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    Review of HARD EIGHT by Janet Evanovich (see her website)


    St. Martin's Press, June 2002

    When her parents' next-door neighbor asks Stephanie Plum to look for her missing granddaughter, Stephanie figures that it can't be too serious. Evelyn was probably just running from an abusive ex-husband. A quick look, though, turns up Eddie Abruzzi, a mob leader with a distinctly insane side to him. Stephanie knows that she should lay low, but laying low is not in her character. And in-your-face is exactly what Eddie needs to push him over the edge.

    Stephanie tries to get on with her life--hanging around with ex-Ho Lulu, failing to bring in bond jumpers, and trying to reconcile her attraction to the two men in her life (Ranger and Joe) with her perpetual datelessness. Still, Abruzzi won't let her go and starts to escalate the violence against her.

    Author Janet Evanovich (see all reviews of novels by this author) has delivered another side-splitting, car destroying, and semi-sexy novel in HARD EIGHT. All the familiar characters are back, along with Stephanie's endearing combination of incompetence and stick-to-it-ness. Fans of the series will be intrigued and maybe even surprised to see the latest in the ongoing love triangle.

    For me, the Stephanie Plum series continues to be enjoyable--I'm certainly looking forward to the next volume. Evanovich is doing her best to deal with a fundamental problem in the series--that Stephanie's incompetence is a little less convincing in the eighth novel in the series than it was in the first. That she is able to pull it off is a credit to her abilities as a writer. That it becomes a little more strained with each book is unfortunate but, perhaps, inescapable.

    Stephanie Plum is a treat and HARD EIGHT is a fine addition to the series.

    Three Stars

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