Stephanie Plum lost her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store and this resulted in severe financial problems. She didn't want to move into the Trenton New Jersey home where she had been raised. In fact, it was very stressful for her to even visit there as her parents and maternal grandmother put pressure on her to find a job and get married. But Stephanie found herself going there for meals at times just to survive. During one of these, it was suggested that she go to see her cousin who might have a job for her. She didn't want to do this but was desperate.
Cousin Vinnie's assistant, Connie, informed Stephanie that the filing position had been filled but, if she really wanted to make money, she could always do skip tracing. Part of Vinnie's business involved posting bond for individuals who would sometimes skip their bail He was willing to pay ten percent of the amount that he had put up to his contracted workers when they found the missing individual and turned him into the police.
Stephanie didn't know anything about this work or the danger involved with it but was attracted by the fact that her first case was for $100,000.00 and she would have $10,000.00 once she turned Joe Morrelli in, as long as she did it within a week. Joe had sexually taken advantage of Stephanie twice in the past and now, even though he was a member of the police force, had been charged with murder.
Stephanie would likely not have been interested in doing this dangerous work if it hadn't been that she needed the money. Her family didn't think she should be involved in what they called "bounty hunting". Stephanie corrected them stating that she was a "recovery agent".
Throughout the book, Stephanie makes one mistake after another as she tries to capture Morelli. She runs into him but never is able to hold onto him. In fact, he makes fun of her and it doesn't seem as though she is going to ever be able to claim her commission. However, poverty motivated Stephanie.
Little did she realize the danger that she would be in or realize that she would be a target for violence. When she crossed a prizefighter named Berito Ramirez, she began to realize it though. He not only left threatening messages on her message machine but also beat up and tied a woman who Stephanie knew to her balcony.
Stephanie decided that she needed help so contacted another recovery agent named Ranger and asked him to help her develop expertise in her new career. He provided expertise as well as support to her. Surprisingly, the relationship between Stephanie and Morelli also began to change throughout the plot. Even though their past fueled present resentment, they both seemed to have an attraction for each other.
Janet Evanovich writes in a captivating manner that incorporates humour. Her characters have strong personalities that are easily relatable. I really enjoyed this book.