on April 26, 2004
If you thought that Janet Evanovich's One for the Money was hysterical, Two for the Dough will have you in stitches! We get to learn a bit more about bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. In trying to capture Kenny Mancuso while trying to track down a truckload of stolen caskets, Stephanie stumbles onto something much more serious and even life threatening. Many scenes take place in a funeral home in Trenton, and the antics of Grandma Mazur will have you wetting your pants. No corpse is safe when she's around!
Many of the regular characters become more fleshed out including Vinnie, Connie, Ranger, and especially heartthrob cop Joe Morelli. The best character in the bunch is Lula-a prostitute introduced in book one who now wants to join Stephanie as a bounty hunter. Think 200+ pound African American in spandex miniskirts. The two of them working together is a blast. Stephanie is also becoming a little more savvy in her job and now sports a stun-gun. But she still has much to learn, which makes the story funny and maybe a little more realistic (no James Bond-types to be found here).
I read the book first, and then listened to the audio version. One thing that is really annoying with many audio books (this one included) is that so many of the readers mispronounce so many words-especially names of places. Also, this book was only made available in the abridged version. But even so, Evanovich will have you coming back for more.
on November 16, 2003
TWO FOR THE DOUGH by Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum deals with dead bodies and mortuaries in TWO FOR THE DOUGH, the second book in the series created by Janet Evanovich. In this sequel to ONE FOR THE MONEY, Stephanie cruises the town of Trenton with Grandmother Mazur in tow, as she seeks out the mortuaries all over town in search of clues to missing person Kenny Mancuso, who is accused of having shot a gas attendant in the knees.
Kenny is Stephanie's latest missing person in her new job as bounty hunter. Kenny also happens to be a distant cousin of Joe Morelli, a vice cop that Stephanie has known "intimately" since childhood, and who creates all sorts of conflicting feelings within her. As in the first book, Morelli helps Stephanie through this case. In this sequel, however, Grandmother Mazur comes along for the ride, Stephanie's mother tries to set her up with Spiro the mortician, and at one point her mother thinks that Morelli is Stephanie's boyfriend.
I'm really enjoying these books by Janet Evanovich. These are beach reads, not meant for serious reading. I find myself chuckling as I read these books, following the crazy antics of Stephanie Plum as she tries her best to retrieve these missing criminals. Her fear of guns always comes into play, and this time around Grandmother Mazur plays a big role as her sidekick. (Grandmother Mazur is not afraid to use her gun)!
I give this book another big recommendation. Expect nothing more than a few laughs and fun times, and you'll want to read the rest of the series. For those looking for more seriously written legal thrillers, stick with Grisham and Patterson.
on September 24, 2003
This second novel in the Stephanie Plum series (the first being "One for the Money") starts out pretty much where the first left off. Our heroine, Stephanie, a ballsy but very inexperienced bond collector has been assigned what should be a simple case: Kenny Mancuso has skipped bail after blowing the kneecaps off his old friend Moogey Bues; get him back to jail. Unfortunately not only does Kenny not want to be found, it appears he is pyschotic and involved in a very deadly trade.
The villain of the first novel, Joe Morelli, who deflowered Stephanie in her teens and who she helped show was innocent in "One for the Money" is assigned to this case - though as a vice squad officer it's not clear why, and Morelli isn't helping. This partnership is flaky at best - with Morelli constantly trying to get into Plum's heart (a.k.a. her pants!), this time by playing nice with Mom, things are going to get out of hand. In one of the funniest episodes in the book Stephanie leaves Morelli just wearing his underwear in the middle of the road; she thinks better of this and goes back to give him his gun!
One of the biggest delights in this book is the development of Grandma Mazur who is the one member of her family who supports Stephanie in her job. Grandma Mazur is a cross between Dirty Harry and Sophia from The Golden Girls. One of her favorite activities are the public viewings at the funeral homes which is very handy since it seems that Kenny Mancuso has had shady dealings with a mortician, Spiro Stiva. Grandma is a bit accident prone - something that both helps Stephanie out, unexpectedly, and provides great comedy.
Stephanie is still learning her trade - "by making mistakes" she tells us. In this second book she is starting to get the hang of things but is still lucking out more often than not. I look forward to seeing how her character develops through the Plum novels. I think this novel would be a good enough introduction to Stephanie Plum but I would recommend reading the first novel if you haven't already done so.
on December 22, 2002
Stephanie's new case was supposed to be simple. Kenny Mancuso had shot his friend, not fatally, and then skipped out on his bond. Should be real simple, right? Of course, first she has to find Kenny. Then his friend is murdered. Trying to track down any leads, she joins Grandma Mazur at a funeral home run by Spiro, another of Kenny's childhood friends. But Spiro has a case of his own. 24 caskets have been stolen, and he wants Stephanie to hunt them down. Is there a connection? With Ranger to advise and Joe Morelli to shadow, will Stephanie put all the pieces in place and catch Kenny before he turns on her?
