Monday, March 4, 2013

Review: Three to Get Deadly

Three to Get Deadly, by Janet Evanovich
Format: hardback
5 stars

After reading two books and listening to another, as well as seeing the movie version of One For the Money, it is official. I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. It is a series that is clever, exciting, and extremely funny. And Three to Get Deadly is the best so far, which is why I rushed to the library the day after I finished it to pick up the next book in the series.

In this book, obviously the third in the series (I love that I don't have to consult a list to figure out which book comes next!), Stephanie is sent out to find another fta, or Failure to Appear in bond-recovery agent speak. This time, she is going after one of the most beloved members of the burg, a candy store owner affectionately known as Uncle Mo. Since he is so well known and loved, as soon as the news hits the grapevine, Stephanie finds herself being scolded and even cursed by everyone from former teachers to her own mother. As she searches for Uncle Mo, she discovers that this supposed saint actually has a darker side and a few masked supporters who are determined to frighten Stephanie off the case. While investigating Uncle Mo Stephanie also gets a secondary, "easy" pickup to work on which leads to the mall and a chicken restaurant. I was almost rolling on the floor with laughter when I read her encounter with the chicken character. I won't say anything more about that, but it did lead to plenty of jokes from her friends.

I think the magic of this series comes not just from Evanovich's sense of humor, but also from her ability to create intensely likeable characters. There is Stephanie, of course, but the secondary characters add even more flavor. We get to see a little of Stephanie's nagging mother and a few glimpses of Grandma Mazur (this caused some of my only disappointment with the novel - I loved her character in Two for the Dough). Of course, there is more of Ranger and Joe Morelli to sigh over. And while Grandma Mazur was sort of a scene stealing side-kick in the last book, in this one we have Lula, the ex-hooker who now works in Vinnie's office as a file clerk. I do have to admit, however, that the bad guys in this book weren't as well written as the ones in the previous novels, but I still think that this one is my favorite so far.

I think my love of this series comes from the fact that it is just so satisfyingly readable. You're not going to get non-stop, heart -racing action, terrifying psychos, or a lot of technological and scientific forensic mumbo-jumbo. Don't get me wrong, I do like those elements sometimes, but they're not necessary for a book to be good. And while this series is sexy, it is more of a real-world, humorous sort of sexiness. I guess it goes back to the series being more character driven than scene or action driven. You also probably won't get any really intense emotions from these books like sadness and fear. Yes, some scenes are a little scary, but it is always tempered with humor. These books just have an appealing way of making you feel good that continues to earn them high ratings with me.

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