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on June 29, 2004
After reading, in no particular order, a half dozen or so of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels, I decided that I had to review at least one of them (call it a compulsion to do so), and __HOT SIX__, being the most recent one I've read, got the nod.
I believe that the plots in these novels are mostly there to provide a background for the machinations of our intrepid bounty hunter and her friends and relatives. The plot has been pretty well described in the 300+ previous reviews, so I'll just give it a very short discussion before getting into the part of this review that's the most fun for me.
In her position as a bounty hunter (officially bond enforcement agent), Stephanie is given the job of apprehending and bringing to court, the man who taught her everything she knows about the art of bounty hunting, the elusive man known as Ranger. Ranger, who is out on bond, has missed a court appearance. He is the suspect of choice for a murder. Stephanie, and everyone else, knows that bringing in Ranger is impossible -- no one captures Ranger. No one! But, it does seem that everyone wants to find him, the good guys, the bad guys, and a few intermediate semi-bad guys. This situation provides background for the true meat of the novel, Stephanie's adventures and misadventures along the way.
To give you a an idea of just how good a bounty hunter Stephanie is, consider the following: Most of the time Stephanie sets out on her apprehension tasks by leaving her gun at home in a cookie jar. When she does take it, it usually has only one bullet, or even none, because she has forgotten to buy more. When she does catch up with someone, her intended target more often than not gets away, and in so doing, wrecks her car, and/or sets her on fire, and/or handcuffs her with her own handcuffs, and/or just walks away while she is preoccupied with something else. At any rate her success rate on the first few tries with each bail jumper is very, very low
She attempts clandestine surveillance in a nice inconspicuous "Rollswagon," a car with the front of a Rolls Royce attached to the body of a Volkswagon. Nobody'll spot this car! It's a temporary replacement for her most recent wrecked car.
While trying to peer into the window of a suspect's house, our Stephanie falls out of a tree into his walled off back yard, and gets shot at.
There's lots more, but you get the idea.
Stephanie lusts after two men, the aforementioned Ranger, and her sometimes lover, sometimes protector, sometimes a few other things, Joe Morelli, police detective. This lust is reciprocated by both men.
Stephanie has a grandmother who frequently totes a gun herself, thinks that she, too, would like to be a bounty hunter, and, spreading fear throughout the area, somehow passes the driving test and gets a drivers license.
Stephanie has a sidekick named Lula who is a retired prostitute and who frequently accompanies Stephanie on her misadventures. Lula is a very large woman who dresses in skintight spandex apparel, carries two or three guns and, on every case, tells Stephanie what havoc she is going to wreak on each target. Then when the time comes, tends to run away even faster than Stephanie.
Stephanie has a long suffering mother whose answer to any problem is to start ironing.
And, oh yes, did I mention that Stephanie's idea of home cooking is to make a peanut butter and potato chip sandwich.
There are also a few other colorful characters in Stephanie's life, both human and animal. These include her cousin Vinnie, the owner of the bonding agency, and her boss; her "arch enemy," Joyce Barnhardt; the inadvertantly comedic duo of Moonster and dougie, "the dealer" as well as her pet hamster, Rex; and Bob, the dog who eats everything he can reach, including furniture, and whom you'd like to hate, but can't because he's just too sweet.
When you toss all of these people and animals in a hopper, then add a few gangsters and lunatics to the mix, you end up with a laugh or two or even three on every page from the opening line right up to to the concluding sentence. Thanks, Janet Evanovich, you keep me laughing.
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on April 2, 2004
At the end of my review of the previous book in the Stephanie Plum series, HIGH FIVE, I wondered if author Janet Evanovich was on the verge of trying too hard with her plotting. Then, of course, there was thread left dangling on the last page. Whose name, Morelli's or Ranger's, did Stephanie pull out of the bowl in her Night of Passion Lottery? In HOT SIX, it seems to me that Evanovich is indeed pushing it. And it turns out that Joe Morelli is the one that got lucky.
Plum is a bounty hunter in Trenton, NJ, employed by Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, the owner being her scummy cousin, Vinnie. Stephanie's modus operandi is either Keystone Cops or Bull-In-China-Shop, depending on her mood and the amount of junk snacks that she's consumed. The fact that she ultimately succeeds is based purely on dogged persistence and good fortune.
