After finding "To the Nines" to be an almost perfect Plum, I was wondering how Ms. Evanovich could hope to match that wonderful book. You may recall that I found the mystery of "To the Nines" a little too easy to solve in the last 60 pages. I am delighted to report that Ms. Evanovich has written a perfect Plum this time. What an accomplishment!
To be this good, Ms. Evanovich must have gone back and examined every review she has ever received . . . and looked for ways to improve her writing.
Ten Big Ones has generous doses of all your favorite characters form the earlier books including Grandma Mazur, Lula, Morelli, Ranger, Connie, Valerie, Albert Kloughn, her Mom and Dad, and Sally Sweet . . . along with delightful cameos by such stalwarts as Vinnie Plum, the usual eye-rolling members of the Trenton PD, and Ranger's crew.
Ten Big Ones has more bounty hunts in it than ever before, and Stephanie plays a more complete role in trying to solve everyone's problems . . . not just bring in a felon for a body receipt.
Cars play a big role. There's romance. There's action. There's threat. There's family drama. It's marvelous!
Unlike other books in the series, you could begin with this one and still understand what is going on with few problems. The opening has a wonderful reintroduction of Stephanie and her life. But this book is so good, it will spoil you for the others. So please go back and start with One for the Money if you haven't read the others.
This book builds around being in the wrong place at the wrong time . . . and lets events develop from there.
Unlike many of the other books in the series, this one seems to have a more serious theme: What is the correct role for a single woman in a dangerous, demanding society? Stephanie craves the action, doesn't want to be "protected" too much . . . but does want to survive the experience. She's also torn in other ways, and the emotional development of her personality is quite interesting in this book.
But the humor is what I liked best about the book. The characterizations and descriptions are wonderful for adding to that humor.
I thought that the comic elements of the scenes were beautifully constructed. Each scene was more complex than I expected, and the complexity left a reward of a more detailed understanding of the characters as well as heartier laughs along the way. No one does comedy better!
As I finished the book, I realized that there's more than one way to get things done. But we do need to be persistent . . . so that eventually we get our man or woman!
I can hardly wait to see where Stephanie goes form here.