Here’s a guest post from my friend Kate Goldstone, a big fan in the UK of crime shows, crime novels and everything noir, who has just discovered, thanks to The Chase, my good friend and co-author Janet Evanovich‘s Stephanie Plum books, which she says aren’t yet the mega-bestselling sensation over there that they are here…
Plenty of US crime fiction authors have already crossed the Atlantic with ease and aplomb, delighting British audiences with their books. Others are right on the cusp: massive over there, right on the edge of hitting the crime books best seller scene big time over here.
Lee’s friend and writing partner Janet Evanovich is the creator of the tremendously engaging bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, the heroine of 20 novels that have sold tens of millions of copies in the states… but haven’t made the same splash here yet.
Well, now that her 21st novel in the series, Top Secret Twenty One, is coming out in a few weeks, I think it’s about time Janet took our British crime book readers by storm. So I thought it’d be cool to take a look at Stephanie Plum and whet the appetites of all you UK readers out there.
Janet Evanovich Books – Treat yourself to a compelling 21 novel series
Janet’s writing career began with a series of short romance novels, written under her pen name Steffi Hall. They were pretty damn good. But she hit big time in the states with her light hearted mystery novels starring Stephanie Plum, an unlikely heroine, originally a lingerie buyer who became a Trenton, New Jersey bounty hunter to make ends meet after losing her job.
Now that’s what I call a great back story: knicker buyer turns crime fighter!
About Stephanie Plum – Best selling books with a difference
Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum character was inspired by Midnight Run, the Robert De Niro movie. What was appealing to Janet about bounty hunters is that they are not nine-to-fivers, they can wear what they want, work when and how they want, with whomever they like. That gave Janet a lot of creative flexibility for her heroine and the stories she could tell. Janet then went out and spent a lot of time with bond enforcement agents, studying the way they work as well as spending time getting familiar with the novels’ setting, the city of Trenton in New Jersey.
The first in the Plum series, One for the Money, came out in 1994 and struck an immediate chord with U.S readers. The fact that the heroine is barely competent at her job lent the book considerable charm and it soon shot to stardom, becoming a New York Times ‘notable book’ of the year as well as earning Publishers Weekly’s award for Best Book of 1994. She even sold the movie rights, though it would be almost twenty years before the movie got made with Katherine Heigl in the starring role.
Hot Six, the sixth in the series, was the first to grab a place in the New York Times bestseller list and since then every one of Stephanie Plum’s romantic adventures has debuted at number 1, an astonishing achievement. As someone with one foot in the romance camp and the other firmly planted in crime fiction, Janet Evanovich’s work has an enviably wide appeal.
is the star of the novels anything like the author? It’s a question every reader loves to find the answer to. In Janet’s case it’s a resounding ‘yes’. Both are from New Jersey. And they share a bunch of seriously embarrassing real-life experiences. There’s nothing quite like a perfect, all-knowing, flawless character for making a reader feel inadequate. Plumb’s beautifully-expressed balls-ups are nothing if not realistic, and knowing that she is – on occasion – a bit of a twit adds an extra human dimension to the character and makes her even more appealing than if she’d been disgustingly, annoyingly, unrealistically perfect.
Janet Evanovich books – The Stephanie Plum series in order
It’s always better reading a series of novels in the right order, and it’s easier with her series than others, since the numbers are right there in the title! Here are the Stephanie Plum books in chronological order:
- One for the Money (1994)
- Two for the Dough (1996)
- Three to Get Deadly (1997)
- Four to Score (1998)
- High Five (1999)
- Hot Six (2000)
- Seven Up (2001)
- Hard Eight (2002)
- To the Nines (2003)
- Ten Big Ones (2004)
- Eleven on Top (2005)
- Twelve Sharp (2006)
- Lean Mean Thirteen (2007)
- Fearless Fourteen (2008)
- Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (2009)
- Sizzling Sixteen (2010)
- Smokin’ Seventeen (2011)
- Explosive Eighteen (2011)
- Notorious Nineteen (2012)
- Takedown Twenty (2013)
- Top Secret Twenty-One (to be released on June 17, 2014)
More Janet Evanovich books – Fox & O’Hare
I hate it when I finish a writer’s work while I’m still more than halfway in love with the writing style, the characters, the settings, the plots, the Zeitgeist. Once you’ve read, enjoyed and digested all twenty-one of the current Stephanie collection, what’s next?
Luckily there’s the Fox & O’Hare series to get your teeth into, courtesy of Janet and co-author Lee, a literary collaboration well worth exploring. Pros and Cons, The Heist and The Chase, the third novel released earlier this year, await you. They’re action-packed stuff, rich in thrills, starring the master con artist Nicolas Fox and his sidekick, the tenacious FBI agent Kate O’Hare.
Let’s talk Plum…
If you’re already a convert, what’s your favourite Stephanie Plum novel, and why?