Suppose for a moment you'd given up on the Stephanie Plum series, or hadn't been reading them in order for awhile. Suppose all of the books after the third one, including the between-the-numbers books, were on sale for $2.99. What would you do? If you're me, you buy and gift the crap out of a ton of them and spend about $15 total.
You can see the entire list of on-sale books on the Amazon Evanovich page. Most of the series is $2.99.
Plus, if you're asking yourself, But, which one is the best? Which one should I buy? The answer is WHICHEVER you WANT!
Because they're relentlessly the same, most of them – and they have moments of gut-breaking humor. Say “gumpy” to me and I'll still break in half laughing. So, know a mystery fan? Someone who likes humor? Someone who is in law enforcement in Jersey? (True story, I talked a cop in Jersey City into buying these for his family. Later he found me in Journal Square and said that not only did his wife love them, but that he thought they were terrific, too.)
So — WOO! Here we go!
Janet Evanovich, bestselling author of One for the Money, Two for the Dough, and Three to Get Deadly, scores big with Four to Score, her most thrilling Stephanie Plum adventure yet. Working for her bail bondsman cousin Vinnie, Stephanie is hot on the trail of revenge-seeking waitress Maxine Nowicki, whose crimes include bail jumping, theft, and extortion. Someone is terrifying Maxine's friends, and those who have seen her are turning up dead. Also on the hunt for Maxine is Joyce Barnhardt, Stephanie's archenemy and rival bounty hunter. Stephanie's attitude never wavers– even when aided by crazy Grandma Mazur, ex-hooker and wannabe bounty hunter Lula, and transvestite rock musician Sally Sweet– and even when Stephanie makes an enemy whose deadly tactics escalate from threatening messages to firebombs. All of this pales in comparison, though, with an even greater danger Stephanie faces, when, homeless and broke, she and her hamster Rex move in with a vice cop Joe Morelli. RATED PG35 for licentious wit and libidinous cohabitation.
High Five is $2.99, and features the standard Plum canon: car wreckage, humor, silliness, junkfood, hamsters and blueberries. This one has a 4+ star average on GR, and seems to be a bit of a fan favorite.
What’s Stephanie up to now?
Her Uncle Fred has disappeared. A body turns up in a garbage bag. She’s got a nasty bookie following her around town. Grandma Mazur has her hands on the stun gun. Stephanie can’t keep a car for more than forty-eight hours. Two men are trying to get her into bed. She has nothing to wear to the Mafia wedding. And there’s an angry little man (don’t call him a dwarf!) who won’t leave her apartment.
Bail jumping in Trenton is down to small potatoes. Stephanie’s only open case is a small bond for a small violation, committed by a small person who raises Stephanie’s frustration level in big ways. So short of money and long on bills, Stephanie comes up with a plan-–diversify! Signing on as an intern with entrepreneurial Super Bounty Hunter Ranger, Stephanie ventures into Ranger’s mostly morally correct and marginally legal operations.
None of this makes vice cop Joe Morelli a happy man. The cop in him can’t help but wonder as to the source of Stephanie’s expensive new cars. And the rest of him, the man who’s been friend and lover to Stephanie, can’t help but wonder if there’s more to the partnership than meets the eye.
The internship is downgraded to second priority when Uncle Fred goes missing. Even though Grandma Mazur is sure he was abducted by aliens, Stephanie sets out to look for Fred. He’s a perfectly average senior citizen, and he’s disappeared without a trace while running errands. He’s left his ten-year-old Pontiac station wagon locked up nice and neat in the Grand Union parking lot, the cleaning is carefully arranged on the back seat, and his wife is at home, waiting for him to return with the bread and the milk and the olive loaf bologna. Locked in the top drawer of his desk are photos of a body, dismembered and stuffed into a garbage bag. And locked away in the computer files of a another average citizen are the clues that will lead Stephanie to Fred.
Low-rent bounty hunter Stephanie Plum reaches depths of personal experience that other women detectives never quite do. In Hot Six, for example, a sequence of new and hideous cars bite the dust; she finds herself lumbered with a policeman's multiply incontinent dog; and she has several bad skin days. All this when she is trying to prove her distinctly more competent colleague and occasional boyfriend Ranger innocent of a mob hit; avoid the heavies trailing her in the hope of finding him; and cope with a wife-abusing bail defaulter with nasty habits, such as setting Stephanie on fire.
The peculiar joy of this series is the comic sense of place; Plum's New Jersey is one where everyone you meet, even the most dangerous of criminals, was at school with you, or stole your mother's first boyfriend, or gave your great-aunt a middling good recipe for meatloaf. Evanovich has built up an attractive cast of comic characters with Stephanie's extended family and those of her two boyfriends, the dashing and sinister Ranger and Joe Morelli (the cop whose family are only too keen on his marrying Stephanie). Hot Six will not disappoint either her fans or newcomers.
All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he's still got a knack for slipping out of sight–and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-riddled corpse in Eddie's garden?
Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie's friends suddenly vanished? For answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He'll give Stephanie all the help she needs–if she gives him everything he wants…
As if things weren't complicated enough, Stephanie's just discovered her Grandma Mazur's own unmentionable alliance with Eddie. Add a series of unnerving break-ins, not to mention the bombshell revelation leveled by Stephanie's estranged sister, and Stephanie's ready for some good news. Unfortunately, a marriage proposal from Joe Morelli, the love of her life, isn't quite cutting it.
And now–murder, a randy paramour, a wily mobster, death threats, extortion, and a triple kidnapping aside–Stephanie's really got the urge to run for her life…
So, if you read this series and stopped, where did you leave off? Do you recommend all of them, or should folks stop at a certain point? What's your Plum recommended title?