Four to Score by Janet Evanovich was originally published in 1998. My paperback copy is 313 pages. This next Stephanie Plum mystery was better than the last one. Oh, there's still entirely too much swearing and crud humor, but Evanovich actually had me laughing out loud a couple times. Entertaining summer reading. Rating: 2.9
Stephanie Plum, the trash-talking New Jersey bail bondswoman of this popular series, is tracking Maxine Nowicki, who's wanted for skipping out on a car-theft charge lodged by her ex-boyfriend. Now the ex-boyfriend's very interested in getting back the love letters he supposedly wrote to Maxine. But what he's really looking for is the secret on which Evanovich hangs her screwball cast of colorful minor characters, including Sally Sweet, a cross-dressing drag queen; Lula, the 250-pound ex-hooker who works for Steph's boss; Cousin Vinnie, the bail bondsman; Grandma Mazur, who packs a Glock and is always looking for a little action; and Joyce, a wannabe bounty hunter who's been cramping Steph's style since she played pass the salami with Steph's ex-husband. The action doesn't get much farther from Trenton than the Jersey Shore, but when Steph's apartment and car are blown up by the others on Maxine's trail and she moves in with Joe Morelli, the handsome, arrogant cop she's been hung up on since high school, it gets hotter than the craps table in Atlantic City. Plum's fans won't be disappointed in this fourth outing in the series, and they're likely to be even more interested in the snappy patter and sexy shenanigans than in the mystery that holds it all together. --Jane Adams
"Living in Trenton in July is like living inside a big pizza oven. Hot, airless, aromatic." pg. 1
"I slunk back to my car and decided that my deductive reasoning would be vastly improved if I ate a doughnut." pg. 13
"Mr. Landowsky was eighty-two and somehow his chest had shrunk over the years, and now he was forced to hike his pants up under his armpits." pg. 16
"I hoped he didn't have a tongue stud. I had to struggle not to make guttural animal sounds when I talked to people wearing tongue studs." pg. 30
"Their hands remained clasped and their bodies jerked in rigid struggle. The morons were arm wrestling.
'That does it,' I said. 'I'm getting my gun. And I'm going to shoot the winner.' " pg. 68