One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

July 8, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher): ONE FINE MESS Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash-fast-but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family…

ONE FALSE MOVE Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. As does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water-wanted for murder…

ONE FOR THE MONEY Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight-and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man…

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • My first impression of Stephanie Plum is that she’s a great character. She was likable without being overbearing and only semi-competent at her new job — which is much more realistic than the practically infallible protagonists in similar books. It made sense that she wasn’t a super bounty hunter right out of the gate. Instead, she made mistakes and had to get help from lots of people to achieve her ends.
  • I liked that Stephanie was a “regular” person. She wasn’t a stunning beauty, but she wasn’t a complete freak, either (ahem, Lisbeth Salander, I’m looking at you). She was described as being a little overweight, but she didn’t fret over it too much or substitute apidexin for real food. I prefer this kind of character 1,000 times more than the perfect superhero type.
  • There was a good deal of humor in the book, which, since this was my first experience with Evanovich, was unexpected. The humor was genuine and organic, too, without seeming the least bit forced. That just made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.
  • I liked the love-hate relationship Stephanie had with Morelli. All of their encounters were believable. It just felt like those two truly had some history together and were now reconnecting in a complicated way. I hope he shows up again in subsequent books.


  • I found that I wasn’t all that interested in the actual mystery part of the book. I think Evanovich could have done more to get readers invested in who really killed the drug dealers and why. As it was, that whole storyline felt like a secondary thread rather than the main one.
  • Ramirez was so violent and vile that it sometimes took me right out of the book. On the one hand, there were tons of light moments and humor, but then there were these scenes of brutal rapes and other attacks against women. I get that there had to be a villain, but the contrast was still pretty jarring.

Having been disappointed with the last several installments of the Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson, I decided to give the Stephanie Plum series a try. What a smart move on my part! I thought One for the Money was (almost) everything I look for in a beach book, and I’m looking forward to cruising through the rest of the series! I give this one 4 stars out of 5.

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