This Day in Crime: ONE FOR THE MONEY
On this day, in 1994, Janet Evanovich published ONE FOR THE MONEY, the first book in the now insanely popular Stephanie Plum series. Now at closing in on the 23rd novel in the series, nobody predicted Janet would have this sort of success. Since that first novel, Janet has sold tens of millions of books and saw katherine heigl bring Stephanie to the big screen…sadly, that turned out to be a bad thing. Heigl was about as Jersey as I am. Regardless, Janet’s fan remain and ensure that each Stephanie books hits the best-seller’s list.
Watch out, world. Here comes Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with attitude. In Stephanie’s opinion, toxic waste, rabid drivers, armed schizophrenics, and August heat, humidity, and hydrocarbons are all part of the great adventure of living in Jersey.
She’s a product of the “burg,” a blue-collar pocket of Trenton where houses are attached and narrow, cars are American, windows are clean, and (God forbid you should be late) dinner is served at six.
Now Stephanie’s all grown up and out on her own, living five miles from Mom and Dad’s, doing her best to sever the world’s longest umbilical cord. Her mother is a meddler, and her grandmother is a few cans short of a case.
Out of work and out of money, with her Miata repossessed and her refrigerator empty, Stephanie blackmails her bail bondsman cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a try as an apprehension agent. Stephanie knows zilch about the job requirements, but she figures her new pal, fearless bounty hunter Ranger, can teach her what it takes to catch a crook.
Her first assignment: nail Joe Morelli, a former vice cop on the run from a charge of murder one. Morelli is also the irresistible macho pig who took Stephanie’s virginity at age sixteen and then wrote the details on the bathroom wall of Mario’s Sub Shop. There’s still powerful chemistry between these two, so the chase should be interesting.
It could also be extremely dangerous, especially when Stephanie encounters a heavyweight title contender who likes to play rough. Benito Ramirez is known for his brutality to women. At the very least, his obsession with Stephanie complicates her manhunt and brings terror and uncertainty into her life. At worst, it could lead to murder.
Early on, Janet made a point of connecting with her readers, prior to the internet, she had an extensive mailing list and often reached out to members when events where scheduled in their area. My own memory is of her stopping in my B Dalton for a stock signing. I had prepped all of the books (Dust jacket front tucked to signing page, MMs stacked open to same page. She made a point of thanking me and explaining that things like that made the tour that much easier. That night, Once Upon A Crime hosted her and had them lined down the block and around the corner.
The next book, TURBO TWENTY-THREE is due out in November.