be delighted, but others, who stumble into the series at this advanced point, may find themselves starved for backstory, so much so that they may need to go all the way back to One for the Money (1994). --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Review

14 REASONS TO LOVE JANET EVANOVICH

SHE’S…

1. “LAUGH-OUT-LOUD FUNNY.”—St. Louis Post Dispatch

2. “HOT AND SASSY.”—The Boston Herald

3. “A PLUM PICK.”—People

4. “IRRESISTIBLE.”—Houston Chronicle

5. “BRILLIANTLY EVOCATIVE.”—Denver Post

6. “A MUST READ.”—Midwest Book Review

7. “THE CROWN PRINCESS OF DETECTIVE FICTION.”—Bookpage

8. “OUTRAGEOUS.”—Publishers Weekly

9. “THE MASTER OF SNAPPY DIALOGUE.”—San Francisco Chronicle

10. “ STUNNING.”—Booklist

11. “ OFF BEAT AND HILARIOUS…SHE ROCKS!”—Romantic Times BOOKreviews

12. “HIGLY ENJOYABLE…WHO CAN RESIST?”—Chicago Tribune

13. “ A GOOD TIME.”—New York Daily News

14. “AS ENTERTAINING AS EVER.”—Entertainment Weekly

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Personal vendettas. Hidden treasure. A monkey named Carl. In her latest adventure, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is as fearless as ever…

The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars. Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn’t be more proud. He always was the smart one.

The Cousin: Joe Morelli. Morelli is Dom’s cousin. He’s also a cop. Less than a week after Dom’s release from prison, Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. Meanwhile, Dom has gone missing…

The Catastrophe: Moonman. Morelli hires Walter “Mooner” Dunphy, stoner and “inventor” turned crime fighter, to protect his house. Morelli is low on cash. Mooner will work for potatoes.

The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum. Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She’s a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she’s involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

The Crisis: Ranger. Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie’s evening activities.

The Conclusion: Be fearless.  Read FOURTEEN!

Visit: www.evanovich.com

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Janet Evanovich is the author of the Stephanie Plum books, including One for the Money and Sizzling Sixteen, and the Diesel & Tucker series, including Wicked Appetite. Janet studied painting at Douglass College, but that art form never quite fit, and she soon moved on to writing stories. She didn’t have instant success: she collected a big box of rejection letters. As she puts it, “When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency.” But after a few months of secretarial work, she managed to sell her first novel for $2,000. She immediately quit her job and started working full-time as a writer. After 12 romance novels, she switched to mystery, and created Stephanie Plum. The rest is history. Janet’s favorite exercise is shopping, and her drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, in house with a view of the Connecticut River Valley.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

In my mind, my kitchen is filled with crackers and cheese, roast chicken leftovers, farm fresh eggs, and coffee beans ready to grind. The reality is that I keep my Smith & Wesson in the cookie jar, my Oreos in the micro wave, a jar of peanut butter and hamster food in the over-the-counter cupboard, and I have beer and olives in the refrigerator. I used to have a birthday cake in the freezer for emergencies, but I ate it.

Truth is, I would dearly love to be a domestic goddess, but the birthday cake keeps getting eaten. I mean, you buy it, and you eat it, right? And then where are you? No birthday cake. Ditto cheese and crackers and eggs and the roast chicken leftovers (which were from my mother). The coffee beans are light-years away. I don't own a grinder. I guess I could buy two birthday cakes, but I'm afraid I'd eat both.

My name is Stephanie Plum, and in my defense I'd like to say that I have bread and milk on my shopping list, and I don't have any communicable diseases. I'm five feet, seven inches. My hair is brown and shoulder length and naturally curly. My eyes are blue. My teeth are mostly straight. My manicure was pretty good three days ago, and my shape is okay. I work as a bond enforcement agent for my cousin Vinnie, and today I was standing in Loretta Rizzi's kitchen, thinking not only was Loretta ahead of me in the kitchen-needs-a-makeover race, but she made me look like a piker in the Loose Cannon Club.

It was eight in the morning, and Loretta was wearing a long, pink flannel nightgown and holding a gun to her head.

