Author: Janet Evanovich, 1994.
Genre: Chick Lit Crime Fiction. Comedy-Drama. Romance.
Other Details: Unabridged Audiobook; 8 hrs, 32 mins read by C. J. Critt.
The first in this popular series set in Trenton, New Jersey introduces Stephanie Plum, a 30 year old laid-off lingerie buyer. Her car is being repossessed and she is forced to sell off her appliances to pay the bills. Hearing that her Cousin Vinnie, who runs a bail bond business, needs a filing clerk she pays a visit. However, the position has already been filled but Vinnie is looking for a replacement apprehension agent (aka bounty hunter). With no experience she is hardly an ideal candidate and Vinnie refuses to hire her. Stephanie has some embarrassing info about his sexual misadventures and threatens to tell his wife. As a result he reluctantly gives her the job.
Full of enthusiasm and in need of cash she takes on his most lucrative case, tracking down Joseph Morelli, a former vice cop accused of gunning down an unarmed man. He also had been the local bad boy who had charmed her into losing her virginity behind the counter of her after school job. Three years later she'd taken the opportunity to run him over with her father's Buick breaking his leg. So they have a turbulent history. In the course of tracking Morelli, she attracts the attention of a violent heavyweight boxer and also gains a mentor in Ranger, an experienced bounty hunter willing to pass on his tricks of the trade.
This was a quick fun listen, with Stephanie Plum as narrator coming over as smart and sassy with a wry sense of humour and a good heart. I liked her from the opening chapter, which is always a good sign. In addition there is a colourful supporting cast and a strong storyline, with a mixture of light and dark elements. I certainly am considering reading more in the series for light relief.
I was a bit surprised that this was selected for one of my reading groups as it seems a little light weight and I can't really imagine there will be much to discuss when we meet up in a couple of weeks time. If nothing else though it might provide an opening to discuss different approaches to crime fiction or how some writers manage to balance this lighter type of fiction with romantic and comedic interludes alongside murder and violence.