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 $10,000 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 charge 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.
“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?