"I'm gonna shoot myself," Loretta said. "Not that it would matter to you, because you get your money dead or alive, right?"

"Technically, that's true," I told her. "But dead is a pain in the tuchus. There's paperwork."

A lot of the people Vinnie bonds out are from my Chambersburg neighborhood in Trenton, New Jersey. Loretta Rizzi was one of those people. I went to school with Loretta. She's a year older than me, and she left high school early to have a baby. Now she was wanted for armed robbery, and she was about to blow her brains out.

Vinnie had posted Loretta's bond, and Loretta had failed to show for her court appearance, so I was dispatched to drag her back to jail. And as luck would have it, I walked in at a bad moment and interrupted her suicide.

"I just wanted a drink," Loretta said.

"Yeah, but you held up a liquor store. Most people would have gone to a bar."

"I didn't have any money, and it was hot, and I needed a Tom Collins." A tear rolled down Loretta's cheek. "I've been thirsty lately," she said.

Loretta is a half a head shorter than me. She has curly black hair and a body kept toned by hefting serving trays for catered affairs at the fire house. She hasn't changed much since high school. A few crinkle lines around her eyes. A little harder set to her mouth. She's Italian-American and related to half the Burg, including my off-and-on boyfriend, Joe Morelli.

"This was your first offense. And you didn't shoot anyone. Probably you'll get off with a hand-slap," I told Loretta.

"I had my period," she said. "I wasn't thinking right."

Loretta lives in a rented row house on the edge of the Burg. She has two bedrooms, one bath, a scrubbed-clean, crackerbox kitchen, and a living room filled with secondhand furniture. Hard to make ends meet when you're a single mother without a high school diploma.

The back door swung open and my sidekick, Lula, stuck her head in. "What's going on in here? I'm tired of waiting in the car. I thought this was gonna be a quick pickup, and then we were going for breakfast."

Lula is a former 'ho, turned bonds office file clerk and wheelman. She's a plus-size black woman who likes to squash herself into too small clothes featuring animal print and spandex. Lula's cup runneth over from head to toe.

"Loretta is having a bad morning," I said.

Lula checked Loretta out. "I can see that. She's still in her nightie."

"Notice anything else?" I asked Lula.

"You mean like she's tryin' to style her hair with a Smith & Wesson?"

"I don't want to go to jail," Loretta said.

"It's not so bad," Lula told her. "If you can get them to send you to the work house, you'll get dental."

"I'm a disgrace," Loretta said.

Lula shifted her weight on her spike-heeled Manolo knock-offs. "You be more of a disgrace if you pull that trigger. You'll have a big hole in your head, and your mother won't be able to have an open-casket viewing. And who's going to clean up the mess it'll make in your kitchen?"

"I have an insurance policy," Loretta said. "If I kill myself, my son, Mario, will be able to manage until he can get a job. If I go to jail, he'll be on his own without any money."

"Insurance policies don't pay out on suicides," Lula said.

"Oh crap! Is that true?" Loretta asked me.

"Yeah. Anyway, I don't know why you're worried about that. You have a big family. Someone will take care of Mario."

"It's not that easy. My mother is in rehab from when she had the stroke. She can't take him. And my brother, Dom, can't take him. He just got out of jail three days ago. He's on probation."

"What about your sister?"

"My sister's got her hands full with her own kids. Her rat turd husband left her for some pre-puberty lap dancer."

"There must be someone who can baby-sit for you," Lula said to Loretta.

"Everyone's got their own thing going. And I don't want to leave Mario with just anybody. He's very sensitive . . . and artistic."

I counted back and placed her kid in his early teens. Loretta had never married, and so far as I know, she'd never fingered a father for him.

"Maybe you could take him," Loretta said to me.

"What? No. No, no, no, no."

"Just until I can make bail. And then I'll try to find someone more permanent."

"If I take you in now, Vinnie can bond you out right away."

"Yeah, but if something goes wrong, I need someone to pick Mario up after school."

"What can go wrong?"

"I don't know. A mother worries about these things. Promise you'll pick him up if I'm still in jail. He gets out at two-thirty."

