Friday, August 7, 2020

Review of One For The Money by Janet Evanovich (1994, Penguin)

Jersey girl Stephanie Plum has been let go from her job as a department store lingerie buyer. She can’t find another job, her car has been repossessed, and she can’t afford the rent. In desperation, she turns to her cousin Vinny and blackmails her way into becoming a bounty hunter. If she can bring in Detective Joe Morelli, out on bail for murder, she’ll be able to stave off homelessness. However, Morelli is a seasoned detective who doesn’t want to be caught and he’s also Stephanie’s weak spot – the man who took her virginity, broadcast the details to the neighbourhood, then disappeared. She’s also clueless about the bounty hunter business and she’s about to tangle with a lot more than Morelli – a psychotic boxer with a shot at a title who gets his kicks hurting women. She’s soon well out of her depth, but pride, bloody mindedness and the chance of revenge mean she’s determined to get her man. 

One for the Money was the first book in the Stephanie Plum series, now at book 27. I first read it in 1996. It was a breath of fresh air at time – a tale that was breezy and humorous, laced with a dark streak, crossing a rom-com sensibility with violent crime. The juxtaposition of the fish-out-of-water former lingerie buyer working as a bounty hunter, the sparky relationship between Plum and Morelli as she chases him as he seeks to clear his name chasing witnesses and someone else chases them both, work well to produce an entertaining caper. Added to the mix is Stephanie’s exasperated family. Reading it again it’s still a good read, but it’s not quite as a I remember it, partly clouded by an expectation to spend more time with characters that are developed further in subsequent books (I got to about book 12 before giving up on the series, which at that point seemed to be rehashing the same story and had lost its spark). Nonetheless, it retains its freshness and sassiness. A fun read.

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