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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Stephanie's new case was supposed to be simple. Kenny Mancuso had shot his friend, not fatally, and then skipped out on his bond. Should be real simple, right? Of course, first she has to find Kenny. Then his friend is murdered. Trying to track down any leads, she joins Grandma Mazur at a funeral home run by Spiro, another of Kenny's childhood friends. But Spiro has a case of his own. 24 caskets have been stolen, and he wants Stephanie to hunt them down. Is there a connection? With Ranger to advise and Joe Morelli to shadow, will Stephanie put all the pieces in place and catch Kenny before he turns on her?
Stephanie Plum is an appealing heroine. She acts tough, but in reality she's all too human. The plot is complicated enough to keep the reader engaged, and the action never lets up. There were several parts I thought I had figured out only to learn later I was wrong. And Grandma Mazur is a riot as she gets more involved in the story.
It's easy to see why these books are so popular - an appealing main character and fun stories. If you're looking for purely escapist fiction, this is the series for you.
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on 22 October 2013
The second novel in the Stephanie Plum series sees the bounty hunter in her second case - trying to catch an elusive bail skipper. The story feels instantly forgettable (I can't recall what happened in the first book either), and seemed to be missing an opening chapter that would have reintroduced the characters and set up the plot.

The story took a while to get going and a long time for me to get into it. The chapters seemed too long and were, particularly at the beginning of the book, very repetitive, which didn't help grip me. The plot really felt that it wasn't going anywhere, and at the end I was left feeling cheated out of anything much happening, and that the characters hadn't been on any sort of journey.

The main character is quite annoying, and the rest of the cast are equally frustrating to read about. The comedic elements felt very forced and slapstick and the male characters are entirely one-dimensional.

