So, I’m sitting here watching storm after storm roll by. Normally, this would be a great thing. I love storms of all varieties: thunder, lightning, rain and even snow. But as the dreariest, gloomiest, coolest April in my memory drizzles to a close, I feel like I’ve had my fill of storms for a while.
After I wrapped up what I figured I could handle of work for the day and returned victorious from a treasure hunt for an 8th grade LA/Lit project (“MoOoom,” the 8th grade girl whines. “I like need this by tomorrow”), I plopped down to watch the rain and read.
I am currently addicted to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum detective/bounty hunter series. These are light, fast reads that revolve around a young 30-something bumbling bounty hunter from New Jersey, who is accompanied through life by a cast of characters, in the truest sense of the word character.
Several years ago, former Bantam romance writer Evanovich got bored with describing sex positions (I guess it could happen) and created this rollicking detective series with amazingly well-developed characters, some hot sexy moments, and non-stop movement. When you are tired at night, the kids have hijacked the TV and you’ve had it with Facebook, these are the books to pick up. Start with “One for the Money” and work your way up to “Sizzlin’ Sixteen” (number 17 is due out this summer). Yes, you need to just get past the doofy numeric names–at least the numbers help you remember what book to purchase next.
Alongside the hapless Stephanie, there’s her sidekick Lula, a size-16 squeezed into a size-10, “Rubenesque” former ‘ho, and their boss Vinnie, Stephanie’s cousin and bail bondsman, who is known for once having had an affair with a duck. Stephanie lives on her own with her pet hamster Rex but regularly mooches meals at her folks’ house, where the good Italian Catholic family consists of Mom, who irons when angry, Dad, a retired postal worker who drives a taxi part-time to escape from home, and Grandma Mazur, 70-something going on 21. Sometimes they are joined by angelic sister Valerie and her two young daughters, one of whom thinks she is a horse.
For romantic leads, Stephanie is torn between two men: Morelli, the hot Italian cop and on/off boyfriend, and sexy Ranger, a fellow bounty hunter (but successful) and Cuban mystery man. Morelli comes complete with a crazy Italian grandma, feared throughout Trenton for her “evil eye” and visions and Bob, the dumb but lovable sorta Golden Retriever. The Ranger package involves employees of his security firm, nicknamed the Merry Men, bearing such names as Tank, and trying, like Morelli and Ranger, to swoop in and keep Stephanie out of harm’s way (easier said than done).
Recurring characters include Sweet Sally, a musician who found his most successful gig as a cross-dressing singer and drives a school bus during the weekdays with an ouzi under his seat (“gotta protect the little dudes”), and a variety of FTAs (failed to appear) who Stephanie tracks down.
The series carries suspense (sometimes more along the lines of “Will she choose Morelli over Ranger?”) but not horror. I do not like, nor do I read, graphic, bloody detective novels or horror stories. Basically, these funny, fast, sexy little books get your mind off life, give you a chance to relax and laugh and recharge for another day.