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Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

Many of the schools I work at have a bookcase in the teacher’s lounge where employees can leave, borrow, and exchange old books.  (Do other workplaces have these?  I think it’s a nice idea!)  During a longer-than-usual lunch break, I borrowed Janet Evanovich’s Two for the Dough.  I read the first book in the series, One for the Money, several years ago after a friend recommended it to me.

The series features Stephanie Plum, a beginner bounty hunter in New Jersey.  If you are interested in the series, I highly recommend starting with the first book, which explains how she lost her job and decided to begin working as a bounty hunter.  The fact that she is just starting out in such a challenging job with no relevant experience is a great premise and really adds a lot of interest and humor to the books.

The plot of the book moved quickly and kept me guessing.  At the beginning, Stephanie Plum is after a man named Kenny Mancuso, who is wanted for shooting his best friend in the knee.  Then it turns out that the gun he used was stolen from an army base.  Joe Morelli, a police officer that has a history with Stephanie, is investigating the stolen weapons.  Soon, Kenny Mancuso’s friend is found dead, and Stephanie realizes that this case is much bigger and more dangerous than she realized.

I personally enjoyed this book more than the first one, mainly because I now live on the East Coast.  I appreciate Janet Evanovich’s novels a lot more now, having met people from the same area that really resemble her characters.  The Plum family is especially well-drawn.  I also Evanovich has done a great job in creating her main character.  Stephanie Plum gets into some pretty unusual situations over the course of this novel, but she responds to them in very normal and believable ways.  Sometimes she gets scared, sometimes she needs help, and her successes come through a combination of luck and determination.

I would recommend this book to people who like mysteries, especially ones that include a spunky heroine.  This isn’t a cozy though, so if you’re especially squeamish, you might want to skip it.  (There are several scenes in a funeral parlor.)  I give this book three stars.  ★★★

-Elizabeth

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