THE STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES by Janet Evanovich
Stephanie Plum, a laid-off lingerie buyer in Trenton, becomes a bounty hunter for her cousin Vinny. She always is in the wrong place at the right time. This makes her one of the luckiest and funniest characters to come along in a long time. Evanovich has a definite formula for these books, a mixture of serious crime fighting and 30's screwball comedy, but somehow she keeps each book fresh and funny. These books have enough suspense to keep me reading past bedtime while making me actually laugh out loud.
You know that each book will have Stephanie stubbornly pursuing a very serious criminal while filling in time tracking down a host of quirky small-time criminals. She'll be stopping by her long-suffering parents' house at least once a week for Sunday dinner ("They're hiring at the button factory, Stephanie") and taking Grandma Mazur to a viewing at Stiva's Funeral Home. Lula, an errant file clerk, has become her gun-toting side kick as the series has developed. Watching them try to take down a criminal is something like watching Abbott and Costello. One of the main suspenseful elements is watching Stephanie trying to decide between Italian cop, Joe Morelli, and exotic bounty hunter, Ranger. I have been somewhat tired by Stephanie's indecision recently. However, Evanovich seems to have put some of that to rest in the latest installment, Ten Big Ones.
If you haven't read these, you are in for a treat. Pick up One for the Money and get ready for a wild and hilarious ride.