Stephanie Plum is an appealing heroine. She acts tough, but in reality she's all too human. The plot is complicated enough to keep the reader engaged, and the action never lets up. There were several parts I thought I had figured out only to learn later I was wrong. And Grandma Mazur is a riot as she gets more involved in the story.
It's easy to see why these books are so popular - an appealing main character and fun stories. If you're looking for purely escapist fiction, this is the series for you.
on October 16, 2002
Bumbling bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is on the trail of Kenny Mancuso. Kenny has jumped bail after shooting his best friend. With a little assistance from her mentor, Ranger, Steph sets out to bring him in and collect the bounty. Along the way, she gets a little assistance from the man she tracked down in 'One for the Money', Joe Morelli. To complicate things, someone has stolen a couple dozen government surplus caskets from a local mortuary. Tempted by the $1,000 reward, Stephanie takes on the challenge of finding them as well. Could these cases be related? Follow Stephanie as she bumbles through another case in Janet Evanovich's 'Two for the Dough.'
'Two for the Dough' is every bit as fun as its predecessor, and in some places, more so. Stephanie's Grandma Mazur frequently steals the show. Grandma Mazur is enamored with Stephanie's chosen profession, and looks up to Stephanie, both literally and figuratively. When Stephanie shows up at her mother's house decked out in mid-90's fashion (flannel shirt, jeans, and doc martins), Grandma Mazur copies the outfit on her next shopping trip. If anything, Grandma's bumbling proves that Stephanie comes by it naturally, even if it did skip a generation (her Mom just doesn't understand her).
The one draw back to the story is that the mystery is really non-existent. The 'how' and 'why' of the missing caskets, Kenny Mancuso's running around, and other small mysteries are wrapped up fairly early in the novel. After that it, the story is reduced to 'the chase is on' with one outrageous scene following the next.
An advantage this novel has over 'One for the Money' is that it tells the story of the 'Burg' better. Actually, it does a better job telling the story of the women better: how and why the do and put up with the things they do. Evanovich displayed some noteable incite with this novel.
However, this is still an amazingly fun story to read. Anyone that likes crime fiction (watered down) will get a kick out of this. Its not necessary to read 'One for the Money', but as with most series, I recommend doing so in order to appreciate some of the jokes.
on May 1, 2002
Stephanie Plum - bounty hunter - is employed to bring in Kenny Mancuso, accused of shooting his friend (Moogy) in the knee. But, Mancuso is cousin to Joe Morelli, the cop Stephanie loves to hate - and hates to love! Stephanie and Morelli investigate the shooting, which turns into murder when Moogy is found dead. Along the way, Stephanie is hired to find twenty-four missing coffins. There's also military weapons, (stolen from an army base where Mancuso was stationed), being sold on the street.
Witnesses disappear, threatening letters posted, Stephanie's apartment vandalized, and body parts (from corpses) chopped off and mailed to Stephanie. Finally Grandma Mazur is kidnapped, and Stephanie snaps, accidentally setting fire to the mortuary and grabbing Mancuso (giving him a few kicks and thumps) for the police.
The Stephanie Plum books are contemporary, fast-moving, and comic mysteries, set in suburban New York. This, the second in the series, fleshes out the regular characters, as well as the love/hate relationship between Stephanie and Morelli. Most of the action is set within a small-defined area - Trenton - which is shown to be normal at first glance. Evanovich is adept at finding those quirks which are taken for granted by the residents - the way almost everyone matter-of-factly carries a gun, funeral viewings are a social event, and the importance of family (and food).
Stephanie is an independent young woman (usually described as 'sassy'), who is tied to her family by unbreakable links -which she's tried hard to break! Her mother puts family and home before herself while her father is almost invisible - he works, eats and watches television. Grandma Mazur, widowed and living with Stephanie's parents, is tactless, indomitable, and effervescent - an embarrassing nuisance to those around her, but we all hope to be like her when we grow old.
Stephanie's jobs always seem to be so simple, but end up being complicated. She has a bad history with cars, is scared of guns, and tends to have few qualms about petty crime committed doing her job. She enjoys her job, but has a sneaking suspicion that she's not really suited for it. However, her determination, intuition, and luck help her solve the mysteries - along with an information system based on family and old school friends.
