One for the Money

February 18, 2017
One for the Money Book Cover One for the Money
Stephanie Plum, #1
Janet Evanovich
Mystery
Scribner
August 24th 1999
eBook
320
Library
August 26th, 1994

Pestered by her close New Jersey family, Stephanie Plum offers to catch high-school crush Joe Morelli, cop turned bail jumper, for her cousin Vinnie's company. She questions "working girls" to find the missing girlfriend of vicious prizefighter Benito Ramirez while Joe secretly watches her back. Ranger mentors her and supplies vehicles when hers explode.

 

I have been waiting for this book to come in from the library for over 6 months. SIX MONTHS. I added it to my TBR based on recommendations from friends, as with most of my books. I was looking for something light and fun, and Stephanie Plum came up. Unfortunately, what I found within the pages was an inventive story that was executed in a dull fashion. It’s apparent to me from the start how things will end, and I predict this formulaic pattern will continue through the now 20+ books.

Stephanie Plum is down on her luck. When I say “down on her luck”, I mean pawning her own furniture in order to keep her phone running and her car was recently repossessed. Without anywhere else to turn, Stephanie convinces (blackmails) her cousin Vinnie into giving her a bounty hunter job catching people who have skipped bail. After all, with this job she has the chance not only to make $10,000Β but also to drag the man who seduced her into losing her virginity in high school, only to share it with the entire school, to jail. Nothing gets better than that.

The way I see it, living in New Jersey is a challenge, what with the toxic waste and the eighteen wheelers and the armed schizophrenics.

Only, well, Stephanie isn’t really cut out to be a bounty hunter. Particularly since her skipper, Joe Morelli, is an ex-cop who skipped bail on a murder chargeΒ and isn’t willing to be jailed before he can prove his innocence.

I adore the premise of this story. Stephanie is just looking to make a quick buck, and at this point she’ll do whatever she has to in order to get it done. That said, that’s about where my interest fizzled out. I’ve read a number of reviews at this point, and everyone who enjoyed this book seemed to think it was funny. I thought this book was dull and frightening. It turns out that Joe was framed as part of a drug ring combined with the brutal sexualization and murder of prostitutes. I literally had nightmares about the terrifying Benito Ramirez. No good.

“You’re a lunatic. You ran me over with a goddamn Buick.”

“I attributed the incident to tempoariy insanity. And in my own defence, I’d like to say I haven’t run over anyone since.”

I love the characters and their characterization. Yet not a single character grew throughout the entire book. The most frustrating one being our protagonist. She has decided to become a bounty hunter, yet she is obviously not equipped for this career. Despite some wonderful characters supporting her, like Ranger, she doesn’t seem to learn anything throughout the novel. There are times I’m so frustrated I just want to shake her.

Not all characters are lost– the best character is certainly Grandma Mazur. It’s the height of the 90s and Grandma wants to wear spandex. So, by gum, she’ll wear spandex! And she’ll talk about whatever she damn well wants to. She is exactly the crazy grandmother you want to have. And there is Rex, Stephanie’s pet hamster. Even Rex seems to have personality. His whole existence fills me with joy.

“That shooting gave me an appetite,” [Grandma Mazur] said. “Somebody pass me the potatoes.”

In the end, the characters were developed, the humor was lost on me, and the pacing just didn’t work well. In fact, it wasn’t until about 40% into the book that I became interested. Also, this book is a bit more violent that the sort I tend to read (Nightmares. I’m not kidding). I’ve been told the later books in the series mellow out, but we’ll see if I get there.

In the end, I’m glad I read the book. I know what the buzz is, and I can certainly understand why people would enjoy binge reading this series. After two Janet Evanovich books that have been flops for me in less than a year, I might be done for a while. Oh well. I just hope that as the series progresses things improve!


What do you think?

  • If you’ve read this series, what do you think? Did I miss something? Should I keep reading the series?
  • How do you feel about serial mysteries, such as the Stephanie Plum series, overall? Which are your favorites?
  • What books have you read lately which just didn’t live up to the hype?

21 Comments

  • Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel February 18, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I have not read the series. The book fails to capture my attention from the review. I am glad the pacing picked up after a bit even though the overall read was not so great. And I can imagine how crazy the granny must be.

    • Jackie B February 19, 2017 at 10:46 pm

      Thanks, Resh Susan! Granny really was the high point. But that’s about it.

