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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"[A] must read...readers will want to finish this delightful work in one sitting."--Midwest Book Review
"Offers the best action yet."-Newark Star-Ledger
"The girl mercenary is as fresh as ever." -People
"Hard Eight is most emphatically not Raymond Chandler but, like his work, a piece of finely crafted prose." -San Francisco Chronicle
"Plum is one of fiction's most irresistible heroines."-Seattle Post Intelligencer
"Evanovich has certainly come a long way since One for the Money; her latest Stephanie Plum mystery merits a one-day national laydown on June 18."--Library Journal
"Well plotted and cleverly resolved...her wickedly funny characterizations and the intriguing love triangle are what keep her readers coming back for more."-Bookpage
"As close to summer escapism as you can get. Evanovich hits a high note with her newest...a great addition to a well-stocked beach bag."-Houston Chronicle
"A perfect summer vacation book...promises fun, laughter, and unforgettable characters...Evanovich delivers."-Tennessean (Nashville, TN)
"Thrills mixed with lust, seasoned with humor: a delightful escape."-News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
"Evanovich produces more than "beach reading". She writes rollicking, raunchy, hysterical fiction that is so real, you will laugh out loud and want to visit the Burg."-Rockwall County News
"Just when you think the adventures of Plum and company can't get any funnier or more convoluted, Janet Evanovich proves you wrong-nobody does it better!" -Romantic Times
From the Inside Flap
“Keeps up Evanovich’s standards for over-the-top situations” -Chicago Tribune
“[A] must read...readers will want to finish this delightful work in one sitting.”--Midwest Book Review
“Offers the best action yet.”-Newark Star-Ledger
“The girl mercenary is as fresh as ever.” -People
“Hard Eight is most emphatically not Raymond Chandler but, like his work, a piece of finely crafted prose.” -San Francisco Chronicle
“Plum is one of fiction’s most irresistible heroines.”-Seattle Post Intelligencer
“Evanovich has certainly come a long way since One for the Money; her latest Stephanie Plum mystery merits a one-day national laydown on June 18.”--Library Journal
“Well plotted and cleverly resolved...her wickedly funny characterizations and the intriguing love triangle are what keep her readers coming back for more.”-Bookpage
“As close to summer escapism as you can get. Evanovich hits a high note with her newest...a great addition to a well-stocked beach bag.”-Houston Chronicle
“A perfect summer vacation book...promises fun, laughter, and unforgettable characters...Evanovich delivers.”-Tennessean (Nashville, TN)
“Thrills mixed with lust, seasoned with humor: a delightful escape.”-News & Record (Greensboro, NC)
“Evanovich produces more than “beach reading”. She writes rollicking, raunchy, hysterical fiction that is so real, you will laugh out loud and want to visit the Burg.”-Rockwall County News
“Just when you think the adventures of Plum and company can’t get any funnier or more convoluted, Janet Evanovich proves you wrong-nobody does it better!” -Romantic Times
“A madcap comic mystery-Jersey-girl style.”-The New York Times
“Expect a laugh per page...Bottom line: Plum Pick.”-People
“If you like your summer reads hot and sassy, try Seven Up.”-Boston Herald
“Evanovich is the crown princess of detective fiction...Seven Up is brassy, comical, and light-hearted.”-Bookpage
“[Seven Up is funny, sexy, scary.”-Booklist
“Edgy romance triangle, the loopy family relationships, or the bounty-hunting jobs that skate between absurdity and genuine tension.”-Denver Post
“An adventurous, amusing ride...billed as a crime novel, it has the requisite intrigue and chase scenes, but is also seasoned with humor.”-Oakland Press (Pontiac, MI)
“[A] fast, funny, and first-rate tale.”-Ft. Myers News Press
“Romantic and laugh-out-loud funny, this caper is the perfect summer antidote to serious reading.”-St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The dialogue’s snappy...the pace is quick...Evanovich’s great gift is an ability to create situations zany enough to provoke bursts of laughter.”-Philadelphia Inquirer
“Marked by wise-cracking humor, eccentric characters, and a gritty urban New Jersey setting...Evanovich’s ‘Stephanie Plum’ series attracts an ever-increasing number of fans with each book.”-Library Journal
“Loads of fun...with laughs on every page.”-USA Today
“Evanovich continues...her successful formula...[she] provides a beginning that illustrates all that is right with this series and an ending that ties the story together, gives us a dose of reality, and leaves us with a cliffhanger.”-Chicago Tribune
From the Back Cover
Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum has a big problem on her hands: Seven-year-old Annie Soder and her mother, Evelyn, have disappeared. Evelyn's estranged husband, Steven, a shady owner of a seedy bar, is not at all happy. Finding a kidnapped child is not an assignment for a bounty hunter. But Evelyn's grandmother lives next door to Stephanie's parents, so Stephanie follows the trail left by Annie and Evelyn-and finds a lot more than she bargained for.
