Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. Neither 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.
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.
I'd heard great things about this series for years, but as usual that was more of a deterrent for me than a selling point. I hate reading books other rave about because I'm worried they won't live up to the hype. However, after years of refusing to touch One For the Money I finally gave in and am ecstatic about the results.
I don't want to ruin it for any prospective readers, but the thing that sealed the deal for me was the first big confrontation scene of the book between Stephanie and a hulking prize fighter type. Until then I'd been kind of puttering along half thinking about lying when people asked me if I'd finished One for the Money. Stephanie was a decent character, but there was no mettle, no fire just a putz jobless woman. Then this guy ties into it with her, and it was like a completely different woman arrived on the scene. Even though she had no training and was scared witless she didn't freeze up or wait for some guy to come charging in from the wings to rescue her (a failure to many other leading ladies to count are guilty of). She used everything she had, went down swinging, saved her panic for later, and got gun training as soon as she had the opportunity.
That was it for me, by the end of that chapter I knew I'd inhale this book and not rest until the rest of the series was within easy reach.
Another big selling point for me was the humor. It was hiding in all of the most unexpected yet perfect places. Such as when she was so desperate she tried hamster food, or the gradual hawking/ trading of all of Stephanie's possessions to pay for for various and sundry things such as a TV and VCR for a Nova.
The relationship dynamics were both hilarious and believable, but my favorite relationship by far was the one between Stephanie and Rex, her hamster. The stumbling step in many books I've read is the pet/ owner dynamic. Most authors can barely pull off a good dog/ person relationship, but Janet Evanovich managed to deliver in spades with a hamster and a wanna be bounty hunter. So well in fact that I started to fear for Rex's health just in case the relationship was being so flawlessly constructed to elicited an emotional response when some psycho killed him off. I kept expecting Stephanie to come home to find a blood soaked cage and Rex's bloody body nailed to the back of the door. Thankfully despite guns being fired in his vicinity he survived book one unscathed.