If you have not read anything by American mystery writer Janet Evanovich, you might consider her series of books that feature Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter.
It all starts with "One For the Money", first published in 1994. We meet Stephanie Plum, the half-Czech, half-Italian bounty hunter and Jersey girl. In this book, we follow Stephanie as she is laid off from her job as lingerie buyer and seeks another job as bounty hunter from her cousin Vinnie.
There has been a murder in Trenton, New Jersey and Stephanie knows the man who is wanted in connection with the homocide, an ex-flame and cop named Joe Morelli. We also meet Stephanie's family. Her doting mother and her hilarious Grandma Lazur. (Grandma Lazur gets many of the best lines.) We also meet Benito Ramirez, a psychotic boxer who assults Stephanie, and a couple of prostitutes with hearts of gold.
Did Joe Morelli murder someone? Will Stephanie Plum catch the bad guy? Much hilarity ensues...
If you would like to purchase a copy of "One For the Money" by Janet Evanovich you can click here.
I also listened to "Two For the Dough" also by Janet Evanovich and published in 1996. There is no need to really read the Stephanie Plum books in sequential order, but there were a few references to the previous book. Also, Joe Morelli is around a lot more in this book, so it helps if you read "One For the Money".
In "Two For the Dough" a slightly more seasoned Stephanie is trying to solve the mystery of the missing caskets, and missing bail jumper Kenny Mancuso. Mancuso makes a great protagonist who we really want Stephanie to catch, especially when he messes with Grandma Mazur. If you would like to buy a copy of "Two For the Dough" you can click here.
Janet Evanovich has mastered the art of the comedic mystery. The humor is one of the best things about Evanovich's writing. Also, Stephanie Plum is no shrinking violet. We admire the chutzpah of this female protagonist who gets out and finds a job in the face of her car being repossessed and her refrigerator empty.
The bad stuff about Evanovich is the New Jersey clichés that surround Plum and the other characters. There are lots of guido-types with half-baked Godfather dialogue, though, having lived in Philadelphia just outside NJ, I know this isn't always just a stereotype. There is nothing deep, or earth-shattering about the writing and books of Janet Evanovich. They are just fun and funny.
I also decided to listen to this book on audio CD, one that is available from the Pioneer Memorial Public Library in Harman, WV. The woman who reads the books, C. J. Critt, has an amazing voice with a whole array of Jersey-accented folks who appear in the book. This is the first audiobook I have ever listened to and I really enjoyed it.
We have both books and audio CDs ready for checkout at the Pioneer Memorial Public Library. We are located in Randolph County, West Virginia.