I distinctly remember when I discovered Janet Evanovich. I was in Boston with my family for the summer while my husband attended college classes. I had dutifully read, and cried, my way through 4 of Oprah’s Book Club selections in a row. I either had to find something lighter or get an antidepressant. A visit to the local library yielded the audiobook One for the Money read by C.J. Critt. Thankfully, it made a prescription unnecessary.
Evanovich has created an incredibly likeable main character in Stephanie Plum. Stephanie lost her job as a lingerie buyer in a department store and blackmailed her cousin into giving her a job as a bounty hunter for his bail bonding business… Not that she knows anything about being bounty hunter. In fact, she is extremely inept. That’s where the fun comes in.
Evanovich surrounds Stephanie Plum with a hilarious cast of characters. Her parents live in the ‘burg’ in New Jersey with her Grandma Mazur. Dinner table conversation is never boring.
For example, this is dialogue from Finger Lickin’ Fifteen – Stephanie has dragged off the local flasher to jail after he misses his court date and her grandma’s friends are furious:
Stephanie: “Men aren’t supposed to go around exposing themselves at unsuspecting women.”
Grandma Mazur: “Well, technically, none of us was unsuspecting. We wait for him to show up.”
Stephanie: “Mrs. Zajak filed a complaint against him.”
Grandma Mazur: “She was in a snit because he skipped her that day.”
Another fun character is Lula, a former “ho” who works as a file clerk in the bonds office and spends most of her time helping Stephanie or eating donuts. She’s a plus sized woman in a petite sized wardrobe. A typical Lula quote: “Everyone knows you can’t see death cooties.
Take my word for it, that couch has the biggest, fattest death cooties that ever existed. That couch has the mother of all death cooties.”
Of course, as a former romance author, Evanovich offers up two rivals for Stephanie’s attention. Handsome cop Joe Morelli and dangerously mysterious bounty hunter Ranger are both attracted to her and she isn’t the kind of girl to jump to a fast decision between them.
If you are looking for relief from heavier fare or simply want a nice light, fun novel, start reading your way through the Stephanie Plum series. And don’t blame me if you can’t stop laughing.