The skeleton of the HOT SIX plot is that Vinnie tasks Plum with apprehending Ranger, his best bond enforcement agent and Stephanie's friend and frequent mentor. Ranger has skipped bail on a ridiculous concealed weapon charge - everyone carries in Trenton - and it doesn't help that the local cops want to question him about the recent murder of a crime kingpin's son. Plum wants no part of it, least of all because she hasn't the skill to nab the ex-Special Forces soldier. But, as the bodies pile up, bagging Ranger becomes the least of her worries.
Don't get me wrong. HOT SIX is as funny as any previous book in the series. It's just that Janet's imagination has, in my opinion, finally gone over the top in populating the storyline with weird characters and dropping her heroine into bizarre situations. It's gotten to the point where less wackiness may be better. It's fine that her feisty Grandma Mazur, reminiscent of Sophia (Estelle Getty) of American TV's GOLDEN GIRLS sitcom, must move in with her, but not necessary that the former take driving lessons, date the ancient geezer upstairs, or purchase a red Corvette. It's not unusual that Stephanie apprehends a couple of oddball fugitives over the course of the book, but not required that one of them here be costumed as Captain Kirk at a Trekkies gathering during the takedown. And not surprisingly, Stephanie is followed by a couple of goons who also have an interest in finding Ranger. But does one of them really have to be a Pakistani emigre who, back in the old country, used to beat unruly children working in the village rug factory? What has before simply seemed to be Plum's bad karma is now too heavy a concentration of weird to be believed.
Finally, the reactions of Stephanie's mother to her antics - she say's "Why me?" and makes the sign of the cross a lot- are getting old. And Stephanie's long-suffering Dad continues to be a virtual cipher. It's time both characters were fleshed out.
At least Stephanie is making progress in her love life. Is that a proposal of marriage coming from Morelli at the book's end? You think? After finishing this review, I'm off to purchase SEVEN UP.
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on December 13, 2003
This book for me is simply yum! Ranger, oh, Ranger, I'm sorry to all the Morelli fans but Ranger is the guy I adore in Stephanie's books.
Stephanie starts out this book by saving her friend Carol from jumping off a bridge. Good deed that will come back later in the form of Bob the dog. See, Carol stole some undies to try and spice up her marriage while she was trying to get away she hits an unmarked police car. So rather than go to jail Carol is willing to jump off the bridge. I'll leave it at that because you don't need to know much more. :)
Back to Ranger:
This time he's hiding out because he is wanted on murder charges. He's missed his court date and now Vinnie wants Steph to track him down. Although she refuses Vinnie's demands she still starts checking for him anyway. She wants to know and we need to know what has happened to Ranger.
She ends up with Ranger popping in at all hours of the night to get some steamy flirting in and to find out any information she might have discover on the Ramos family (a gun running family whose son he is suspected of killing). Ranger doesn't want to ask her, but soon has to because she falls into the good graces of Homer Ramos (Head of the Ramos family). Stephanie ends up in a wild goose chase of searching for the real killer and her own doubts of whether Ranger could have done the killing or not.
Steph gets two new roommates Grandma Mazur and Bob the Dog. She's got a huge pimple and isn't getting any sleep because Grandma snores and Ranger keeps popping in in the middle of the night.
This is just a bit of the fun Stephanie is in for this time because she's got all that wonderful chemistry with Ranger that keeps scarying her to death and Bob and Lula along for the ride.
This is another great one for Janet. I just can't wait for each new book. When a new one comes out I preorder as soon as I can eagerly awaiting it's arrival and each time I go through the entire series prior to reading the newest book.
These books are better each time I read them. I am so glad I found this series. I'll keep reading them as long as she keeps writing them. :)
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on October 19, 2003
Homer Ramos has been killed and the building he was in set on fire. The accused is none other than Ranger! When Stephanie's cousin Vinnie tries to assign this FTA to Stephanie she refuses big time. No way will she even attempt to bring in Ranger. The file is then given to Stephanie's rival, Joyce Barnhardt. Stephanie has other bad guys to catch though and somehow becomes employed by Ranger. She also has two new roomates when Grandma Mazur moves in after a disagreement with Stephanie's parents, and when she is conned into "dog sitting" cop Brian Simon's dog while he's "away". The Golden Retriver, Bob, becomes part of Stephanie's wacky family, and wins the hearts of the reader.
This book was awesome. Stephanie is as sassy as ever, and Grandma Mazur is as wild and loveable as expected. The addition of Bob to the mix was entertaining and made the book fun to read. There were also two new off the wall characters--Mooner and Dougie, a.k.a The Dealer. These two seemed to be molded after Beevis and Butthead. They were likable in their own odd way. And of course, no Stephanie Plum novel would be complete without the irresistable Joe Morelli and the dangerous Ranger.
