Why I Read It: The series has been highly recommended to me.
Where I Got It: The library.
Who I Recommend This To: Modern-day action mysteries with a quirky hero.
Narrator: C. J. Critt
Publisher: Recorded Books (1994)
Length: 8 hours 30 minutes
Series: Book 1 Stephanie Plum
Stephanie Plum use to sell lingerie. But she lost her job, hasn’t found any real work for several months, lost her car, and will soon be evicted if she doesn’t pay her rent. taking place in Trenton, New Jersey, Stephanie survives having regular dinner at her parents’ place (and her mother’s attempts to set her up with a potential husband). She manages to score beat up vehicle that had some interesting graffiti, and lands a job at her cousin Vinny’s place, as a bounty hunter. Her first case is to track down and apprehend an ex-cop wanted for murder. Along the way, she attracts the attention of a man known for his taste in violence. Now she has two reasons to learn how to use pepper spray and a gun. In walks Ranger, a professional bounty hunter of Cuban descent. It’s a crazy, whacky mystery just with that set up.
I think this book had less impact on me because I saw the movie based on the book a few years ago. So, I already had an idea of how odd it was and the sense of humor I was in for. That said, it was an enjoyable book with plenty of humor, and just enough seriousness for me to look forward to catching more books in the series. Stephanie’s focus on the ex-cop, Joseph Morelli, became a bit silly at times because she was focused on him for the wrong reasons – they had a little hour long fling back in high school and she has held a grudge since. It’s been 15 or more years since that fling and in this respect the character hit me as immature, repeatedly, throughout the book with each encounter between Stephanie and Morelli. But it also led to several jokes.
The humor balanced the darker side of the job. In this mystery, one of her leads, a boxer named Ramirez, was known to be associated with one of the witnesses in Morelli’s case. But he also has a violent streak, one that eventually comes to threaten Stephanie. While I found the actions of this character despicable, the seriousness of scenes involving this character kept the mystery grounded in real life, one with real consequences.
I have just one pet peeve with this story. Stephanie’s wardrobe throughout the tale was usually ridiculous for her daily tasks – like running, wrestling with her bounty, avoiding being shot, punched, restrained, etc. But I do have to say that she use to be a lingerie sales person and her wardrobe fits those job needs. And with no income, I guess she just couldn’t afford to get some decent shoes or boots, pants, etc.
Over all, it was fun, a light read. It entertained and didn’t require brain power.
Narration: C. J. Critt was an excellent pick for the voice of Stephanie. She performed the various emotions of Stephanie quite well, from enthusiasm, to embarrassment, to fear, to high-five excitement. Her voices for the other characters were distinct, making it easy to keep track of which character was talking.
What I Liked: The ridiculous situations Stephanie often found herself in; the reactions of family and friends to her new job; uses for handcuffs; the serious side of the business.
What I Disliked: Stephanie’s wardrobe – tis ridiculous for her new job.
What Others Think: