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Hard Eight (Stephanie Plum, No. 8): A Stephanie Plum Novel
 
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Hard Eight (Stephanie Plum, No. 8): A Stephanie Plum Novel [Kindle Edition]

Janet Evanovich
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (322 customer reviews)

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In Hard Eight, Stephanie Plum picks up a case a little nastier than anything the wisecracking bounty hunter's seen before. Evelyn Soder and her young daughter have gone on the run, leaving an angry ex-husband who's planning to collect on a child custody bond that will leave Evelyn's grandmother homeless. Stephanie's first clue that there's more to it than that comes in the form of Eddie Abruzzi, a shady local businessman who warns her to butt out of the case. Stephanie doesn't scare easily, but when Abruzzi's henchmen leave a bag of snakes on her doorknob and tarantulas in her car, she has no choice but to call Ranger, the hunky man of mystery whom she already owes too many favors. Steph knows that Ranger will soon be calling in his marker, but with her ex- fiancé Joe Morelli out of the picture, that should be OK--shouldn't it? In the meantime, she's got other fugitives to catch, aided by the usual band of misfits, plus a bumbling correspondence-school lawyer who's developed the hots for Stephanie's sister, Valerie. And Steph's in for a surprise from her mother, who proves she's not above wielding a dangerous weapon to save her daughter's life.

Author Janet Evanovich has made a bold move in using a soupçon of child jeopardy to pull this series out of the comfortable but formulaic pattern it was threatening to fall into. It's still funny, and yes, some cars are destroyed, but now there's a real edge of darkness under the humor. Fans needn't fear, though: Jersey girl Stephanie is still full of sass and Tastykakes. --Barrie Trinkle

