One for the Money

Stephanie Plum is in a fix.  She lost her job, had her car repossessed and was running out of furniture to hock.  When she hears her low-life cousin Vinnie is looking for someone to do filing at his bail bond company, she goes to see him but since the position already got filled, persuades Vinnie to let her try her hand at bounty hunting.  Setting her sights on bringing in Joe Morelli – a cop accused of murder who went on the run, if she can catch him, she could earn herself enough to stave off the debt collecters.  Morelli though, isn’t that eager to be found.

I’d not come across Janet Evanovich before and found a couple of the later books in the Stephanie Plum series in a charity shop.  I bought them, putting them aside until I could get the previous ones.  My friend Jody said they were very good so I kept an eye out and finally got started on this series.

I love the character of Stephanie Plum.  She starts out bounty hunting with no skills other than being gutsy and in need of money.  She isn’t a superhero or a kick ass martial arts expert, just an ordinary girl trying to make a living.  She’s real, makes mistakes, has a knack for getting herself into trouble but manages to come through in the end.  She has history with Joe Morelli and their interactions are very amusing and often very sweet.  Her family are also hilarious, especially her grandma who is larger than life.  I was entertained throughout and the pace of the book worked very well and by the time I was finished, I definitely wanted more.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Janet Evanovich
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Storm Front

It’s been a long time since I read and subsequently reviewed a book. That’s mainly because it’s been a long time since I read (or at least, finished) a book. I asked Grete specifically for something that was easy to read and entertaining, and she had no problem recommending the Jim Butcher books, of which Storm Front is the first.

The first thing that struck me about the book is the similarity to the Dirk Gently stuff by Douglas Adams. This isn’t a bad thing, I loved the Dirk Gently books and the Dresden Files (the name of the series for which Storm Front is the first one) felt comfortable almost from the first chapter.

Jim’s writing is clean, tidy and easy to read. The books are detective novels in the classic style with the current popular added theme of the supernatural / magical / mythical world playing a great role. Our hero is Harry Dresden, the only wizard in the phone book. The first person style makes it very easy to get into Harry’s head early and within a few pages we’re already empathising with him and feeling his pain. The pace is good, carrying us through the introduction of the world (modern America) and the principal characters, and into the story all in a fairly short time. We meet pretty archetypical police staff, paranormal magazine reporters, bad guys and people who need the services of magical private investigators.

The story arc is pretty simple, I can’t decide if I was pleased or upset at the lack of major twists. I certainly felt that there was going to be a huge twist at the end, and it never arrived. Having said that I don’t think the story suffered for it, it was unpretentious, and delivered exactly what it set out to do at the start. There was plenty of action, humour and good character interaction. In any first person style work, you spend a lot of time in the head of the main protagonist and so you have to feel something for them, otherwise the story just isn’t going to be worth reading. Harry Dresden is interesting, witty and worth spending time with, so it was no chore to listen to his thoughts and follow the story through his eyes.

It was a fun book, worth reading, and although I don’t think it made me laugh as hard as it could have done, it certainly kept me interested all the way through, and it’s a long while since I actually finished a book as quickly as this one. Worth getting, worth reading, and easily worth the price.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Jim Butcher
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Fractured

Abigail Campano arrived home earlier than usual and finding a car in her driveway, she expected to see her daughter and her best friend cutting school again. What greeted her instead was horrific – her daughter’s beaten and bloody body and her killer hovering over the still form, bloody knife in hand. Will Trent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assigned the case, his boss breathing heavily down his neck, he has to work with a none-to-friendly Atlanta Police Department to try and solve this high profile case involving one of Atlanta’s wealthiest families. He also has to work with a partner from APD, Faith Mitchell who has more cause than most to hold a grudge against him. They have to put their shared history aside and work together to save the life of a teenager and after mistakes were made early on in the investigation, time is running out.

I didn’t realise until a little way into the book that I had met Will Trent before. He first appeared in Triptych which I had enjoyed, so it was nice seeing him again. I could have used a clue on the cover tho, I have a terrible memory and find it very handy to have related books listed. That aside, there was much to enjoy about Fractured. It was very easy to read, the story flowed really well, and I was caught out a couple of times as to where the plot was headed which is always nice. I liked the main characters of Will Trent and Faith Mitchell, Karin Slaughter always manages to create believeable, likeable and interesting people as her ‘heroes’ and she often makes you feel sorry for the ‘baddies’ up to a point, along with hating them for what they’ve done. She doesn’t use an excess of gore and is almost matter of fact about it, which I really like. It’s there, it’s an inevitable part of the plot event but it can be way overdone for the sake of it.

I was up until 2am finishing it as I couldn’t put it down and that for me is a sign of a good book.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karin Slaughter
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)