Pros: quirky characters; makes me laugh; easy to read
Cons: formulaic; not current references showing author's age (nitpicky maybe)
Stephanie Plum: Youre scum, Morelli. Scum!
Joe Morelli: Probably, but I give good pizza.
Thus the first book, One For The Money, concludes of the Stephanie Plum series that has stretched to eleven books now. Here in Three Plums In One we have the first three books that introduce the fashionable, young woman from Trenton, New Jersey who is desperate and hungry enough to take a job as a bounty hunter for her icky cousin Vinnie. Theyre not quite as silly and meaningless as the movie Legally Blonde 2, and have much more sexual repartee, so they are more for young adults and probably for women who love to laugh.
The second book, Two For The Dough, concludes with:
Stephanie Plum: This is war!
Joe Morelli: Good. I give good war.
I give the exiting lines to show you what these fluff books boil down to. They are the equivalent of watching a light-hearted comedy with some male-female competition, romantic tension and fun breaking the law to get the bad guys. Theyll make enjoyable movies someday, I daresay.
The third book, Three To Get Deadly, ends with Stephanie, a bounty hunter, finally--and I do mean finally--melting into the cop babe Joe Morellis arms. I tell you this because like me you may well wonder if shes ever going to give in to her obviously very strong attraction to the extremely patient man and become too frustrated with her. They had some sexual encounters many years ago, starting as inquisitive children, and so she rightfully wants her revenge now, but still I had to skip to the end of the third book before I could bring myself to delve into it. Im such a romantic!
Colorful characters are a hallmark of the books. Being from Jersey and young, Stephanies still tied to her family and must not be late for pot roast for Saturday dinner. Her incorrigible grandmother is my favorite whose life revolves around attending funerals, especially open casket ones, and criticizing the funereal make-up, lights and wall paint. She manages to cause scenes every time, like when a corpses finger breaks off at her touch.
Another feature of Janet Evanovichs books are Stephanies continuous need for new transportation. In the first book where Morelli was on the run because he was accused of murder, she commandeered his truck after searching his apartment and securing his keys. Naturally this enrages him and their relationship is off to a fine start, heh. His truck is blown up later by the bad guys (neither of them in it) and he joins her in driving ugly or conspicuous vehicles they hate.
In the second book shes after a drug dealer and ugly caskets. She, Joe and her bounty hunter trainer either in black or army fatigues, Ranger, cant pin the guy down, though Stephanie has many opportunities (another feature), and the case has many suspicious characters to complicate matters. When things slow down occasionally, she recovers an easy felon for some money.
Three To Get Deadly has her chasing a local celebrity everybody loves and hes very difficult to locate. Turns out he makes underground porn films and doesnt want it known. Ill admit that I really skimmed this one because the simple formula of the book was wearing thin for me. The ex-hooker, Lula with the big *ss, has started filing for Stephanies cousin-boss Vinnie, but now she gets in on the action for more laughs. For example, she breaks a suspects house window to allow her and Stephanie to enter.
Youre not opening up great literature when you open Three Plums In One. The writing, heavy on witty dialogue and quirky description, is easy enough to read that you barely need a high school education and the books will fly by as youre shoving in popcorn.
This, however, doesnt mean theyre not fun to read. I know many people do love them and many of you will. I also succumbed to the silliness and moderate suspense of the Evanovich style, but three at a time was just a bit overwhelming for me or should I say underwhelming? Theyre not as impressive or interesting as Clive Cusslers Dirk Pitt series, which can often be silly, but I have more fun trying to figure out how hell stop certain catastrophe. Evanovich has researched a little for her books, but not half as much as Cussler does, and she cranks the 250-page or so books out.
I like Stephanie. I do. The same with Joe and Im sure the battle between them is not over. That would cut out half the fun of the books if it was. I doubt Ill read more of the series too soon, but am glad I relaxed for a few days with Three Plums In One. If you want something unchallenging thats silly without sex scenes, but featuring romantic tension as well as tension from her work, then you should enjoy this book and series.