The plot is well-planned - we know Mancuso, the guns, and the caskets are somehow connected, but, like Stephanie, not sure how. The clues all join up into a satisfying conclusion, and while some of the events seem improbable - but they are still plausible. The comedy is also well-written - initiated from events and the characters - and is almost slapstick at times, for instance when Stephanie drives off, leaving Morelli naked in the street.
Janet Evanovich has created a world which is eccentric but recognisible, peopled by characters that are average but never boring. The crimes are usually minor, even petty at times. But Evanovich masterfully shows how enjoyable a trip through the ordinary can be.
on July 24, 2001
I would have been carted away. The divine tough-talking, impossibly inept bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is back, along with her entire cast of totally loony characters. Speaking of whom...let me just get a word of appreciation in for the long-suffering man of few words, Mr. Plum, Stephanie's father. His eloquent sighs, one-word epithets, and vain attempts to hide in front of a blasting TV are priceless. The plot is much the same as the first book: Stephanie seeks bad guy, aided by the sexy Morelli. Not as much of Ranger in this book, but Morelli makes up for it. A great deal of the action transpires in a slimy (the only word I could think of) funeral parlor run by an equally slimy rat-like creature named Spiro. He has managed to misplace two dozen caskets...along with various body parts of those in his...um....eternal care. You MUST read this book!!!! Hilarious, outrageous, fast-paced, delightful--what more do you want? Well, if you were Stephanie, you could go for a greasy cheeseburger and fries just about now...
on June 25, 2001
This is the second book in the Stephanie Plum "bounty hunter" series, and Janet Evanovich puts forth another incredibly solid effort. This book actually made me laugh out loud.
Stephanie Plum, fresh off of her "lucky" recovery is back chasing after Kenny Mancuso, who skipped his court appearance. Fresh out of the military, Mancuso is accused of killing his one-time friend. It turns out some "cop-killing" munitions are missing from the military compound he was stationed at, and they have now surfaced on the streets of several different cities. Add in the search for 24 missing caskets, believed to have stored the munitions, and you have one amazingly intense story.
All of the regular characters are back. Stephanie Plum, seemingly the world's worst bounty hunter, is also one of the luckiest people around as the trouble just seems to find her...literally. The virginity stealing, straight-faced cop, Joe Morelli is back with his protective, yet secretive ways. Ranger, the bounty hunter and mentor is also back, but plays a somewhat smaller role than the first Stephanie Plum book. However, the witty Grandma Mazur clearly steals the show in this book. She is an intricate part of the storyline, and she truly adds the real color to this novel.
The plot is well-developed again, and the twists and turns are plentiful. Evanovich keeps you guessing throughout, as the suspense is great. The story truly doesn't unravel until the final 20 pages of the book, and when it does, it happens so fast, you can't believe what you have just read.
Overall, this is a truly good book. The writing is very good, and it flows quite nicely. The humor is outstanding. TWO FOR THE DOUGH will not let you down.
on December 13, 2000
Hopefully, "Two For The Dough" and the other books in the Stephanie Plum novels are not just for the ladies (or maybe the fairer sex are just the ones writing all these review here on Amazon). This is by no means a "chick" book. Having whipped through the first two books of the series, I have thoroughly enjoyed the breezy plots, laugh-out-loud humor and memorable characters (who are quickly become old friends). "Two" finds Stephanie still stumbling and bumbling through her new career as bounty-hunter extraordinaire. One of the first book's most endearing characters, Grandma Mazur, has an increased role in "Two" as a pistol-packing granny whose primary social activity is attending funerals in the "burg." "Two" won't win any literary awards, but that's not the point (truly "entertaining" movies rarely win Oscars either). I plan on keeping a little behind Evanovich's writing schedule so I am not without the next Stephanie Plum book.
on December 4, 2000
There's an unwritten rule in the "burg" bounty hunter Stephanie Plum calls home: if you're dealing with a Mancuso or a Morelli, expect trouble.
Lucky Steph...she's getting a double dose in Two for the Dough. She's been assigned to haul in Kenny Mancuso, a bail jumper who shot his so-called best friend in the knee. Thing is, Kenny doesn't want to be caught, and his distant relative Joe Morelli (if these books become movies they should get Chris Meloni from L&O:SVU to play this guy)really doesn't want Stephanie to catch him, as Kenny's involved in one of his cases.
Did I say double trouble? Perhaps we should raise the ante a bit, seeing as how in the midst of all this Stephanie has to deal with a slimy funeral home director with a missing casket problem and Grandma Mazur's eagerness to help out her granddaughter while at the same time getting great seats for the latest viewings. Talk about putting the "fun" back in "funeral".
Seriously, this is a great followup to One for the Money, and just absorbing the tension between Stephanie and Joe can only guarantee that three through six, and beyond, will be "hot".