Steven Soder is somehow linked with a very scary Eddie Abruzzi. Trenton cop and on-again, off-again fiancé Joe Morelli and Stephanie's mentor and tormentor, Ranger, warn Stephanie about Abruzzi, but it's Abruzzi's eyes and mannerisms that frighten Stephanie most. Stephanie needs Ranger's savvy and expertise, and she's willing to accept his help to find Annie even though it might mean getting too involved with Ranger. Stephanie, Ranger, Lula (who's not going to miss riding with Ranger), and Evelyn's lawyer/Laundromat manager set out to find Annie. The search turns out to be a race among Stephanie's posse, the True Blue Bonds' agent-a Rangerette known as Jeanne Ellen Burrows-and the Abruzzi crew. Plus, there's a killer rabbit on the loose!
Strap on your helmet and get ready for the ride of your life! Hard Eight. The world of Stephanie Plum has never been wilder.
"Evanovich does it again, delivering an even more suspenseful and more outrageous turn with the unstoppable Stephanie."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"The things Evanovich does so well-family angst, sweet eroticism, stealth shopping, that stunning mix of terror and hilarity-are done better than ever here."
-Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Read by Lorelei King.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Lately, I've been spending a lot of time rolling on the ground with men who think a stiffy represents personal growth. The rolling around has nothing to do with my sex life. The rolling around is what happens when a bust goes crapolla and there's a last ditch effort to hog tie a big, dumb bad guy possessing a congenitally defective frontal lobe.
My name is Stephanie Plum, and I'm in the fugitive apprehension business ...bond enforcement, to be exact, working for my cousin Vincent Plum. It wouldn't be such a bad job except the direct result of bond enforcement is usually incarceration ?and fugitives tend to not like this. Go figure. To encourage fugitive cooperation on the way back to the pokey I usually persuade the guys I capture to wear handcuffs and leg shackles. This works pretty good most of the time. And if done right, cuts back on the rolling around on the ground stuff.
Unfortunately, today wasn't most of the time. Martin Paulson, weighing in at 350 pounds and standing 5'8" tall, was arrested for credit card fraud and for being a genuinely obnoxious person. He failed to show for his court appearance last week, and this put Martin on my Most Wanted List. Since Martin is not too bright, he hadn't been too hard to find. Martin had, in fact, been at home engaged in what he does best ...stealing merchandise off the internet. I'd managed to get Martin into cuffs and leg shackles and into my car. I'd even managed to drive Martin to the police station on North Clinton Avenue. Unfortunately, when I attempted to get Martin out of my car he'd tipped over and was now rollingaround on his belly, trussed up like a Christmas goose, unable to right himself.
We were in the parking lot adjacent to the municipal building. The back door leading to the docket lieutenant was less than fifty feet away. I could call for help, but I'd be the brunt of cop humor for days. I could unlock the cuffs or ankle shackles, but I didn't trust Paulson. He was royally pissed-off, red-faced and swearing, making obscene threats and horrifying animal sounds.
I was standing there, watching Paulson struggle, wondering what the hell I was going to do, because anything short of a fork-lift wasn't going to get Paulson up off the pavement. And just then, Joe Juniak pulled into the lot. Juniak is a former police chief and is now mayor of Trenton. He's a couple years older than me and about a foot taller. Juniak's second cousin, Ziggy, is married to my cousin-in-law Gloria Jean. So we're sort of family ...in a remote way.
The driver side window slid down, and Juniak grinned at me, cutting his eyes to Paulson. "Is he yours?"
"He's illegally parked. His ass is over the white line."
I toed Paulson, causing him to start rocking again. "He's stuck."
Juniak got out of his car and hauled Paulson up by his armpits. "You don't mind if I embellish this story when I spread it all over town, do you?"
"I do mind! Remember, I voted for you," I said. "And we're almost related."
"Not gonna help you, cutie. Cops live for stuff like this."
"You're not a cop anymore."
"Once a cop, always a cop."
Paulson and I watched Juniak get back into his car and drive away.
"I can't walk in these things," Paulson said, looking down at the shackles. "I'm gonna fall over again. I haven't got a good sense of balance."
"Have you ever heard the bounty hunter slogan bring ëem back --dead or alive?"
"Don't tempt me."
Actually, bringing someone back dead is a big no-no, but this seemed like a good time to make an empty threat. It was late afternoon. It was spring. And I wanted to get on with my life. Spending another hour coaxing Paulson to walk across the parking lot wasn't high on my list of favored things to do.
I wanted to be on a beach somewhere with the sun blistering my skin until I looked like a fried pork rind. Okay, truth is at this time of year that might have to be Cancun, and Cancun didn't figure into my budget. Still the point was, I didn't want to be here in this stupid parking lot with Paulson.
"You probably don't even have a gun," Paulson said.
"Hey give me a break. I haven't got all day for this. I have other things to do."
"None of your business."