The plot of this story was great. It was well written and moved along at a fast and steady pace. There is enough action and laughs to keep the reader turning pages as fast as they can. The characters are all charming and quirky, if not a little (ok, maybe a lot)mixed up in the head. This just adds to the entertainment of the book and makes it more fun to read.
Also, the prologue of Hot Six answers the mystery at the end of High Five. If you've read High Five and wondered about the mystery man at the end, the beginning of Hot Six will end the suspense.
Hot Six is a fun, wacky, crazy, entertaining read. Packed with laughs and chills it is a book to recommend. A keeper by far.
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on September 20, 2002
"Hot Six" by Janet Evanovich is another great addition to the hilariously funny and downright wonderful Stephanie Plum series. After six books in the series, Evanovich shows no signs that this series is getting stale, providing readers with another fast-paced and exciting read. Trenton New Jersey's most incompetent bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum herself, is back and better than ever, ready to once again sweep readers up into her immensely entertaining life.
In this sixth instalment, Stephanie is faced with something she never expected to happen. When Homer Ramos, the son of black-market arms dealer Alexander Ramos, is found shot in his father's fire-gutted office building, the only person on the security cameras with Homer is Stephanie's fellow bounty hunter Ranger. But Ranger has disappeared, and he missed a court date in the process, so Vinnie asks Stephanie to find Ranger and bring him in. Well not only is Ranger a former mercenary who won't be found if he doesn't want to be, he's also Stephanie's mentor and friend and Stephanie will have nothing to do with trying to catch him.
But of course Stephanie's bound to get involved one way or another, and when Ranger starts making late night visits to her apartment, she soon finds herself doing rather disastrous surveillance on the Ramos family and getting closer and closer to the wrong side of the law!
Stephanie's problems start piling up, and though she thinks her life is a disaster, we get an uproariously funny and suspenseful read as we watch Stephanie get herself into one mess after another. Grandma Mazur has moved into Stephanie's apartment after having a big blow-up with Steph's father, which is utterly ruining Stephanie's sex life with her sexy cop boyfriend Joe Morelli. Grandma Mazur is just as eccentric and amusing as ever, providing great comic relief. Lula, the 230lb ex-hooker is along for the ride too, and she always manages to make me laugh. Not to mention Bob, the hilarious golden retriever with an eating disorder who bounds into Stephanie's life one day and doesn't want to leave.
But things quickly turn serious, and Stephanie finds herself being tailed everywhere she goes by two goons who are expecting Stephanie to lead them to Ranger. And if she doesn't, they promise Stephanie that very bad things are going to happen to her. An FTA wanted for murdering his wife gets given to Stephanie since Ranger is out of the picture, and he is no walk in the park to deal with. And it's not long before Stephanie is once again surrounded by corpses, wrecked cars, and terrifying threats. She's got the zit from hell, she's worried about herself and Ranger, and she is totally sexually frustrated. Tough for Stephanie, but tons of fun for readers!
"Hot Six" contains an intriguing and well thought out mystery, and Evanovich provides her readers with a conclusion that will satisfy, but at the same time leave readers begging for "Seven Up". Evanovich has a great sense of humour, and she knows just how and where to use it to make us laugh. She also has a gift for blending a tight and suspenseful mystery with the humour that she does so well into one fabulous creation that works beautifully. "Hot Six" is a fantastic read and it comes very highly recommended.
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on August 31, 2002
Well, what can I say. I started at "One For The Money" and I just can't get enough. I absolutely love this series ... if not for any other reason than a smile and a laugh!
In this book we are introduced to "Bob." No, not another love interest for Stephanie but a great addition to her life.
The last page of "High Five" left me saying "no!" Don't stop here! ... Which man, Morelli or Ranger, would Stephanie succumb to. Thank goodness I had "Hot Six" ready to go or I would have gone crazy waiting.
As I said before, I love this series. The only reason I didn't rate it a 5 is because the storyline in all the books are the same with a new twist. AND, the chartacters seem to be the same with different names. BUT, that doesn't mean that you won't get optimum enjoyment out this book or any of the previous books in the series.
In each book Stephanie, the bounty hunter, is bound to be shot at or her car is mutilated in some manner ... I guess the question is who will do it?
The chartacters, Morelli, Ranger, Grandma Mazur, Lula, Rex and now "Bob" are all familiar throughout every book. Oh, don't forget mom and dan, uncle Vinnie and Connie too! I feel like I know all these chartacters personally.
