Published by Penguin

I don’t often read adult books; I spend too many hours reading those written for children and young adults.

A few years ago though I came across Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum crime novels.  I’m not sure how many there are in the series now – this though, is the first, and possibly the best – though that is uncertain.

At the beginning of the book Stephanie has just lost her job working as a lingerie buyer, and decides it is worth visiting her cousin Vinnie who runs the local bounty hunter office to ask if his job for an office worker is still available.

Under threat of exposure, (he has an interesting personal life) Vinnie agrees to take Stephanie on as his latest bounty hunter.

The books are gritty. They are certainly not for young adults (at least not from this blog), but they are also some of the funniest books I have ever read. The relationship between Stephanie, Joe Morelli (a local policeman with a history) and Ranger – an almost mystical bounty hunter already employed by Vinnie, is central to the story.

As is often the case the characters are what makes these books so wonderful (and why I’d love to own a Ranger’s T-shirt) -they are all extraordinary: Lula, initially a minor character in this the first of the books, develops into one of the pivotal people in the series – larger than life and twice as gutsy, though with the need to stop off regularly for doughnuts, and perhaps the odd handbag sale. Grandma Mazur is Stephanie’s maternal grandmother – and is quite unique amongst grandparents – willing to try anything and with a hobby of attending viewings at the local funeral parlours. Morelli and Ranger, as mentioned above, Stephanie’s parents and of course Rex. The longest living hamster I have ever come across. He is an integral part of the books. Rex doesn’t do a lot (hamsters don’t on the whole), but he has been known to bite, when necessary…

These cheer me up, when life gets difficult. They are in parts, extremely violent, but to counter that they are also extremely funny. Do read them in order – One for the MoneyTwo for the Dough, Three to get Ready…if you don’t, you won’t appreciate the characters as they develop.

They are American (set in New Jersey) and I have to admit that they are the only American books I have so far loved.

Read them – and laugh.

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