Seleste Goes Old School: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash—fast—but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family…

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water—wanted for murder…

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight—and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man…

*The following information is from the movie tie-in book as One for the Money no longer seems available in its original form on Amazon.*

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Price: $14.99
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; Media Tie-In edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312600739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312600730
  • Buy One for the Money at Amazon

Okay, I know, I know, I’m very late to the game on the Stephanie Plum series. Thing is, I have this auto-aversion to anything my mom likes to read. Generally speaking our tastes are incredibly different, so when she said she loved this series I avoided it like the plague. Then we saw the previews for the movie (I realize most fans hated it, but I wasn’t a fan so…) and thought it looked cute. We saw it, enjoyed the funny bits enough that I decided to pick up a copy of the book when I found it at the library bookstore. Then it sat on my shelf for a long time gathering dust.

I finally picked it up last month when I found myself in a reading slump. I’d love to say the book killed the slump, but that would be a lie. I liked it okay, but there’s this issue with reading a book that’s almost twenty years old. It’s not old enough where your brain registers it as “historical” (plus, the series is still going, so…), but there are so many things in it that jerked me out of the story because, while true in 1994, they are not the case now. (Car phone? Spandex as a fashion statement?)

Anyway, I plowed ahead with the book because when it was on, I really enjoyed it. The Plum and Morelli dynamic was fantastic, and I can see where Ranger could come in as a contender at some point. It’s hard to say how much I liked the story since I’d already seen it more or less at the movies, but I definitely felt the issue of Ramirez was dealt with much more fully in the book–well enough that I was fairly disturbed both by the prospect and by Plum’s insistence on dealing with it alone. Very creepy.

One thing that really stuck out to me though was what felt like a lot of word count padding in the writing. I mean, I suppose if you’re from that area in Jersey, you might be interested in what route Stephanie took from point A to point B, but otherwise it felt like slogging through the begats in the bible–pointless and boring. And there was a lot of what felt like useless description whereas more important details seemed glossed over. I suppose this might have been an attempt by the author to divert readers from figuring things out too soon, but for me it was really annoying.

Long story short, I didn’t hate the movie and I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t love either one. Maybe if I’d discovered Stephanie Plum in 1994 when I was in college and all dreamy-eyed about the future (or even in 1996 when I was stuck in a job I hated and wondering why I’d ever wanted to “grow up” in the first place) I would have enjoyed it more. At this point though, the disconnect in time and writing styles was too much for me to overcome. Still a solid story though.

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