"Uncle Fred was someone I saw at weddings and funerals and once in a while at Giovichinni's Meat Market, ordering a quarter pound of olive loaf. Eddie Such, the butcher, would have the olive loaf on the scale and Uncle Fred would say: 'You've got the olive loaf on a piece of waxed paper. How much does that piece of waxed paper weigh? You're not gonna charge me for that waxed paper, are you? I want some money off for the waxed paper.' "
The speaker is Stephanie Plum, the glamorous if slightly ditzy bounty hunter from Trenton, New Jersey, and one of the most original creations in recent mystery fiction.
In this fifth entry in Janet Evanovich's increasingly popular series, Stephanie's problems are many and varied. She's not making enough moneypicking up FTAs (Failures to Appear) for her cousin Vinnie, of Vincent PlumBail Bonds; her red-hot love affair with Detective Joe Morelli has cooled off; and her giant extended family is no help at all. For instance, Uncle Fred the cheapskate has disappeared, leaving behind some suspicious photographs of body parts in garbage bags and links to some really dangerous people.
When Stephanie turns to her friend and mentor, Ranger, for financial advice, he gets her involved in a gang of toughs doing instant evictions for landlords. (She complains to Ranger about the job and its dangers, prompting one of the hired thug to say, "Man, you don't like to get shot. You don't like to get arrested. You don't know how to have fun at all.")
Most of Stephanie's charm, of course, comes from her attitude--a combination of the brazen bravado that turns a failed lingerie model into bounty hunter in the first place and the normal fears of a person in over her head.
Other Plums in paperback, by the numbers: One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, and Four to Score. --Dick Adler
Out of bail skippers and rent money, Stephanie Plum throws caution to the wind and follows in the entrepreneurial bootsteps of Super Bounty Hunter, Ranger, engaging in morally correct and marginally legal enterprises. So, a scumball blows himself to smithereens on her first day of policing a crack house and the sheik she was chauffeuring stole the limo. But hey, nobody's perfect! Anyway, Stephanie has other things on her mind. Her mother wants her to find Uncle Fred who's missing after arguing with his garbage company; homicidal rapist Benito Ramirez is back, quoting scripture and stalking Stephanie; vice cop Joe Morelli has a box of condoms with Stephanie's name on it; and Stephanie's afraid Ranger has his finger on her trigger. The whole gang's here for mirth and mayhem in Janet Evanovich's High Five. Read at your own risk in public places.