Back for round three, and just as good.
This time the friendly and beloved neighborhood candy store owner, affectionately known as “Uncle Mo”, has failed to appear at his court date. He was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, which apparently is so common in the area that it is a law most everybody ignores. And the people in the neighborhood are not about to help Stephanie bring in Uncle Mo in any way, shape, or form. -This rings true to real life. Some people are so loved by the local masses, that they are forgiven everything. And the locals are frustrating, yet funny in their attempts to preserve Uncle Mo’s freedom.
Stephanie keeps coming across dead bodies, one right after another. It becomes a running joke amongst the cops in town that if there’s a discarded body lying around somewhere, Stephanie will find it. -It’s creepy. It’s like she’s got some sort of dead body radar. If it hadn’t have become a running joke, it would have been annoyingly overdone. As it was, by the end I was rolling my eyes when she discovered yet another one.
It just so happens that the previous owners of those dead bodies all seem to have crime in common. It begins to look like Uncle Mo might be part of a vigilante group who are out to rid the area of drug dealers by taking matters into their own hands. This idea just seems to endear Uncle Mo to the citizens even more. -When this twist came into view, I started to cheer for Mo myself, but that feeling quickly passed. There’s something more sinister afoot. Thank goodness, because this kept my attention grounded in the mystery between my eyerolls concerning the number of dead bodies there were.
Grandma Mazur, while still as feisty as ever, plays a much smaller role this time around. Enter Lula, an overweight ex hooker turned file clerk in Stephanie’s cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds office. She talks all the talk of wanting to be a bounty hunter, but doesn’t quite walk the walk. -But instead of the reader feeling frustrated with the character of Lula, this reader found her hilarious and likeable. I didn’t see the incorporation of this character coming, yet she fits in beautifully.
Morelli has backed off hanging with Stephanie nearly altogether. Stephanie is bothered by this revelation. She doesn’t want a relationship with Morelli… or does she? She finds herself getting jealous when she suspects that Morelli has a girlfriend, and it bothers her that she’s jealous. Stephanie doesn’t know what she wants, but she knows she doesn’t want Morelli involved with somebody else. -Ah, yes, the personal love-life crises.
Ranger is still in the picture as a mentor. Stephanie turns to him for help when she decides that she needs to get her bounty hunter act together and get in shape. -This is funny. We get to see a whole new side of Ranger, and he’s a health-nut. But there’s something so… hot about him, I can forgive his lack of an ability to eat a doughnut.
You can feel Evanovich begin to really settle into the series. She’s getting to know certain characters on a deeper level, she’s unraveling Stephanie’s personal life a bit, and Stephanie’s quirks are beginning to show themselves more.
This was another fun romp with Stephanie Plum. Twists and turns and hilarity and dead drug dealers. She doesn’t walk through everything completely unscathed in this one, but Stephanie is tougher than she looks and doesn’t back down until the mystery is solved. She’s full of Jersey attitude. An enjoyable read!
Four out of five pairs of handcuffs.