One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Jersey girl Stephanie Plum, the unlikely heroine of One for the Money by Janet Evanovich, is seriously down on her luck. She’s been downsized out of her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store, and is therefore out of money. Her precious Miata has been repossessed, and she’s having trouble fending off her meddling mother’s recommendations for future employment. Out of desperation Plum turns to her cousin Vinnie, who runs a bail-bond business. She blackmails him into giving her a $10,000 recovery job, and then she quickly realizes that she is in way over her head.
Unfortunately for Stephanie, the man she has to bring in is sexy vice cop Joe Morelli, wanted for murder (and detested by Stephanie for taking her virginity when she was 16 and then writing about it on a local sub shop’s walls). While Stephanie can’t even shoot a gun, Morelli is a master at staying hidden in plain sight, let alone defending himself against her pathetic recovery attempts. The upside is that Stephanie is brave, determined, and hilarious, which makes this mystery a delightful read.
Since it was originally published in 1994, Stephanie’s world as described here is a bit dated in terms of technology and dialogue, but it’s still a pleasure to read. Since devouring One for the Money, I am slowly making my way through the series (currently up to #18) and I look forward to reading more about Stephanie’s exploits. The book has also recently been released as a movie (see the trailer here).