A-Z Wednesday Challenge; I knew immediately what book I would choose. One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich, is the first in a series of books about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum -- this series is an absolute favourite of mine.
I don't even remember who recommended these books to me, but after I read this first one, One for the Money, the captain and I began a quest, visiting numerous second-hand book stores until I was up to date. This book has suspense, it has romance, it has laugh-out-loud moments; heck, that describes the entire series. The characters are quirky and you'll fall for all of them.
You should be able to find plenty of copies of this series at your local library as well as bookstores, but I do recommend you read them in order. There is definite character development as you move through the series and new characters are introduced along the way; some story lines also develop in one book and then continue on. If you don't read in order, I fear you'll be a bit out of the loop.
From Janet Evanovich's web site, here is her description of One for the Money:
Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie's opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey.
She's a product of the "burg," a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six.
Now Stephanie's all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad's, doing her best to sever the world's longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case.
Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, fearless bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook.
Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one. Morelli is also the irresistible macho pig who took Stephanie's virginity at age sixteen and then wrote the details on the bathroom wall of Mario's Sub Shop. There's still powerful chemistry between these two, so the chase should be interesting.
It could also be extremely dangerous, especially when Stephanie encounters a heavyweight title contender who likes to play rough. Benito Ramirez is known for his brutality to women. At the very least, his obsession with Stephanie complicates her manhunt and brings terror and uncertainty into her life. At the worst, it could lead to murder.
One last thing. Two years ago, the captain and I were cruising for our anniversary and one of our dinner companions was a retired teacher from New Jersey. She asked me if I'd read these books and when I told her I was a fan, she told me how much she also loved this series and also that Evanovich has the New Jersey neighbourhoods absolutely nailed, that she felt "at home" when she read the books. She said Evanovich's descriptions of both the Trenton area and the local people were bang-on. One day, I want to check out the area for myself!