Book Reviews

Book Review: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – Fun Fluff

One thing working nights meant was a lot of time sitting around looking for things to do. I spent some of that time reading. I tried reading a book that was somewhat deep and philosophical and my brain just didn’t want to function in that capacity at two in the morning. I needed something lighter.

Stephanie Plum was a lingerie buyer for a local department store whose mob connections were exposed and she’s now out of a job and getting desperate. She visits her cousin Vinnie, who reluctantly gives her a job as a bounty hunter at his bail-bondsman business. Her first case is the pursuit of an old neighborhood friend with whom she once had a fling, Joe Morelli.

Morelli is a cop who was arrested for shooting an unarmed man while off-duty. He’s skipped on his bail, but he’s still hanging around Trenton. It doesn’t take much for Stephanie to find him. However, she does seem to have a problem hanging onto him and turning him in. As the story unfolds around them, it soon becomes apparent that there’s more to Morelli’s case than meets the eye.

One for the Money is told in the first person from Stephanie’s perspective. This is interesting because while I felt like I had a good insight into what was going on in her mind, it’s somewhat lacking with the other characters. This has the effect to a certain extent of putting the reader in Stephanie’s shoes, and it works quite well for the story. In particular, I liked her perspective in certain situations, such as when she’s dealing with the mother of the fugitive she’s pursuing.

It’s not as if One for the Money is completely action-driven, which is something I’ve seen happen in other books written in the first person. Stephanie describes the world she inhabits so well. Trenton, New Jersey comes off much the same way I think of certain areas of Queens, New York, and I am sure other people who have grown up in similar urban areas will relate to it as well. The neighborhood is funny with its characters who inhabit it, as Stephanie continually dodges issues from her past, copes with her worrying parents and grandmother with no sense of fashion, and tries to get back on her feet financially.

Along the way, Evanovich brings in interesting characters. In addition to Stephanie and Morelli, there’s Ranger. He works for Stephanie’s cousin and seems to be a bit of a renegade in his own right. Stephanie continually turns to him for help as she’s the novice and it feels like there’s the possibility of chemistry between the two. There’s Benitez, a Mike Tyson-like boxer with many of the same issues Tyson was known for in his early career. I had to wonder if part of this story wasn’t inspired by some of what transpired about the former champion. Each character seems to stand out in its own right and make the portrait of this corner of Trenton seem all the more eclectic. There are some I’m looking forward to seeing in the future in the series, as I understand it’s up to twelve books at the current time.

I found One for the Money to be a good read for a time when I didn’t want to read something too deep. It’s fun and suspenseful at times. I was curious to see how the storyline would play out and if Stephanie would manage to get her man and collect the bounty or surrender to his charms as she had in the past. It’s not a great mystery, but because the characters are interesting and colorful, it makes a pleasant read. I figured out what was probably going to happen about halfway through, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the book as a whole.

One for the Money would make great summer reading as well. It’s something I could put down and pick up as the situation warranted it. It’s nothing deep, but then there are times when that is perfect and two in the morning is a perfect time for some entertaining fluff.

Next book in the series (link): Two for the Dough

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