  • AvalinahsBooks February 18, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Ha, I never really read books like that πŸ˜€ I’m kind of a sensitive reader, I know I’d have nightmares. But, considering the low rating, you have given it quite a good review if only the text was concerned πŸ™‚

    • Jackie B February 19, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      I am definitely a sensitive reader, too! I avoid horror and anything with graphic violence. That said, I didn’t expect this book to fall into that bucket. It really caught me off guard.

      There were some quality humorous moments throughout, and I loved how well some of the characters were written. It wasn’t a complete flop for me. Certainly better than some other books I’ve read… hence the two star review. πŸ˜€

  • YAandWine February 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I’ve only read this first book in the series. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t LOVE it either. Perhaps the rest of the series picks up. I did LOVE her grandmother so much.

    • Jackie B February 19, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks for letting me know! It’s nice to know I’m not the only person who stopped reading the series after book one. There are certainly some great characters and funny moments– but I don’t think they make up for this overall.

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea February 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Gah.. your ability to really get to the core of titles and so effortlessly sum up your experiences leave me smitten with jealously. I am forever appreciative of knowing you are delivering the raw truth! Sorry this did not pan out, and I will be passing.

    • Jackie B February 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Oh, stop it, Danielle! You’re making me blush. But, I really appreciate your feedback! It means I’m holding true to the mission of my blog. I’m glad I can help whittle down your TBR. πŸ™‚

  • Jasmine February 18, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I haven’t read any books by this author. I saw Curious Minds as her new book published last year. Have you read? I think it was on NetGalley. I saw Megan @ Bookslayer Reads reviewed it and I didn’t think it was a 5 star read for her either. Thanks for the review. Guess I can make a decision that her books are not so great.

    • Jackie B February 19, 2017 at 10:38 pm

      I haven’t read Curious Minds, but I did read The Heist last year and felt meh about it, too. I just don’t think Evanovich’s books are for me after trying to separate series. So many of my friends have enjoyed them, though! I just don’t know what I’m missing.

  • theorangutanlibrarian February 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Oh such a shame about the dull execution- I think I’ll skip this one :/

    • Jackie B February 19, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      Glad I can help you whittle down your TBR! πŸ™‚

  • LizScanlon February 21, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Ha… pity this didn’t live up to the standard for you… but yay for the grandma and the hamster who had personality?! πŸ˜€

    • Jackie B February 21, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Wow. It sounds really ridiculous when you say it that way, “yay for the grandma and the hamster who had personality”. The hamster really was one of the stronger redeeming pieces of this book. Oops! If only other authors could flesh out hamsters like Evanovich! πŸ˜‰

  • Grab the Lapels March 8, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I remember when this movie came out. It looked so bad! The whole premise that a highly petite woman (surely one who barely eats food to keep that super-tiny figure) is going to “haul off” a man in such a violent field of work….and she’s going to haul him off with what? Her…arms? Like, she doesn’t even have a police car or anything. And even the preview was so loaded with sexual tension that you know they’re going to fall in love in the end. Yeesh. I love Katherine Heigl, but she hasn’t made very smart role choices in the last several years.

    • Jackie B March 8, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Exactly. I just didn’t get this book at all. I did see the film after I read the book, and I felt like the film did a better job conveying to me the humor in these situations. We all gotta make a buck, I guess. It was a high grossing film…

      • Grab the Lapels March 9, 2017 at 12:45 pm

        Whoa, I’m surprised. It has a 2% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes….I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lower rating! Eek!

      • Grab the Lapels March 9, 2017 at 12:47 pm

        Oh! And someone pointed out that Jennifer Aniston already made a bounty hunter/boyfriend movie. I can’t remember the title, but now that I think about it, that does sound familiar. I wonder if the Aniston movie came before or after the Plum books.

        • Jackie B March 13, 2017 at 11:40 am

          Wow! I had no idea single digits were a thing. That’s sooooo painful. Now I know I’ll never watch it. Yikes.

          Apparently, Jennifer Aniston’s The Bounty Hunter came out in 2010. One for the Money was originally published in 1994. I wonder if that was a moment where they couldn’t get the rights to the Plum series, or if they wanted to make too many changes… stuff like that seems to happen all the time. The Bounty Hunter has a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes, though. Not much better. Apparently, the world isn’t really into the trope.

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