Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Bounty on Caskets: Stephanie Plum in Two for the Dough


Stephanie Plum, the zany bounty hunter from the Burg, is back for more in Janet Evanovitch's Two for the Dough: more Morelli, more Grandma Mazur, more Ranger, and more mayhem with Stephanie Plum at the epicenter.

Stephanie's latest assignment is to bring in Kenny Mancuso, a distant cousin of her erstwhile lover Joe Morelli. Kenny's best friend has turned up dead, and Kenny's the chief suspect. The fact that he's skipped bail makes it even more likely he's guilty, but Morelli may be helping him stay out of Stephanie's (and the cops') reach.

Meanwhile, a girl's got to eat. So Plum takes a side-job, looking for two dozen missing caskets ordered by the pro-tem manager of Stiva's Mortuary, Spiro. He "got a deal" on a load of caskets so plain that Burg residents wouldn't be caught dead in them, but now he's got a bigger problem than explaining the purchase to his stepfather, Constantine—the caskets have disappeared from a storage locker for which only Spiro had a key.

Plum finds plenty of dead bodies, but no caskets. And she's starting to get a reputation. How many times can a girl's picture wind up in the paper in company with a corpse, before people start asking questions?

Add in missing body parts that mysteriously reappear in embarassing places, a pair of really sexy shoes, and Stephanie's chance to knock down her nemesis, Joyce Barnhardt, and you've got something pretty funny. Once again, however, Evanovitch doesn't stop there—Grandfather's blue Buick, Grandma Mazur's funeral fixation and Lula's urge to play bounty hunter so she can break knees and pop caps, combine with Stephanie Plum's indomitable character to raise this novel to the same excruciatingly hilarious level as the last.

Plum triumphs in both senses of the word. Don't start this novel in the evening, you'll not be able to put it down until you're done!

One for the Money is the first book. I've also read Seven Up—that's the book that hooked me on Stephanie Plum!

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