Customer Reviews: High Five (Stephanie Plum, No. 5)
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on October 22, 2001
This series just gets better and better! Laugh out loud funny, and full of high power action. Truly a winner.
Stephanie is back to blowing up cars and nothing but attitude, you got to love her! She has broken up with her policeman boy friend Joe Morelli. She is broke, she has no work to do. She does get an unpaid investigative job to find her annoying cheapskate Uncle Fred. Stephanie ends up with a house guest of a dwarf. She does get some paying work moonlighting for none other than Ranger!!! Even gets a couple company cars that either get blown up or stolen.
There is attraction now not only between Stephanie and Joe but Stephanie and Ranger. The ending leaves you hanging as we don't know who it was she invited over and put on her hot dress for.
This book was the best in the series yet. I say that with each book as they keep getting better. The humor has you laughing off the chair and you can't put the book down. I recommend this series but I would read them in sequence from the beginning so you really get to know everybody.
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on September 8, 2001
But seriously, folks...forget about what Grandma Mazur did at the all-male strip club (she put the dollar bill WHERE?). This book marks a change in this hilarious series that bodes well for the future.
Every book in this side-splitting series has been a treasure. But this outing goes for less laughs and more plot, and the result is stunning (hehehe, an in joke). Not that I didn't find myself howling with laughter, once again in public, not that Evanovich's incredible bon mots don't grab you when you're not looking, but this time, there is actually a mystery with several subplots, and some real suspense.
In this adventure, Stephanie's bounty-hunting activities are somewhat sidelined by her search for her missing Uncle Fred, a nasty miser whose possible widow, Aunt Mabel, is planning a Caribbean Cruise within 2 weeks of his disappearance. Nevertheless, the Code of the Burg is strict, and when one's relative is missing, one must do the right thing and bring him/her home. At her family's urging, Stephanie reluctantly accepts the task.
But this is Stephanie Plum we are talking about here. And lest we think that things will run smoothly, there is the small matter of the angry dwarf. Then we have the exploding Porsche (NEVER let Stephanie drive anything other than her indestructible 1950s-model Buick!!!), more exciting viewings at Stiva's Funeral Home, the stolen Beemer, the psychotic homicidal rapist Ramirez, fresh out of prison and Eager to Stalk (we met this dude in Book 1, and he is not a nice person), and at least one serious stun gun mishap (I'm not telling, but watch out the next time you eat potroast at the Plum residence). I won't even talk about the spoiled son of the Arab Sheik, or what he wants Stephanie to do for $5.
While Stephanie is handling all the above with her usual Burgish aplomb, there is a true mystery unfolding. What has happened to Uncle Fred, and why is there a string of chilling and possibly connected murders, all centering around a trash-collection company? Who wants Stephanie dead? Whose chopped-up body was in the trash bags? What is going to happen with Ramirez, who wants to "lead Stephanie to God"?
All of these questions are answered in the most satisfying way, and the mystery is just as good as the humor. As for romance? Well...let's just say that Stephanie had better avoid Grandma Bella Morelli's Evil Eye, because her deepening "friendship" with Ranger has taken some interesting turns. Even Lula is taken aback. I can say no more.
Rex the Hamster, move over. I'm joining you in that soup can while I read Book 6. It seems the only safe place to be!
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HALL OF FAMEon August 5, 2000
In this high-powered action mystery, Stephanie Plum (bounty hunter extraordinaire) starts with her life at a low point. She is broke, she has no work to do, she has broken up with her policeman boy friend Joe Morelli, and she has an unwelcome unpaid investigative job to find her annoying cheapskate Uncle Fred. But life does improve by the end, and Stephanie saves the day!
If you have not yet read a Stephanie Plum novel, let me explain about her. She is one of the most endearing mystery characters ever developed. Fiercely independent, her attitude is always showing (although she may shake like a leaf afterwards). Tremendously attracted to aggressive men, she plays it coy as much as she possibly can. Prone to disasters, she keeps her chin up and keeps on trucking. Loyal to her family, she is often babysitting her Grandma Mazur when she and her Father are not hitting it off. And she makes her living by bring in people who are out of jail on bail and fail to appear in court. She gets 10 percent of the bail amount when she succeeds. It's a tough way to go for the former lingerie model, but it excites and challenges her to the core.
If you already know Stephanie, you will find her at her caring, jealous, lusting, nosy, sneaky, obtuse, hungry, and persistent best. She finds herself more and more attracted to Ranger (her bounty hunting mentor) and to Joe Morelli (her policeman exboy-friend). Yet she wants to be in charge, which sets up a great source of conflicts.
To give you a sense of how appealing I find her as a character, whenever she ignores an obvious clue I want to tell her to pay attention. With any other book, I find myself annoyed with the author for making the msytery too transparent. But you will want to read this book for Stephanie, not for the mystery (although it is a perfectly fine one).
Before the book is done, you will have experienced explosions, homicidal attacks, lots of gun play, Stephanie will go through a number of vehicles in typical Stephanie fashion, bail jumpers will be brought to justice, deaths will be avenged, Uncle Fred will be found, and you'll go to more viewings as a funeral home than you can imagine. The story is very fast paced and rewarding. Yet all of this is done with consistent humor and balance. So although there is a dark side, it is always overwhelmed by Stephanie's light.
The plot is very well developed. You have the main plot of finding Uncle Fred. To that are added important subplots of getting to know Joe Morelli better (even attending a family wedding with him), getting nonbounty-hunting jobs from Ranger, working on her diet, solving her financial problems, having an unwanted roommate, being stalked by a mystery man, and being hunted by a killer with revenge on his mind. Each of the subplots could make a whole novel if more fleshed out. The result is that you get a whole fabric of a life and her relationships here, moving forward and backward in time.
This book provides an unusually good balance of plot, character development, and humor. On the humor side, let me mention for those who have not read these books before that Stephanie is a very bawdy person in many ways, and the language and situations can have an overt sexual cast. So if you are offended easily by hearing about how a woman thinks about men sexually, you may not like the book. That's the only drawback I need to warn you about.
In fact, this book is so successful that is transcends the normal action mystery genre. Virtually everyone will find this book to be an engaging, uplifiting read. I liked it much better than Hot Six! (which I also recommend that you read) because the mystery, the plotting, and the character developments are much better done and balanced in this one.
Overcome your disbelief that women can't make it in a man's world! Let Stephanie save your day by providing you with a wonderful read!
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on December 28, 1999
I've read all of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels and must say I look forward to every one with bated breath. While we're not talking about the "Great American Novel" here each and every one is an enjoyable read. Any woman can imagine herself bumbling through Stephanie's predicaments which must be the key to having a best-selling novel. If I found myself a bounty hunter I could easily imagine myself being afraid of my gun and keeping it in the cookie jar! I thought the introduction of the Ranger romantic complication was great. Joe Morelli needs some competition! Like the other readers who reviewed this book I can't wait for #6 to see who was waiting at the door in the end (although I wouldn't kick either one of them out!). My only caveat with the book was I thought the wrap-up of the crime story was a little too quick. One scene with the bad guy and all the loose ends are tied up. It was a bit of an anti-climax. But don't let that discourage you from reading High Five and hurry up Janet! We're waiting for #6!
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on September 15, 2002
"High Five" by Janet Evanovich gets a High Five Stars from me! This fifth instalment in the uproariously funny Stephanie Plum series may just be the best yet. A well-written and suspenseful mystery is blended perfectly with Stephanie's hilarious misadventures to create an all-around wonderful read.
"High Five" begins with Stephanie, Trenton's "bombshell bounty hunter", in the midst of a financial depression. She is not making nearly enough money picking up FTA's to make rent and she needs to find a solution fast. It's not a whole lot of use to Stephanie when her family enlists her help to find her missing Uncle Fred the cheapskate, because there's no bond money involved when and if she does find him. But family duties cannot be ignored, so Stephanie sets to work trying to find out what happened to Uncle Fred, and why he disappeared on his way to the garbage company to settle a dispute over $2. Right at the start her investigation, Stephanie comes across some disturbing photos of body parts in garbage bags found in Uncle Fred's desk, which makes it clear that Fred had become involved in something very nasty.
But searching for Uncle Fred won't pay Stephanie's rent and when she turns to her mentor and fellow bounty hunter Ranger for help, he hires her as part of Rangeman Enterprises. This leads Stephanie to a string of disastrous and dangerous jobs of dubious legal validity that will have readers laughing out loud. Add to that a very small FTA named Randy Briggs who wants nothing to do with being brought back into the system and you have the recipe for a hilarious read.
But "High Five" has a dark edge to it as well. Benito Ramirez, the sociopathic boxer with a penchant for mutilating women who stalked Stephanie in "One for the Money", is out of jail and back to harassing poor Stephanie, who is justifiably terrified. On top of that, a series of mysterious murders all related to Uncle Fred's garbage company and a bomb planted on Stephanie's car, lead Stephanie to the conclusion that she is in the middle of something very serious, and that someone besides Ramirez wants her dead. Evanovich skilfully builds the suspense, and readers will be swept along with the intriguing mystery to a satisfying conclusion.
