Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum #2)

Pages: 325
Genre: Adult Fiction, Crime/Mystery
Original Release: 1996
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Second book in the series.

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie's bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso--a suspiciously wealthy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend--the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli--who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch--only makes the hunt more thrilling….

Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Granda Mazur as a decoy,Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move…and his next move might be Stephanie's last.

When I was reading 'One for the Money' I didn't know what to think. It was enjoyable, but because I had already seen the movie and wasn't really a fan of the genre my brain was going into over drive. I was over thinking the time-line, because I was noticing changes in between the two and I wasn't really keen on reliving the same story even though I did like the way it had ended as a film. I knew that 'Two for the Dough' would be an entirely different reading experience before I had even started it and I am glad that I chose that book to read next...

I am usually not drawn to creepy movies or books. It's not just horror that I don't like, but I'm not a fan of the whole crime thing either. I have watched a bit of 'Bones' and 'Castle' on TV and I even enjoyed it for a while, but to be honest I usually prefer something romantic and cheesy or something a bit historical or magical. After reading this book I have no more doubts about reading this genre if it's written by Janet Evanovich. Evanovich has managed to add enough humour, enough family drama, enough small town insider info (ok, so what I like small towns) and enough bickering with the "boys" to make this book lose (most of) its creep factor.

The sequel book always seems to show the character development and the dynamics of some of the relationships in a series. I think the second book is always the one that is most likely to fail in my eyes and it's one of the reasons that I hardly ever get around to finishing a series. I really really liked this one though. It could be because I didn't enjoy the first book as much as I wanted to (because I saw the movie) or maybe this is one of those series, that just continues to get better as it goes on? either way, this was an impressive sequel and on that note, I guess I will probably just continue onto the third book now that I have finished this one.

Stephanie Plum would have to be one of my favourite lead female characters so far. I know that's a pretty high pedestal to put her on, especially since I have only just read the second book. I think Stephanie is crazily brave and even when she does stupid things (hey don't we all) I can't help but to think that at least she tried. Everyone is trying to tell her that she is in the wrong profession and she keeps on going to prove that she can do it.

I think that these books have so far been fairly timeless. It's hard to notice that the characters are living in the nineties until Stephanie mentions the Doc Martens she's wearing. I think that's an important quality in a book, because it means that people might be able to read them years and years from now and still enjoy them without having to ask their parents what a "_____" is. Obviously this is probably a silly thing to note in a review, because it's not like an author can plan for their book to be timeless, but then who reviews a book that was written nearly twenty years ago anyway? oh yeah, that's me...

I really like that Morelli and Stephanie's relationship is not conventional (they mainly argue and try to pretend they are not interested in each other) and that they didn't just jump into an actual "relationship" straight after the first book. I also like that Stephanie can stand up for herself and think it's hilarious to watch her parents try to set her up with people. I don't think "crime" books are meant to make you laugh, but this one did...

Overall, I think this book was the bees knees and I give it 5/5 stars. I couldn't mark it as a favourite because it's still a smidge too creepy for me to want to re-read it straight away. I really like the characters so far and I can't wait to see what happens next (not that there was a cliff hanger or anything; the story actually ended properly, so I could feel content to stop there if I wanted to). I recommend the series to anyone who likes crime shows like 'Castle' or 'Bones'. If you have already watched the movie 'One for the Money' you could probably skip to the second book, there are a few differences between the book and the movie, but I don't think it should matter too much...

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