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    Review of TO THE NINES by Janet Evanovich (see her website)


    St. Martin's Press, July 2003

    Bumbling bounty-hunter Stephanie Plum has a new assignment--a foreign national working on an immigration bond. Still, the task is the same--track him down, bring him in, and collect the payoff. With help from both (ex-mercenary) Ranger and (cop-boyfriend) Morelli, it should be a piece of cake. Instead, Stephanie is plunged into some sort of sick game--a game where she just might be the prize.

    Author Janet Evanovich (see more reviews of novels by Evanovich) delivers another funny romp as Stephanie, ex-ho Lula (on a series of diets), and office manager Connie trek to Las Vegas where Connie might just have married a drunk Elvis impersonator, deal with Morelli's grandmother's visions (she sees Stephanie dead and Moreli married to someone blonde), and the question of what Moreli is doing in a motel with Stephanie's nemesis.

    Stephanie has shown some character growth. She is still incompetent as a bond enforcer, but she is less incompetent (although the aprehension of vasaline-coated Punky is still hysterical). Her genetic clock is ticking loudly and she seems to have found balance with the two men in her life.

    Mystery fans will find a lot to like in TO THE NINES. Unlike several of the earlier stories, Evanovich provides plenty of clues to the criminal's identity. Even if you guess, however, you'll want to know how Stephanie manages to figure it out, survive the inevitable run-in with the badguy, and deal with Morelli's ever-dangerous female relatives.

    TO THE NINES is the best Stephanie Plum story I've read in a while--and that's saying a lot. If you're a fan of the series, run out and grab this one. If you're not familiar with Evanovich and Stephanie Plum, you have a treat ahead of you.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/10/03

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