I love Stephanie's relationship with Morelli. From Book One to Six they have been developing slowly but surely. I think they are good together!
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on August 19, 2002
Fans of Stephanie Plum Jersey girl and bounty hunter will be happy to find out just whom Stephanie spent the night with, as it was left to one's imagination at the end of the preceding book, High Five. In this adventure, Stephanie learns that her friend and mentor, Carlos "Ranger" Manoso, is being sought for murder. Can Ranger be guilty? Stephanie helps to chase down a murderer and contend with two inept thugs, not to mention her growing attraction to one of the men in her life. Our heroine meets with the usual car-related misfortunes how many cars has this lady had destroyed? and the usual cast of colorful characters. The action is fast, and the dialog is sharp and flavored with Evanovich's broad humor. There's plenty of sexual banter and suspense to carry the listener along. C.J. Critt does a good job of giving each character a distinct personality; her voice paints pictures. Those who want an action-packed mystery laced with some steamy romance will love this audio. It's pure fun to enter Stephanie's universe, and who can't use an escape now and then? Go ahead, six is your lucky number.
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on July 24, 2002
Stephanie Plum is back again and this time she has to bring in an FTA that she knows that she can't get. When she first hears about it she knows she could find him but bringing him would be another issue. Ranger has skipped bail and wanted and Vinnie thinks the only person to bring him would be Stephanie.
Stephanie manages to get herself into a lot of trouble in this book, but when doesn't she get herself into situations where she is in trouble or causing trouble.
When her grandmother moves in with her thinks nothing could be worse. No time for Moralli to come over and hang out and no time for anything fun with her grandmother around. When all of a sudden after helping a friend out she finds herself with a dog named Bob who is huge and eats her out of house and home. What could be worse, living with her grandmother or living with Bob.
With the hunt for Ranger going Stephanie has two strange men following her around and waiting for her to find Ranger. Things only get messier from there. She manages to find herself in places that she shouldn't be. But she does manage to figure out a lot of stuff and go from there.
Stephanie Plum is a riot of laughter and her grandmother, Lula, Connie and the rest of her wacky friends only add to it. I can't wait to read the next two books in this series.
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on July 14, 2002
This was my first of the series. Why I started with Hot Six, I have no clue but you better believe I will pick up Seven Up and Hard Eight as soon as I can.
Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum does not have the best of luck. She turns down the job to bring in fellow hunter Ranger but finds herself on his tail for other reasons. Ranger is wanted in connection with the murder of Homer Ramos whose family is in the business of dealing guns. Problem is, Homer found himself in someone elses business as well. In a town where the families of organized crime are described as "dis-organized" you better believe that the chase that ensues is quite comical.
In addition to the case with Ranger, Stephanie's other jobs bring more giggles than ever. When Stephanie Plum brings in a skip, the police know they are in for a laugh!
Evanovich is a master and brings in more bizarre characters in one neighborhood than you will believe. In the heart of a mystery, she knows just when to dish out a joke.
Thouroughly enjoyable!
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on April 20, 2002
_Hot Six_ was the first book in the Plum series that I read, and I loved it so much that I went back and caught up on the rest of the series in short order, and then read _Hot Six_ again - Evanovich has a singular talent, and is now one of my favorite authors. Not every Plum book is a gem, but all are enjoyable.
_Hot Six_, much like _One for the Money_, showcases how funny and human Evanovich's writing can be. As I read this book, I laughed out loud many times, chuckled in self-recognition more than a little, and vicariously felt Stephanie Plum's frustration and awkwardness; Evanovich has done an excellent job of writing another book that can completely envelope the reader. It can be a very quick read, as the story flows exceptionally well and kept my interest rivetted, even the second time around - the second time I read it, I stayed up all night after starting it at 10pm and didn't put it down until 5am.
The heat between Stephanie and Ranger gets turned up a few notches in several places, and Morelli definitely isn't out of the picture, so the little love triangle becomes interesting. The plot doesn't feel forced or contrived, and it felt like Evanovich really enjoyed writing this one - there are several unexpected quirks to the story that are very enjoyable, including a gun-running boss that Stephanie is supposed to be spying on jumping into her car and asking her to sneak him to the bar, a huge, friendly dog named Bob becoming a part of Stephanie's life, Grandma Mazur moving in with her, and a surprise from Morelli at the end of the book, though I'm waffling on whether or not I want it to turn out the way Evanovich alludes it will.
This is better-than-average for the genre, and anyone who has enjoyed previous Evanovich books should really like _Hot Six_ tremendously.
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