"Uncle Fred was someone I saw at weddings and funerals and once in a while at Giovichinni's Meat Market, ordering a quarter pound of olive loaf. Eddie Such, the butcher, would have the olive loaf on the scale and Uncle Fred would say, 'You've got the olive loaf on a piece of waxed paper. How much does that piece of waxed paper weigh? You're not gonna charge me for that waxed paper, are you? I want some money off for the waxed paper.'"
The speaker is Stephanie Plum, the glamorous if slightly ditzy bounty hunter from Trenton, New Jersey, and one of the most original creations in recent mystery fiction.
In this fifth entry in Janet Evanovich's increasingly popular series, Stephanie's problems are many and varied. She's not making enough money picking up FTAs (Failures to Appear) for her cousin Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds; her red-hot love affair with Detective Joe Morelli has cooled off; and her giant extended family is no help at all. For instance, Uncle Fred the cheapskate has disappeared, leaving behind some suspicious photographs of body parts in garbage bags and links to some really dangerous people.
When Stephanie turns to her friend and mentor, Ranger, for financial advice, he gets her involved in a gang of toughs doing instant evictions for landlords. (She complains to Ranger about the job and its dangers, prompting one of the hired thug to say, "Man, you don't like to get shot. You don't like to get arrested. You don't know how to have fun at all.")
Most of Stephanie's charm, of course, comes from her attitude--a combination of the brazen bravado that turns a failed lingerie model into a bounty hunter in the first place and the normal fears of a person in over her head.
Other Plums in paperback, by the numbers: One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, and Four to Score. --Dick Adler
From Publishers Weekly
Fans of Evanovich's tales of the adventures of Stephanie Plum (Four to Score, etc.), Jersey girl and bounty hunter extraordinaire, have been eagerly anticipating this next installment in the popular series. The good news is that the novel is just as wacky and over the top as its predecessors, and that the disaster-prone Stephanie has brought along her usual wild-and-crazy crew of sidekicks and loony relatives to help her chase down felons. Evanovich even manages to make the dowdy working-class city of Trenton, N.J., seem like a hip, edgy place for her funky characters to live. But Trenton also has its share of nefarious criminals for Stephanie to pursueAfolk like Randy Briggs, the dwarf, who not only repeatedly eludes her grasp but keeps taunting her as a loser. Stephanie careens through her days, looking for her missing Uncle Fred and taking on FTA (failure to appear) cases for her cousin Vinnie, a bail bondsman. Further complications ensue when she tries to earn extra money by moonlighting on quasi-legal "security" jobs for Ranger, her dangerously sexy mentor at the bounty-hunting game. Ranger is looking awfully good to Stephanie these days, and she is finding it hard to choose between him and old flame Joe Morelli. Evanovich tells her fast-paced and furiously funny story expertly. The action never stops, the dialogue is snappy and the characters are more than memorable. Readers can't miss with this one. (July)
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