Two for the Dough

"Two for the Dough" is the second in Janet Evanovich's series about Stephanie Plum, the bounty hunter.

Stephanie was financially desperate after she lost her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store. She didn't know what to do or how to earn money. Then she stumbled onto an opportunity to earn commission chasing individuals who didn't want to be found. Without any experience or training she began working for her cousin Vinnie who ran a bail bond office.

In "Two for the Dough" Stephanie is still not very skilled or competent in her job. She doesn't have the expertise that might be needed and expected from someone who is capturing individuals who have jumped their bail. The work can be very dangerous and she is afraid but continues to accept files because she is motivated by poverty.

Stephanie is given a file for Kenny Mancuso who has shot his best friend. Kenny is a working-class man from New Jersey who is suddenly quite wealthy without any obvious explanation for this. At the same time, Stephanie accepts a private contract. Her maternal grandmother plays a key role in helping her with this.

The manager of a funeral home hires Stephanie to find a large number of caskets that have mysterious disappeared. Stephanie has Grandma Mazur serve as decoy as the two of them go from one funeral home to another pretending, they are there for viewings. They are really trying to gather information that would hopefully help them find the caskets and maybe even Kenny.

Joe Morelli, the vice-cop from Evanovich's first Plum novel is now cleared of his murder charges and becomes competition to Stephanie. He is a distant relative of Kenny and is also eager to capture him as part of his job.

The plot takes several twists and turns as the characters not only live out the mundane aspects of their lives but also incorporate the danger and exciting elements associated with their work.

Stephanie and her grandmother are carrying guns and there is danger that they either won't use them or will use them inappropriately. There is also a very real danger that they will be hurt or even killed by those who don't want them to discover the things that they are trying to hide.

Stephanie's parents are both supportive and stressful elements of her life. Even though they do and say things that irritate her, she does turn to them at times for the things that family provide - food, laundry and a warm bed!

Once again, Evanovich combines humour and crime together in an interesting and unpredictable manner. Her characters are strong, and she is able to capture the attention of the reader beginning on the very first page. As I read, I noticed that my emotions were very near the surface. Sometimes I was laughing and at other times I felt the very real fear that the circumstances of the plot demanded.

The more that I read of Evanovich, the more I want. In fact, since receiving and reading the first three novel set, I have ordered several more. This is quickly becoming one of my very favourite authors!

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