"Hah! You haven't got anything better to do."
I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and black Caterpillar boots, and I had a real urge to kick him in the back of his leg with my size seven Cat.
"Tell me," he said.
"I promised my parents I'd be home for dinner at six."
Paulson burst out laughing. "That's pathetic. That's fucking pathetic." The laughter turned into a coughing fit, Paulson leaned forward, wobbled side to side and fell over. I reached for him, but it was too late. He was back on his belly, doing his beached whale imitation.
* * *
My parents live in a narrow duplex in a chunk of Trenton called the Burg. If the Burg was a food, it would be pasta --penne rigate, ziti, fettuccine, spaghetti, and elbow macaroni, swimming in marinara, cheese sauce or mayo. Good, dependable, all-occasion food that puts a smile on your face and fat on your butt. The Burg is a solid neighborhood where people buy houses and live in them until death kicks them out. Backyards are used to run a clothesline, store the garbage can and give the dog a place to poop. No fancy backyard decks and gazebos for Burgers. Burgers sit on their small front porches and cement stoops. The better to see the world go by.
I rolled in just as my mother was pulling the roast chicken out of the oven. My father was already in his seat at the head of the table. He stared straight ahead, eyes glazed, thoughts in limbo, knife and fork in hand. My sister Valerie, who had recently moved back home after leaving her husband, was at work whipping potatoes in the kitchen. When we were kids Valerie was the perfect daughter. And I was the daughter who stepped in dog poo, sat on gum, and constantly fell off the garage roof in an attempt to fly. As a last ditch effort to preserve her marriage, Valerie had traded in her Italian-Hungarian genes and turned herself into Meg Ryan. The marriage failed, but the blond Meg shag persists.
Valerie's kids were at the table with my dad. The nine year old, Angie, was sitting primly with her hands folded, resigned to enduring the meal, an almost perfect clone of Valerie at that age. The seven year old, Mary Alice, the kid from hell, had two sticks poked into her brown hair.
"What's with the sticks?" I asked.
"They not sticks. They're antlers. I'm a reindeer."
i0This was a surprise because usually she's a horse.
"How was your day?" Grandma asked me, setting a bowl of green beans on the table. "Did you shoot anybody? Did you capture any bad guys?"
Grandma Mazur moved in with my parents shortly after my Grandpa Mazur took his fat clogged arteries to the all-you-can-eat buffet in the sky. Grandma's in her mid-seventies and doesn't look a day over ninety. Her body is aging, but her mind seems to be going in the opposite direction. She was wearing white tennis shoes and a lavender polyester warm-up suit. Her steel gray hair was cut short and permed to within an inch of its life. Her nails were painted lavender to match the suit.
"I didn't shoot anybody today," I said, "but I brought in a guy wanted for credit card fraud."
There was a knock at the front door, and Mabel Markowitz stuck her head in and called, "Yoohoo".
My parents live in a two family duplex. They own the south half, and Mabel Markowitz owns the north half, the house divided by a common wall and years of disagreement over house paint. Out of necessity, Mabel's made thrift a religious experience, getting by on social security and government surplus peanut butter. Her husband, Izzy, was a good man but drank himself into an early grave. Mabel's only daughter died of uterine cancer a year ago. The son-in-law died a month later in a car crash.
All forward progress stopped at the table, and everyone looked to the front door, because in all the years Mabel had lived next door, she'd never once yoohooed while we were eating.
"I hate to disturb your meal," Mabel said. "I just wanted to ask Stephanie if she'd have a minute to stop over, later. I have a question about this bond business. It's for a friend."
"Sure," I said. "I'll be over after dinner." I imagined it would be a short conversation since everything I knew about bond could be said in two sentences.
Mabel left and Grandma leaned forward, elbows on the table. "I bet that's a lot of hooey about wanting advice for a friend. I bet Mabel's been busted."
Everyone simultaneously rolled their eyes at Grandma.
"Okay then," she said. "Maybe she wants a job. Maybe she wants to be a bounty hunter. You know how she's always squeaking by."
My father shoveled food into his mouth, keeping his head down. He reached for the potatoes and spooned seconds onto his plate. "Christ," he mumbled.
"If there's anyone in that family who would need a bail bond, it would be Mabel's ex-grandson-in-law," my mother said. "He's mixed up with some bad people these days. Evelyn was smart to divorce him."
"Yeah, and that divorce was real nasty," Grandma said to me. "Almost as nasty as yours."
"I set a high standard."
"You were a pip," Grandma said.
My mother did another eye roll. "It was a disgrace."
* * *
Mabel Markowitz lives in a museum. She married in 1943 and still has her first table lamp, her first pot, her first chrome and Formica kitchen table. Her living room was newly wallpapered in 1957. The flowers have faded but the paste has held. The carpet is dark oriental. The upholstered pieces sag slightly in the middle, imprinted with asses that have since moved on ...either to God or Hamilton Township...