Narrator King somehow makes the crazy, comic antics of Evanovich's irresistible bond agent, Stephanie Plum, seem almost rational in this fine audio adaptation. The story opens with the outrageous apprehension of a nude, Vaseline-coated fugitive by Stephanie and her plus-sized, ex-hooker, "sometimes partner" Lula. Soon after, Stephanie sets off on the trail of Samuel Singh, an illegal immigrant who apparently fled a Visa bond and his fianc e. With plenty of prior experience narrating Evanovich titles (Hard Eight, etc.), King has no trouble highlighting the eccentricities of the author's invariably quirky cast of characters, as well as the ongoing romantic triangle between Stephanie, her sexy partner Ranger and Joe, a Trenton cop with whom she shares a "long, strange history." Evanovich's quick-witted, sarcastic and often raunchy dialogue takes the edge off the story's suspense, but King's chameleon voice and ease with accents make this a lively listening experience. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Forecasts, June 23). (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is assigned the case of Samuel Singh, an immigrant who has vanished on a Visa bond. The case will take her to Las Vegas, while her personal life involves rooming with Joe, working with Ranger, and dealing with her mother, who is stressed out owing to having Valerie, Steph's sister, in the house, unwed and about to give birth. As usual, there is lots of humor, a gaggle of unusual characters, the exploits of Stephanie's colleague Lulu, and, this time, a serial killer who is after Stephanie. Lorelei King brings a sultry yet wry voice to Stephanie's story, capturing the absurdity of many of the situations. Ranger and Joe are well voiced, and King's characterization of Lulu captures her unique personality without verging into caricature. Even minor players, such as Singh's landlord/mother-in-law-to-be, are brought to vivid life. Highly recommended for public libraries.-Melody A. Moxley, Rowan P.L., Salisbury, NC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"Nothing defeats us in Jersey," says Stephanie Plumnot smog, the Mob, heart-threatening cuisine, or, this time, a killer who’s set his sights on Trenton’s least likely bounty hunter (Hard Eight, 2002, etc.). The case looks routine compared to Stephanie’s last assignment: wrestling with a naked car thief who’d coated himself with Vaseline to avoid capture. Samuel Singh, whose visitor’s visa had been bonded by Stephanie’s cousin and boss Vincent Plum, has disappeared, together with his promise to marry Nonnie Apusenja, his landlady’s daughter, and Boo, his landlady’s dog. By the time Vincent traces his quarry to Las Vegas, however, three others have already died, with every indication (playfully threatening notes accompanying floral tributes, taunting e-mails, the occasional tranquilizing dart) that Stephanie will be next. Wrong. Samuel himself is next, leaving Stephanie in her role as designated victimassuming she can get time off from dealing with her eternal romantic partners, Trenton cop Joe Morelli and industrial-strength skip-tracer Ranger Manoso, both eager as ever to bed her (and vice-versa); her hugely pregnant sister Valerie, who’s threatening to have her baby any minute if she can just stop guzzling gravy; and the other cast regulars badly in need of their own tranquilizing darts. The plot isas usuala shambles, but the people and their dialogue are as sharp and funny as ever. Though no high point in Stephanie’s saga, this installment, like a weekly sitcom fix, won’t disappoint her fans either.
Booklist (starred review)
Evanovich and Stephanie are at the top of their form here: laugh-out loud moments jostle with sticky, visceral terror...ever smarter, sexier, scarier.
SC) The State (Columbia
It didn't matter diddly if you haven't read Nos. 1 through 8 of the Plum saga. Start right here, right now. This is the best of the bunch...it's pure Evanovich.
Evanovich comes up a winner with the funny, fast-paced To the Nines, which has more plot than some of its predecessors...[its]subplots don't detract from the main premise-keeping Stephanie Plum alive, well and more than ready for her next outing. Us too.
To the Nines may be the edgiest of the Stephanie Plum books...Evanovich is brilliantly evocative...she has a genius for almost palpably recreating low-rent scenery like [the] description of the Indian man's industrial-park workplace...these miniatures...and the sizzling sex scenes strike such a wonderfully Hitchcock-like implicitness [and] are what make the Stephanie Plum books such a treat for sore eyes.
The fun is right on target in the 10th Stephanie Plum adventure, To the Nines...Evanovich returns year after year with one of the genre's most recognizable and irresistible heroines, and in this year's addition, shows she has what it takes to stay on top.
Las Vegas Review Journal
Continues Evanovich's standards for over-the-top situations...an enjoyable read, with many laugh-out-loud situations...the 'apprehension' that begins To the Nines is the kind of lowbrow comedy that Evanovich has made into an art...longtime fans won't be disappointed.
Few characters in modern mystery fiction are better loved than Janet Evanovich's...the Stephanie Plum novels are all about characters...and their strange and wonderful interactions. Longtime Evanovich readers cite humor and sense of family among the reasons for reading her books, and I concur wholeheartedly.
The appeal of Janet Evanovich's popular creation is that she's not much better than the average Jersey girl would be at nabbing criminals...the charms of Evanovich's writing have less to do with intricate plotting than with the characters in Stephanie's working-class neighborhood and her glamour-free job apprehending bail jumpers.
