1997; 344 pages. Book 3 (out of 22) of the Stephanie Plum series. New Author? : No, but it’s been a while. Genre : Crime-Humor; Beach Novel. Overall Rating : 8*/10.
Eeny meeny miny … oops … where’s Mo disappeared to?
Moses “Uncle Mo” Bedemier is a popular figure in the burg. He’s been operating a candy store for decades, and so is a favorite among the kids in town, both present ones and those who have since moved on to adulthood. But he was recently found carrying an unregistered firearm after a routine traffic stop, arrested, and Stephanie Plum’s employer, Cousin Vinnie, posted the bail money.
Now Uncle Mo’s skipped his court appearance, and Vinnie’s in danger of losing the money he put up. So it’s up to bounty hunter Stephanie to find Mo and bring him in.
But when you’re looking for a neighborhood icon, you sometimes find that the locals view you as the bad guy, not Uncle Mo. So lotsa luck finding him, Steph. Don’t expect the townsfolk to help you.
What’s To Like...
Three To Get Deadly is my third Stephanie Plum book, but I read the first two way back in 2009, and they are reviewed here and here. So I appreciated muchly Janet Evanovich working the backstory into the first few percent of the e-book. Stephanie is still learning the tricks of the trade, mostly from Ranger. And she’s mentoring her new protégée, Lula. Joe Morelli’s back, keeping Steph hot and breathless, and so is Grandma Mazur, albeit in a lesser role.
There’s a nice balance between wit and mystery-solving. I thought for a while that the latter was being ignored. But it turns out the clues were there; but both Stephanie and I were just too dense to see them. There’s a red herring or two to keep you on your toes, and a new (at least for me) acronym to learn: “FTA” (“Failure To Appear”).
This is a quasi-cozy mystery. Stephanie keeps coming across a bunch of bodies, but I don’t recall any of them dying onstage. There’s a bunch of cussing, a few “adult themes”, and at least one steamy bit of petting, but it’s all somehow tastefully done.
The writing style is heavy on dialogues, and I think that keeps the reader’s interest. The setting is Trenton, New Jersey; when’s the last time you read a book set there? And beneath all the wit, Evanovich explores a serious topic and a dark one. I’ve listed them in the comments to the post, for the sake of avoiding spoilers.
The ending is good, with Mo’s disappearance satisfactorily resolved. This is a standalone novel, as well as part of a series.
Kewlest New Word (Phrase, actually). . .
Damn Skippy (interjection) : not just yes, but hell yes.
Others : Cachet (n.)
“First off,” Connie said, “Bruce Wayne is Batman, and Batman isn’t actually a superhero. Batman’s just some neurotic guy in a rubber suit. You have to get nuked or come from another planet to be a real superhero.”
“Batman’s got his own comic book,” Lula said.
Connie wasn’t impressed with this logic. “Donald Duck has his own comic book. You think Donald Duck is a superhero?” (loc. 3210 )
I woke up feeling guilty about the junk food binge, so for penance I cleaned the hamster cage, rearranged the jars in the refrigerator and scrubbed the toilet. I looked for ironing, but there was none. When something needs to be ironed I put it in the ironing basket. If a year goes by and the item is still in the basket I throw the item away. This is a good system since eventually I end up only with clothes that don’t need ironing. (loc. 3572)
Three To Get Deadly is presently going for $1.99 at Amazon right now, which is a fantastic price for a book from a top-tier author. There are 22 books in this series (soon to be 23), and they range in price from $1.99 (for #2 and #3) to $13.99 for their Kindle versions. Janet Evanovich has several other series going, none of which I’ve read.
“I come in like the fog on little cat feet. (loc. 341)
I can’t really think of anything to quibble about in Three To Get Deadly. The pace is good, the characters are all fun to meet, the wit and humor is there from start to finish, and all the R-rated stuff seems to fit in well with the tone of the book.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get back to reading this series. In rereading my reviews of books #1 ad #2, it’s obvious I liked them. Perhaps I was worried that all the storylines would start sounding the same, and who knows, perhaps they will. But for now, I can say I’ve enjoyed all three Stephanie Plum books I’ve read thus far. I’ll probably pick up a couple more in the near future, although it’s questionable whether or not I’ll continue to read them in order.
8 Stars. There’s a reason why Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books make the New York Times Best Sellers list time after time.