Two for the Dough
Stephanie Plum, #2
by Janet Evanovich
The sequel to One for the Money, Two for the Dough can be read without book one. It’s easy enough to follow the plot and the relationships at this point in the series without feeling as though you’re dropped back into high school and you’re not sure who has slept with whom and who has seen whom naked. This is not a YA book, though it is not as graphic as other Stephanie Plum novels, it’s descriptive enough that parents should screen it before letting their kids read it.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Bounty hunter Stephanie Pum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie’s bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso – a suspiciously weatlhy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend – the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli – who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch – only makes the hunt more thrilling…
Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol packing Grandma Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move… and his next move might be Stephanie’s last.
Stephanie Plum has both the best luck and worst luck in the world, all at the same time. As Morelli puts it, she could be very good if she knew what she was doing. She stumbles onto clues and leads through sheer luck, but not everyone who fails to make their court date is willing to be found. Some of them are scarier than others. The psychopath in the first book had a thirst for violence, and the psycho in book two isn’t much better.
Two for the Dough redefines dysfunctional relationships and I love it. It is suggested that Stephanie’s father fantasizes about offing his funeral obsessed mother who has no filter between brain and mouth. Then there’s Morelli and Stephanie. Morelli took Stephanie’s virginity at doughnut display and never called so several years later she hopped a curb and nicked him with her car. Now with the playing field more or less even, there’s a tentative truce while they work together because the bounty Stephanie is trying to collect is Morelli’s cousin Kenny. Mistrust and caution battles for dominance over sexual tension.
Much less violent than book one, this psychopath enjoys cutting off body parts and mailing them to our favorite bounty-hunter extraordinaire. When I read a mystery novel, I’m not the type to try and figure out the who-done-it, so I can’t comment about how cleverly the clues were sprinkled through the book or how hard/easy it was to figure them out, but I will say Janet Evanovich manages to make the most mundane moments in Stephanie’s life interesting.
I don’t remember any other novel where the character has the need to pee, much less more than once, but somehow it adds a level of humor or sympathy to the story. Janet somehow manages to make the most mundane moments of Stephanie’s life interesting. I connected to her in a way I just didn’t connect with Elodie (from A Tale of Two Castles). She’s stubborn, has a strong sense of family obligation, eats like the Gilmore Girls, and she’s not conventionally beautiful. We need more heroins with unruly hair and no fashion sense, even if the movie* took some creative liberties with both of those traits.
The story moves quickly and there was never a spot where it dragged. It’s very character driven. The cliffnotes would go something like, “Stephanie did… Morelli did… Kenny did…” No one can accuse the characters of being passive, especially impatient Stephanie Plum who likes to take matters into her own hands even if that means leaving her partner behind.
If you’ve read Two for the Dough and would like to share your thoughts, please leave a comment below. To see other books we’ve reviewed or to have your book added to our to-review list, please see our Book Reviews page.
*One for the Money, starring Katherine Heigl.