"She'll do it," Lula said to Loretta. "Just put the gun down and go get dressed so we can get this over and done. I need coffee. I need one of those extra-greasy breakfast sandwiches. I gotta clog my arteries on account of otherwise the blood rushes around too fast and I might get a dizzy spell."

Lula was sprawled on the brown Naugahyde couch hugging the wall in the bonds office, and Vinnie's office manager, Connie Rosolli, was at her desk. Connie and the desk had been strategically placed in front of Vinnie's inner-office door with the hope it would discourage pissed-off pimps, bookies, and other assorted lowlifes from rushing in and strangling Vinnie.

"What do you mean she isn't bonded out?" I asked Connie, my voice rising to an octave normally only heard from Minnie Mouse.

"She has no money to secure the bond. And no assets."

"That's impossible. Everyone has assets. What about her mother? Her brother? She must have a hundred cousins living in a ten-mile radius."

"She's working on it, but right now she has nothing. Bupkus. Nada. So Vinnie's waiting on her."

"Yeah, and it's almost two-thirty," Lula said."You better go get her kid like you promised."

Connie swiveled her head toward me and her eyebrows went up to her hairline. "You promised to take care of Mario?"

"I said I'd pick him up if Loretta wasn't bonded out in time. I didn't know there'd be an issue with her bond."

"Oh boy," Connie said. "Good luck with that one."

"Loretta said he was sensitive and artistic."

"I don't know about the sensitive part, but his art is limited to spray paint. He's probably defaced half of Trenton. Loretta has to pick him up from school because they won't let him on a school bus."

I hiked my bag onto my shoulder. "I'm just driving him home. That was the deal."

"There might be some gray area in the deal," Lula said. "You might've said you'd take care of him. And anyways, you can't dump him in an empty house. You get child ser vices after you for doin' that."

"Well, what the heck am I supposed to do with him?"

Lula and Connie did I don't know shoulder shrugs.

"Maybe I can sign for Loretta's bond," I said to Connie.

"I don't think that'll fly," Connie said. "You're the only person I know who has fewer assets than Loretta."

"Great." I huffed out of the office and rammed myself into my latest P.O.S. car. It was a Nissan Sentra that used to be silver but was now mostly rust. It had doughnut-size wheels, a Jaguar hood ornament, and a bobble-head Tony Stewart doll in the back window. I like Tony Stewart a lot, but seeing his head jiggling around in my rearview mirror doesn't do much for me. Unfortunately, he was stuck on with Krazy Glue and nothing short of dismantling the car was going to get him out of my life.

Loretta had given me a photo of Mario and a pickup location. I cruised to a spot where a group of kids were shuffling around, looking for their rides. Easy to spot Mario. He resembled Morelli when Morelli was his age. Wavy black hair and slim build. Some facial similarities, although Morelli has always been movie star handsome and Mario was a little short of movie star. Of course, I might have been distracted by the multiple silver rings piercing his eyebrows, ears, and nose. He was wearing black-and-white Converse sneakers, stovepipe jeans with a chain belt, a black T-shirt with Japanese characters, and a black denim jacket.

Morelli had been an early bloomer. He grew up fast and hard. His dad was a mean drunk, and Morelli got good with his hands as a kid. He could use them in a fight, and he could use them to coax girls out of their clothes. The first time Morelli and I played doctor, I was five years old, and he was seven. He's periodically repeated the performance, and lately we...

From AudioFile

Lorelei King gives a fantastic performance of Janet Evanovich's latest comedic mystery caper involving New Jersey bail bondswoman Stephanie Plum and her compatriots. In this one, Stephanie accepts a job as a bodyguard at the same time that she and Joe Morelli, her cop boyfriend, find themselves parenting the son of a kidnap victim--all while searching for money stolen in a long-ago heist. Instead of parsing the plot, relax and enjoy Evanovich's tight writing and King's amazing reading of everyone from Stephanie to tough cops to adolescent boys to a Big Black Mama of a woman. Add spot-on conversations, real-life phrasing, such as breathlessness when Stephanie's chasing a con, and an end-of-book interview of Evanovich by King, and you have the perfect listen. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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