St. Martin's, 2006 (2006)
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Reviewed by Tim Davis
eginning in rapid succession with the highly successful
One for the Money
Two for the Dough
Three to Get Ready
Four to Score
, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels have been entertaining readers for a dozen years. Twelve years after Stephanie's 1994 debut, and now appearing in her twelfth novel, the colorful New Jersey bounty hunter is hard at work in
, and she is once again in over her head in a paradoxical series of side-splitting and pulse-pounding adventures.
he opening action kicks around for a few pages as Stephanie Plum, one of Trenton's most resourceful bond enforcement agents, continues working at her cousin's business, Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. With plenty of Failure-to-Appears on the books, everyone at the agency keeps busy chasing down the assorted good, bad, and ugly felons.
gets going into high gear when a young girl by the name of Julie Martine has been kidnapped from her mother's and step-father's home in Miami, which ought to be of little or no interest to anyone in New Jersey, but this girl has connections: She is the daughter of Carlos Manoso, a man otherwise known to everyone in Trenton as Ranger, a man who also happens to be a bounty hunter, security consultant, and Stephanie Plum's occasional (professional and intimate) associate.
hen Ranger and Stephanie team up to look for his missing daughter, things start to get dangerous. Carmen Manoso, a woman claiming to be Ranger's wife - about whom he has no knowledge - has confronted Stephanie, has taken a few shots at her with a gun, and has been methodically stalking her. Making matters worse, a man claiming to be Ranger - about whom the real Ranger, Carlos Manoso, has no knowledge - has been moving around the east coast making quite a reputation for himself. In the meantime, as if things aren't problematic enough, Stephanie discovers a dead body hidden in the back of an SUV outside the bail bond agency where she works. And all of this is somehow connected to Julie Martine's disappearance!
hen all the misadventures and the murderous mayhem are finally resolved, readers have been treated to a typically top-notch Stephanie Plum adventure. There is plenty of humor and excitement, an abundance of singularly strange felons-on-the-loose (to keep the bounty hunters busy when they are not engaged in the main plot), a few eccentric characters (especially Stephanie's occasional assistant, the abundantly voluptuous Lula), the obligatory assortment of deadly encounters and dead bodies, and more than any novel's fair share of bizarre predicaments. Wickedly steamy and salaciously funny in spots, and consistently entertaining throughout,
will not disappoint Evanovich's huge corps of diehard fans.
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