All the characters we have grown to know and love throughout the series are back and better than ever in "High Five". Gun-toting Grandma Mazur and 200+ lb ex-hooker Lula are guaranteed to keep readers laughing, while the sexual tension between Stephanie and the two men in her life, sexy vice cop Joe Morelli and enigmatic bounty hunter Ranger, is sure to tantalize and fascinate readers.
You just cannot miss with "High Five". Evanovich has crafted an enticing and exciting tale that will keep readers captivated and will leave them begging for more. It is downright impossible to dislike the intrepid Stephanie Plum, whose unique, sassy, and witty point of view makes this series so great. "High Five" comes very highly recommended.
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on January 28, 2000
I have now read all five books. They are page turners, exciting, honest, & funny. This latest is just a great as all the rest! I was raised in Northern New Jersey & find her description of life in the "burg" about as real as any I have read about. She uses the language & demenour of residents in that part of the country.
I am taking a course in writing & have told my instructor the fact that I would be very pleased if I could learn to write as she does. I have read many books of mystery, but find her's are mysterous & funny. Her characters are believable & defined. I find Grandma Mazur a real kick. She reminds me of my maternal grandmother. Her on-off affairs with Morelli very belivable. Ranger has the experience needed to be an off the wall guy, but real & sensative.
I cannot say enough about the pleasure I get reading her books. I only hope there will be many more for me to read. I also hope I can become half as good at writing as Janet Evanovich is already.
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on December 1, 1999
When "One for the money" was given to me as a gift for my birthday in July this year, I did'nt realise how hooked this series was actually going to make me. With each novel the suspence grew, will she? wont she? will they? wont they? It practically drove me to the brink of madness. Only 5 months later, and I have just closed the cover of "High Five", and I thought that it was the best in the series so far. It is crammed with suspence, murder, deceipt, betrayal, sexual tension and the occasional arm and leg.
Stephanie Plum is right in the middle of yet another New Jersey drama, with her uncle Fred going missing, and her aunty hiring her to track him down. Morelli is as gorgous as always, but this time around he's got competition, Ranger. I definately recommend this series and "High Five" in particular. It follows the criteria of a perfect crime novel, with an added bonus: Morelli. I garantee, if you read this book you will not be dissapointed, the ending is a killer though.
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on June 15, 2000
Once again, I found Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series to be totally engrossing, well-written and an absolute page turner. I enjoyed the story line about her search for her missing uncle and was completely surprised when an old (and scary) character resurfaced to add to Stephanie's problems. Of course, her dilemma over Joe or Ranger didn't help matters and Janet's deliberately vague ending about Stephanie's choice had me on the edge of my seat. I absolutely recommend this book to those that enjoy reading the series and to those of you that haven't yet---pick up One for the Money asap!
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on December 1, 1999
In high five Janet tells a great story, with the usual mix of colourful characters, I found the new angle on her love life a great addition to the book, Morelli needs some competition, Grandma Mazur is her usual gun toting wannabe, we need more books like this they are easy to read, keep you guessing and make you laugh till your sides are sore.
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If I had to choose a favorite from Books one to seven in this series, it would be good old number five.

Stephanie's got bills to pay, and since there are no FTA's to apprehend, she reluctantly accepts Ranger's offer of employment. Of course, Ranger's jobs are never straightforward or well-defined, or even completely above board, and what follows is a delightful display of ineptitude and pure dumb luck, combined with that palpable tension whenever the two meet.

Throw in a cranky little man, a fake bookie, and the case of the missing Uncle Fred, and you have the funniest adventure of the series. Uncle Fred makes Scrooge look like a philanthropist, and when he disappears there is some concern, but not too many tears. With Stephanie on the case, things turn deadly serious when she discovers some gristly pictures in Uncle Fred's effects, and then the bodies start showing up.

Going through expensive cars like Snickers bars, she again proves that the only car she is capable of handling is the Buick war tank, and then there's the deranged boxer Ramirez out of jail and trying to save her soul. To crown it all, Joe Morelli is still around to twang her heartstrings and other body parts, and she's got Lula and Grandma Mazur in tow.

Packed to the edges of the pages with humor, action and the inevitable mayhem, I'd definitely give my "high five" to High Five.

Amanda Richards May 16, 2005
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