Title: One for the Money
Series: Stephanie Plum (Book 1, series ongoing)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publisher: Scribner (1994)
Sub-Genres: Bounty Hunters, Female Detectives, New Jersey, Romance
Plot Summary: Stephanie Plum is out of a job and down on her luck. Running out of appliances and furniture to pawn for breakfast money, Plum blackmails her cousin into giving her a job as a bounty hunter. Her first collar? The guy who took her virginity in high school and never called back, a cop named Morelli who allegededly shot an unarmed man. But there's something wrong in Trenton, New Jersey, and Morelli may not be as guilty as people think he is.
What I Liked: This book was such a quick read. And I mean that in a good way. It literally took only about three hours total to read, and for the most part, it was quite a joyful experience.
Plum is a great protagonist: she's engaging enough to be fun and make you want to follow her but enough of a cipher that the reader can project their emotions onto her. Combine that with a variety of local New Jersey characters, stellar descriptions of suburban hell, and Plum's grandmother rocking some hot pants, and you've got a fun adventure.
Evanovich's main mystery, and Plum's obvious attraction to Morelli, are also engaging. While the ending is much expected, there are still enough twists to be satisfying.
What I Didn't Like: At times, Evanovich comes off fairly racist and classist. It's not intentional, but rather that Evanovich was trying to protray Jersey as it is, or at least how Evanovich sees it. But with all the poor, downtrodden characters being minorities and our heroes all white, it becomes a bit much.
And this is nowhere more true than with Evanovich's horrible dialogue styling. The characters all have different voices, which is great, but they also come with these dialect inflections that are distracting and not done well. None of the writing in this book is pretty, but beyond the dialogue, it's forgivable because it still gets the job done, if done plainly.
Similar Works: More Stephanie Plum: Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum, No. 2), Smokin' Seventeen, and Visions of Sugar Plums: A Stephanie Plum Holiday Novel.
More Female Sleuths: Deja Dead: 10th Anniversary Edition (Temperance Brennan Novels), The Scarpetta Collection Volume I: Postmortem and Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta), and A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries, No. 1).
Buy It Here!: One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, No. 1)
Last Thought: A quick, fun mystery and good enough that I might read the second book.