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Hard Eight: A Stephanie Plum Novel    by Janet Evanovich order for
Hard Eight
by Janet Evanovich
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Janet Evanovich is an author after my own heart. She writes a funny, fast-paced, daring, tongue-in-cheek series about Stephanie Plum, who finds and apprehends bail jumpers - in essence she's a bounty hunter. Somehow, this heroine manages to bring in her man but tends to pay a price in bruises and ruined clothes. In this epic, cars blow up with great regularity and Plum finds herself in outrageous situations that really push the envelope.

Evanovich's characters are wonderful, in particular Grandmother Mazur, a true gem who seems to grow younger as she adds on years. Her appetite for men has also picked up, although at times she is bewildered about current sexual mores. And Stephanie has two men in her life. Ranger is the perfect specimen who appears to want her only physically, and says he will ruin her for any other man. Morelli is ready for the long haul - marriage, kids and a house with white picket fence. What's a girl to do?

Stephanie Plum lives life on the edge, despite a lingering hope that picking up bail jumpers would be an every day job . How hard can it be? Right? Well ... one bail jumper keeps falling over on her (and he's a big one) and another refuses to be taken in, even though handcuffed. In Hard Eight, Plum is asked by her mother's neighbor to find her missing daughter and granddaughter. This results in a brush with the mob. Well, more than a brush - out and out warfare. I envy the author the fun she must be having writing this imaginative series.

I won't tell any more of the plot. Believe me, it's a good one. The story races along with such humor that I found myself laughing out loud. I was on a plane recently and the flight attendant asked me what I was reading. Turns out she was on the second book of the series and her mother was on the fifth. We agreed that Evanovich has us hooked. I'm looking forward to the next Stephanie Plum adventure.

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