Looking back, I enjoyed the first book in the series, and commented on how well-constructed the characters and plot were. This sequel then was a terrible disappointment. I hope it's just a blip and that the remainder of the series will turn out stronger when I read them.
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VINE VOICEon 24 September 2003
Stephanie Plum is back in her second outing as a bounty hunter. She's getting better, and now she's been assigned the case of finding Kenny Mancuso, who skipped bail after shotting his old friend in the knee. Turns out though that Kenny's cousin is her old flame and cop Joe Morelli, who also has an interest in this case, as well as in Stephanie.
Stephanie is also hired by local undertaker Spiro to track down 24 stolen army surplus caskets, and coincidentally, Spiro was also a friend of Kenny. As the plot thickens, Stephanie realises that Kenny is a psycho, and that there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye. And, as if enough isn't going on, she has to deal with an energetic Granny Mazur, and a very interested Morelli.
Stephanie Plum is an independant woman, fighting bad hair as well as the criminal underworld and her attraction to Morelli. She will make you laugh, as will her gun-toting, funeral-attending grandmother. These books just keep getting better.
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In One for the Money, Stephanie Plum becomes a bounty hunter charged with bringing in Joe Morelli, a cop who is charged with killing an unarmed man. The two had a history, from Joe teaching her choo-choo between her legs when she was six, later on the bakery floor when she was sixteen, and finally when she broke his leg by running over him when he didn't call again and told the whole town about their exploits.
In Two for the Dough (the second book in the series), Stephanie is after Kenny Mancuso, a relative of Morelli's and Morelli is everywhere. Before the book is over, he makes his move. And the results will keep you laughing for days!
In addition to the wacky romance, naturally there's a mystery, lots of bad guys, and great action. Stephanie is still good at finding the missing felon, but like in One for the Money, she can't seem to apprehend him. She's better armed this time, but it doesn't help her with Mancuso.
Her Grandmother Mazur becomes her sidekick, because the search for Mancuso turns out to be connected to mortuaries as 24 caskets turn up missing. Grandmother Mazur hasn't missed a viewing in years, so this is right up her alley. Somehow, these wandering caskets are also connected to Mancuso's shooting of his best friend, and missing munitions from an Army base where Mancuso was stationed. The missing munitions are being used to kill cops all over New Jersey.
Janet Evanovich is able to draw humor from the most unlikely places, such as animal droppings and death. This book has more mortuary humor in it than all other books combined that I have read in my life.
You'll find out what the stylish Jersey girl turned bounty hunter was wearing in 1996, and the best ways to track down a missing felon. In the meantime, you'll have more laughs than in most comedies.
While you're filling your day with chuckles from Trenton's burg, you should think about the possibilities of improving your relationships with those you have known for a long time. A good way to start is by improving the way you communicate with these people. You may find that they change the way they communicate with you, as a result. As you think about that, notice how much of the relationships in the book are less than perfect because people haven't worked on improving them.
Enjoy your improved relationships! If you'd like some ideas, see Relationship Rescue.
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Author Janet Evanovich has made the protagonist of her Stephanie Plum series one of the most endearing fictional characters I've come across. Should Hollywood make any of the books into a film, the lead role is made for Sandra Bullock.
In TWO FOR THE DOUGH, novice bounty hunter Stephanie is on the hunt for Kenny Mancuso, who's jumped bail after being charged with shooting a service station attendant in the knee. As the plot unfolds, Plum becomes involved in the investigation of a weapons theft from an Army arsenal, and is mailed various body parts carved from corpses on slabs at a local mortuary. All to the continuing discomfiture of her family, who just wants her to find a nice man and get married. Or at least a job that pays steady.
Admittedly, the plots of the Plum novels are rudimentary. Almost amateurish even. But they serve as the skeleton structures upon which Evanovich constructs the superbly hilarious misadventures of her klutzy heroine. Not since Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series with Becky Bloomwood have I been so amused.
A major attraction of the series is the cast of ongoing, supporting characters. Foremost is Joe Morelli, a plain-clothes cop on the Trenton (NJ) PD, and Plum's reluctant ally in her pursuit of the bad guys. Joe and Stephanie would be lovers except that she finds him so infuriating, and the fact that she manages to trash Joe's cars. Another is her maternal grandmother, Grandma Mazur, a feisty old lady who see's herself as Clint Eastwood and her granddaughter's sometimes partner. In that hypothetical film of Stephanie's exploits, Mazur would be played by Dorothy's Mom in TV's GOLDEN GIRLS, Sophia.
The first book in the series having established what is apparently a pattern, I expect Stephanie to experience continuing car problems and ridiculous predicaments. In this second volume, Plum's Jeep is stolen, and she inherits the use of a powder blue, 1953 Buick in mint condition - a veritable tank with which she proceeds to wreak destruction on cars around her.
Stephanie has a pet hamster named Rex, stores her .38 in a cookie jar, and, during extended surveillances, takes pottie breaks at M&D's. She obsesses about her weight, but Kit-Kat bars are de rigueur munchies for stakeout duty. During stressful moments, her mind can wander to consideration of a sexy pair of purple pumps, and the necessary additions to her wardrobe that such would require. How can you not love this woman? I've taken the plunge and put the next six episodes on my Wish List.
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Stephanie is one of the best fiction characters of the 20th century. She is hilarious and I love her to bits. Fast paced and funny with genuinely scary moments thrown in. Oh yes, and I want to be Grandma Mazur when I'm old.
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Stephanie's latest skip should be easy to collar, local boy Kenny shot his best friend in the knee during an argument but it was only a minor incident and Moogey didn't even want to press charges so there is no need for him to do a disappearing act. Then, after Kenny misses his court date, Moogey is murdered and prime suspect Kenny falls completely off the radar. Not one to walk away from a case Stephanie becomes determined to track Kenny down but when her investigations lead her to a funeral parlour with a missing batch of caskets and then various body parts start going missing things get much more complicated.

This series is just so much fun to read, it's pure entertainment from first page to last and every book has me giggling the whole way through. I must be on my third read through of the early books in the series yet I never get tired of them. Stephanie is such a likeable character, she has a knack for finding trouble and she gets herself into the most ridiculous and crazy situations but I love her all the more because of it. The best thing about these books are the characters, Stephanie's whole family is brilliant but it's Grandma Mazur who steals the show in this book, she manages to cause even more trouble than Stephanie and that's really saying something. I love the things she comes out with and I could happily quote half the book in this review.

I also love the men in the series, Ranger is still pretty much a complete mystery at this point but I know from later books how brilliant he is and I'm looking forward to unravelling him a bit more. Morelli is fantastic and the chemistry between him and Stephanie is great, they have a very complicated history so she is very wary of trusting him but it's obvious he's more than a little interested and I'm enjoying watching their relationship develop.

