Stephanie Plum is in deep doo-doo. She’s been out of her job as a discount lingerie buyer for six months, she’s sold off most of her appliances to pay the rent, and her cute little Miata has just been repossessed. When she finally breaks down and tells her parents that she’s trying to find work, her father points her toward a cousin who runs a bail-bond business. It was expected she’d be a file clerk, but since that position has just been filled, Stephanie manages to finagle a job — on a week-long trial basis — as a “recovery agent.” The lure of $10,000 for bringing in a murder suspect is just too irresistible for Stephanie to pass up, even though she knows nothing about being a bounty hunter.
It turns out that the suspect worth that ten grand is the sweet-talking neighbor from her childhood who deflowered her in the bakery where she worked as a teen. Suddenly, the case is much more personal. It continues that way when she runs into Joe Morelli several times in the course of trying to bring him in — and he manages to embarrass and tease her (and sometimes confuse her a little in the kissing department) all while slipping away from her grasp. Trying to prove that she can be equal to the task makes Stephanie get serious — that, and the threat of rape by a twisted prize fighter whom she meets while trying to track down Morelli.
One for the Money is definitely an entertaining book; it’s easy to see why the now very long series is so popular. Stephanie Plum is a funny, plucky character who is in way over her head but sticks to her guns anyway, initially out of desperation but then out of her natural persistence. She’s a bit stereotypical New Jerseyan: equal parts tough and tender, becoming streetwise as time goes on. The dialogue is great and the characters vividly memorable. The only drawback is that it’s a bit rough. This is no clean read.
Rated: High, for lots and lots of language. There were at least two dozen occurrences of strong language in the book, along with plenty more uses of moderate language and taking the Lord’s name in vain. There were more than a few pretty crude sexual references, and the talk about the one character who likes to rape and severely abuse women was frequent and disturbing, although not necessarily overly detailed.