From Publishers Weekly

The menace is more personal for Trenton's favorite bounty hunter and the energy more manic in this latest outing than in last year's Seven Up. As a favor to her mother's next-door neighbor, Mabel Markowitz, Stephanie agrees to check up on the lady's granddaughter, Evelyn Soder, who has suddenly taken off with her little girl, Annie, leaving behind a child custody bond against Mabel's house. The son-in-law is a bad guy who lost his bar to Eddie Abruzzi, a very nasty character who owns evelyn's building. Soon someone in a bunny suit is trailing Stephanie, her car is blown up, her apartment infiltrated and a dead body appears on her couch. She calls in her associate, Ranger, the gorgeous and mysterious Cuban bond agent, while her sometime boyfriend, Morelli the cop, also gets on the case - a real doozy for which she's not getting paid. On the home front, ever-raunchy Grandma Mazur is eager to assist. Sister Valerie and kids have moved back in as well, so there's nowhere but the couch for Stephanie and one bathroom for all. Valerie is inexplicably attracted to Evelyn's goofy lawyer, who's been tagging along with Stephanie and the ever-outrageous file clerk and ex-hooker Lula, further complicating this twisted case. Life in the Burg takes on a sinister turn with serious results. Evanovich does it again, delivering an even more suspenseful and more outrageous turn with the unstoppable Stephanie, heroine of all those who have to live on peanut butter until the next check comes through. Waiting for nine will be tough.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Anyone starting the Stephanie Plum series with HARD EIGHT is sure to get hooked. It's Stephanie at her wackiest.
Plum is a disaster-prone bounty hunter working for her cousin Vinnie, a bail bondsman in Trenton, NJ. In this novel, Stephanie volunteers to help out her parents' next door neighbor, Mabel, who's put up her home to guarantee a child custody bond taken out on her granddaughter, Evelyn, who had one imposed on her by the judge in a recent divorce ruling. Now, Evelyn has skipped town with her daughter, Annie, and Mabel will be tossed into the street if the missing child isn't found. But, as becomes evident in all of Stephanie's adventures, there's more to the story than is obvious. Especially after the corpse of Evelyn's aggrieved husband, Steven, is left on the couch of Plum's apartment. Steven had been sawed in half.
The imagination of author Janet Evanovich worked overtime in making HARD EIGHT perhaps one of the craziest to date. It's a nice touch that Stephanie faces off against a virtual menagerie. And she's finally beginning to take her .38, usually kept unloaded in a cookie jar, seriously. And her unfortunate association with fire-bombed vehicles reaches a record high. Notwithstanding these plot devices, however, books one to eight in the series are basically interchangeable. (I'm struggling, perhaps unsuccessfully, to keep from writing the same review over and over.)
Evanovich needs to mature her heroine, who seems to have a slow learning curve. I suggest that Plum finally marry, or at least permanently set up house, with Detective Joe Morelli. It might not be a relationship made in heaven, but it would supply grist for any number of new episodes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Worth the Read May 22 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Like all of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels, this book is well worth the read. It's light reading, to be sure, but not without value...Stephanie is a memorable, real character with imperfections and insecurities that anyone can relate to as well as her own special variety of charm and courage. I just can't get enough of her zany adventures and the countless colorful individuals that inhabit her world. Laugh-out-loud funny, and with just the right amount of intrigue to keep your guessing. Ranger is a character that continues to draw me into the series, and all the other old favorites are a pleasure as always. I love classic literature, from "Jane Eyre" to Shakespeare, and I often scoff at the "popular" literature and "beach reads" I see topping the best-sellers chart. But from a discriminating fan of the written world, I give a round of applause to Evanovich for her fine writing...it might not go down in history, but it has a definite merit and I am grateful to her for keeping me consistently entertained. Don't miss this series...virtually guaranteed to please and amuse!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Resist Sept. 16 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The 8th book in the Stephanie Plum series is pretty much as good as the other 7. It's another page turning, action-packed, well plotted, well written novel. Most of the usual beloved characters are here as well as a new one - attorney Kloughn (Clown) - who I'd like to see remain as a regular. Stephanie's main task in this book is to find a missing woman and her daughter, as she is stalked by a relentless mobster. The problem I have with this book is that some of the situations are not believable. The author does not give Stephanie a really good reason to keep seeking the woman after the mobster keeps trying to kill her. The reader has to ask themselves, 'Why is she continuing with this??' I think Ms. Evanovich went a little too far stretching our imaginations in this book in several situations, to the point where she brings us out of the novel back into reality, darn it. On the other hand, things heat up between Stephanie and Ranger. That, and the general good read the book provides, as all of the "Plum" books thus far, makes this a must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hmm... Aug. 27 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I guess this novel deserves a 4.5 instead of 5, but I love the series too much. I think the thing is, with this series, if a person doesn't laugh enough for any of the later books (say, 7 or 8), they will give a lower rating. I know it's hard for Janet Evanovich to keep up with the hilarity level of each of her Stephanie Plum novels, so, even if I didn't laugh after every two pages of this novel, I gave this novel a five.
I think I speak for a few people when I say that the tendency for repeating all the facts about Morelli and Steph's past, Vinnie/Lula/Connie and their own weird characteristics, and Grandma Mazur's reason for living with Steph's parents are getting annoying. I'm willing to ignore those little bits because I understand that readers may be reading the series for the first time, and they need the explanations to understand what's up.
I can see how some may think this novel is a teensy bit darker than the others. I guess it got a little serious with Eddie Abruzzi and his stalker antics. However, the added seriousness of this particular novel doesn't diminish the fact that this novel is still great.
'Hard Eight' is fast-paced, and things move along a little faster than it usually does in the other Plum novels. How it ended was a little abrupt, but, while others may disagree, what Ranger did made me like him even more (Yeah--weird, I know).
My only complaint is just that things are getting a little repetative. We know what'll eventually happen to Steph's cars; we know about Grandma's viewings at the funeral; we're not as surprised anymore with Lula's actions. I don't mind this as much as other readers might, because I still haven't gotten sick of any of the novels yet. Sure, I may like some books more than others, but it doesn't mean I'll stop reading the series.
Anyways, I heard 'To the Nines' is a little different than what we're used to, so I'm looking forward to reading about another one of Stephanie's adventures.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Worst of the series
So I have now finished the book and it ended better than I thought it was going to. It was the worst book so far in the series and it took everything I had to keep from just... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining yet predictable
Even knowing how most of the characters would react, knowing that Stephanie would fantasize over Ranger and Morelli, knowing that her car would be destroyed and that Grandma Mazur... Read more
Published on July 6 2004 by Avid Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars are you KIDDING??
I don't know who is writing these reviews, but you've got to be kidding me. This was one of the most trite books I've ever read. It was like every cop/action movie, but worse. Read more
Published on June 8 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Good listen for working out
Stephanie Plum novels are terrific to listen to while working out. A walk or a run goes by more quickly while listening to these light and funny mysteries. Read more
Published on May 23 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Just started
This is the first of Janet Evanovich's novels I've read and I can say so far the style and content is superior to Crusie's in "Fast Women. Read more
Published on April 9 2004 by avid reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Can Cars Blowing Up Get Old?
The answer to the question is "yes", because that is how I felt with this book. In it Stephanie has two more vehicles that get blown up plus Ranger's. Read more
Published on April 7 2004 by S. Schwartz
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost it!
I have read 1 thru 7. Thats enough! Its not funny anymore, the plot is weak and this adult woman can't seem to make up her mind whether she is in love or not and with whom. Read more
Published on Jan. 2 2004 by Dick Stemp
2.0 out of 5 stars don't bother
I have to agree with the Fort Worth reader. The story has some funny moments, but this is just another romance novel, complete with insipid heroine in need of being rescued, then... Read more
Published on Dec 22 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A break from the hum-drum routine
The eighth in the Stephanie Plum series, HARD EIGHT, has the bounty hunter searching for a missing mother and child. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2003 by Beverly J. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Stephanie Plum Novel yet!
I have read the first 7 Stephanie Plum novels and liked them all. This one I liked the best. I laughed out loud many times throughout the book. Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2003 by Anne Melvin
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