I've been wanting to reread these books and catch up with the most recent releases (I think I got to about book 15 in my last read through) for a long time now so I'm glad to be reading the series with a group of friends. At one book a month this is going to be a very long ongoing project but I'm actually enjoying having at least one really funny and light hearted read to look forward to each month and I think having such a relaxed schedule is going to make it much easier to stick to. Roll on January so I can get started on Three to Get Deadly!
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on 14 December 1999
I've just finished this book, and came to amazon.co.uk to see if Janet had written any more in this series. I'm delighted! Three more to go! I carried this and the "One for" books around with me wherever I went, I just couldn't put them down. They had me laughing out loud and fantasing about the enigmatic Morelli (do I need to get out more?). Not great literature, but a damned entertaining read, with some hilarious characters. I'm buying the others in the series to take on holiday with me next week.
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In One for the Money, Stephanie Plum becomes a bounty hunter charged with bringing in Joe Morelli, a cop who is charged with killing an unarmed man. The two had a history, from Joe teaching her choo-choo between her legs when she was six, later on the bakery floor when she was sixteen, and finally when she broke his leg by running over him when he didn't call again and told the whole town about their exploits.
In Two for the Dough (the second book in the series), Stephanie is after Kenny Mancuso, a relative of Morelli's and Morelli is everywhere. Before the book is over, he makes his move. And the results will keep you laughing for days!
In addition to the wacky romance, naturally there's a mystery, lots of bad guys, and great action. Stephanie is still good at finding the missing felon, but like in One for the Money, she can't seem to apprehend him. She's better armed this time, but it doesn't help her with Mancuso.
Her Grandmother Mazur becomes her sidekick, because the search for Mancuso turns out to be connected to mortuaries as 24 caskets turn up missing. Grandmother Mazur hasn't missed a viewing in years, so this is right up her alley. Somehow, these wandering caskets are also connected to Mancuso's shooting of his best friend, and missing munitions from an Army base where Mancuso was stationed. The missing munitions are being used to kill cops all over New Jersey.
Janet Evanovich is able to draw humor from the most unlikely places, such as animal droppings and death. This book has more mortuary humor in it than all other books combined that I have read in my life.
You'll find out what the stylish Jersey girl turned bounty hunter was wearing in 1996, and the best ways to track down a missing felon. In the meantime, you'll have more laughs than in most comedies.
While you're filling your day with chuckles from Trenton's burg, you should think about the possibilities of improving your relationships with those you have known for a long time. A good way to start is by improving the way you communicate with these people. You may find that they change the way they communicate with you, as a result. As you think about that, notice how much of the relationships in the book are less than perfect because people haven't worked on improving them.
Enjoy your improved relationships! If you'd like some ideas, see Relationship Rescue.
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It’s a few months after ONE FOR THE MONEY. Stephanie’s still working as a bounty hunter for her cousin Vinnie and thanks to Ranger, is making fewer mistakes than when she started out. When Vinnie asks her to bring in Kenny Mancuso who’s skipped out on bail after shooting his best friend, Stephanie’s confident that she’s up to the job. But Kenny’s a distant cousin of Joe Morelli and having been assigned to homicide, Morelli’s also keen to bring him in. It’s not long before Stephanie finds herself up to her neck in fugitives, funeral homes and a disturbed stalker with a taste for leaving anatomical items in Stephanie’s apartment …

Janet Evanovich’s crime sequel is another sharply plotted and at times hilarious novel that has numerous plot strands that come together in a satisfactory way at the end. Grandma Mazur is by far my favourite character who steals every scene where she’s in and has all the best lines and I loved the funeral home scenes where she frequently spreads mayhem wherever she goes. I also love the Plum family dinner scenes, which are deft and light and completely believable. Where the book falls down for me is in the romance between Stephanie and Morelli and that’s mainly because Morelli is such an arrogant, double-crossing jerk and the way he tries to ‘protect’ Stephanie at times made my skin crawl. I also dislike the way Stephanie turns into such an idiot around him and while she does have a couple of good moments where she stands up for herself, it’s not enough to take the bad taste away. This is a shame because there’s a lot of fun here (and I was genuinely worried for Stephanie’s hamster at times). There’s enough here to ensure I’ll keep reading on with the series but I think the Morelli/Stephanie romance could rapidly become a deal breaker for me.

I really enjoyed the return of Lula who has a job working admin at Vinnie’s bail bond office as the interaction between her and Stephanie is snappy and great and adds to the fun. It was also good to get a glimpse of Joyce Barnhardt, whose affair with Stephanie’s husband led to the end of her marriage – again the rivalry between Joyce and Stephanie holds a lot of promise for future books and I look forward to seeing how it develops.
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