Read an Excerpt
CHAPTER 1, PART 1
My name is Stephanie Plum and I was born and raised in the Chambersburg section of Trenton where men pretty much only drop their drawers in private. Thank God for small favors because the top activities for men in the Burg are scarfing pastries and pork rinds and growing ass hair. The pastry and pork rind scarfing I've seen first hand. The ass hair growing is for the most part rumor.
The first butt I saw up close and personal belonged to Joe Morelli. Morelli put an end to my virgin status and showed me an ass that was masculine perfection ...smooth and muscular and blemish free. Back then Morelli thought a long term commitment was twenty minutes. I was one of thousands who got to admire Morelli's bare ass as he pulled his pants up and headed for the door.
Morelli's been in and out of my life since then. He's currently in and he's improved with age, butt included.
So the sight of a naked ass isn't exactly new to me, but the one I was presently watching took the cake. Punky Balog had an ass like Winnie the Pooh ...big and fat and furry. Sad to say, that was where the similarity ended because, unlike Pooh bear, there was nothing endearing or cuddly about Punky Balog.
I knew about Punky's ass because I was in my new sunshine yellow Ford Escape, sitting across from Punky's dilapidated row house, and Punky had his huge Pooh butt plastered against his second story window. My sometimes partner, Lula, was riding shotgun for me and Lula and I were staring up at the butt in open mouthed horror.
Punky slid his butt side to side on the pane and Lula and I gave a collective, upper lip curled back eeyeuuw!
"Think he knows we're out here," Lula said. "Think maybe he's trying to tell us something."
Lula and I work for my bail bonds agent cousin, Vincent Plum. Vinnie's office is on Hamilton Avenue, his front window looking into the Burg. He's not the world's best bonds agent. And he's not the worst. Truth is, he'd probably be a better bondsman if he wasn't saddled with Lula and me. I do fugitive apprehension for Vinnie and I have a lot more luck than skill. Lula mostly does filing. Lula hasn't got luck or skill. The thing Lula has going for her is the ability to tolerate Vinnie. Lula's a plus size black woman in a size seven white world and Lula's had a lot of practice at pulling attitude.
Punky turned and gave us a wave with his Johnson.
"That's just so sad," Lula said. "What do men think of? If you had a lumpy little wanger like that would you go waving it in public?"
Punky was dancing now, jumping around, wanger flopping, doodles bouncing.
"Holy crap," Lula said. "He's gonna rupture something."
"It's gotta be uncomfortable."
"I'm glad we forgot the binoculars. I wouldn't want to see this up close."
I didn't even want to see it from a distance.
"When I was a 'ho I used to keep myself from getting grossed out by pretending men's privates were Muppets," Lula said. "This guy looks like an anteater Muppet. See the little tuft of hair on the anteater head and then there's the thing the anteater snuffs up ants with... Except ol' Punky here's gotta get real close to the ants on account of his snuffer isn't real big. Punky's got a pinky."
Lula was a 'ho in a previous life. One night while plying her trade she had a near death experience and decided to change everything but her wardrobe. Not even a near death experience could get Lula out of spandex. She was currently wearing a skin tight hot pink mini-skirt and a tiger print top that made her boobs look like big round over-inflated balloons. It was early June and mid-morning and the Jersey air wasn't cooking yet, so Lula had a yellow angora sweater over the tiger top.
"Hold on," Lula said. "I think his snuffer is growing."
This produced another eeyeuuw from us.
"Maybe I should shoot him," Lula said.
"No shooting!" I felt the need to discourage Lula from hauling out her Glock, but truth was, it seemed like it'd be a public service to take a potshot at Punky.
"How bad do we want this guy?" Lula asked.
"If I don't bring him in, I don't get paid. If I don't get paid, I don't have rent money. If I don't have rent money, I get kicked out of my apartment and have to move in with my parents."
"So we want him real bad."
"And he's wanted for what?"
"Grand theft auto."
"At least it's not armed robbery. I'm gonna be hoping the only weapon he's got, he's holding in his hand right now ...on account of this don't look like much of a threat to me."
"I guess we should go do it."
"I'm ready to rock and roll," Lula said. "I'm ready to kick some Punky butt. I'm ready to do the job."
I turned the key in the ignition. "I'm going to drop you at the corner so you can cut through the back and take the back door. Make sure you have your walkie talkie on so I can let you know when I'm coming in."
"And no shooting, no breaking doors down, no Dirty Harry imitations."
"You can count on me."
Three minutes later, Lula reported she was in place. I parked the Escape two houses down, walked to Punky's front door and rang the bell. No one responded so I rang a second time. I gave the door a solid rap with my fist and shouted bond enforcement. Open the door.
I heard shouting carrying over from the back yard, a door crashing open and slamming shut and then more muffled shouting. I called Lula on the talkie but got no response. A moment later the front door opened to the house next to me and Lula stomped out.
"Hey, so excuse me," she yelled at the woman behind her. "So I got the wrong door. It could happen, you know. We're under a lot of pressure when we're making these dangerous apprehensions."
Copyright © 2003 by Evanovich, Inc.