Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Mystery, Fiction
Series: Stephanie Plum #1
Trigger Warning - Childhood Assault. Gun Misuse, Negative Body Imagery
A blast from the past from a mystery series that is still running today. Now I have fully experienced the first book that was published 27 years ago. This story is definitely from a different era of no cell phones, limited internet access, and changing gender roles. The mystery overall is fun and entertaining as naïve Stephanie Plum struggles in her new roll as a bounty hunter. But in the end she succeeds and only after narrowly getting blown up.
In-Depth Review (contains spoilers)
The mystery itself was fine. I understand why people enjoy Stephanie Plum books so much. They are quirky and humorous at times. Stephanie is a fascinating character as a new bounty hunter with no type of experience in that field. But I also understand why most of her audience are people who have been reading her books from the start and not new people being introduced.
There were some events that I found very problematic. First was her mindset. Several times she mentions her weight, each time saying she weighs less. She also briefly says that she sometimes starves to keep her weight lower. This is such a harmful way of thinking. Many would say that she should get psychiatric help in todays world, but since this book was published in the '90s, this mindset was more common and sometimes encouraged. I can only hope that the more current books in the series have shown some growth in her character away from that type of thinking.
Her actions with and towards the guns was very irresponsible. Guns are not toys but do not need to be feared. If she is so afraid of a gun, then she should have gotten a taser instead. It is not safe for someone opposed to guns, even if she supposedly has learned to use them, to carry them for their job. Also, there several uncomfortable incidents that occur with the gun. Her flipping over her purse and dropping out the gun when she was aware that it was contained in there was ridiculous. Even if the gun was unloaded she still should treat it as the weapon that it is. And then there was the situation between the gun and her grandmother. That scene just infuriated me. She should never brought the gun into the house. She should never have allowed her senile grandmother to handle the gun. She should not have kept the bullets within reach. And she should not have been so unconcerned when the gun was shot. I cannot stress how terrible this scene was and I am now convinced that Evanovich had not done any research into the proper handling of guns before writing that. I can only hope that in other books she handles the guns better.
She was surprisingly skilled at it. A lot of it did happen to be coincidence. being in the right place at the right time, which happens quite frequently in these types of mysteries. But she did well talking to people and knowing where to go next when following a lead. That definitely relates back to the 'amateur sleuth' idea that occurs in cozy mysteries. That along with it being a simple, easy-to-read story added to the enjoyment of the detective work that she does.
A piece of advise: read these books in order. I have discovered that the numbering in the titles are there for a good reason. You will miss necessary character development if you try to read this series out of order.
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