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The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
Posted to Texts at 05:53 PM on Jan 7, 2007

St. Martin's Paperbacks

My mom is a book fiend. If it's a crime thriller, she's read it. She's read all the classics, she loves nonfiction, but by far, crime thrillers are her favorite. I, on the other hand, have picked up only a handful of books without pictures in them since 1998. My last encounter with a grown-up book was A is For Alibi by Sue Grafton, and while it was entertaining, it didn't quite stoke any appetite for the genre.

While my mom was visiting last year, she turned me onto Janet Evanovich. She had managed to read twelve of her books in two weeks, she told me, all of them part of a series. I vowed to go to the library the very next day. And I would have. But Mom appeared on my doorstep with a brand new box set of books before I had the chance.

The series of books starring Stephanie Plum has what Sue Grafton's books sorely lack: a sense of humor. Stephanie Plum is a mid-thirties ex-lingerie buyer who, out of desperation, takes a job in her cousin's bail bonds company. She is extremely inexperienced and is still hanging onto the apron strings of her charmingly dysfunctional family.

Evanovich has the most wonderful talent of weaving humor into suspense. The action parts are full of action, but the warmth and laughs offset the drama nicely. While a few of the minor characters are a bit cliched, Stephanie's family are complex and funny and like real people. Stephanie's interactions with her grandmother in particular are hilarious.

While not all of the storylines are exactly realistic, the honesty and wit in Evanovich's writing makes it easy to suspend one's disbelief for a while.

I am currently on the fifth book in the series, High Five. At this point, I'm wondering how the storyline is going to unfold in the last seven books. So far, the books are following kind of a formula and I'm hoping things are shaken up a bit.


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