THREE TO GET DEADLY
Most of the "Failure To Appears" that bounty hunter Stephanie Plum goes after are no great loss to society; it's only their girlfriends and bowling partners who don't want them caught. But Moses Bedemier is no ordinary FTA. The candy-store owner pulled in on a concealed-weapon charge is a popular guy in his Trenton neighborhood, and nobody but Stephanie cares whether he sets a new court date. So when Stephanie goes after Uncle Mo, the path is littered with the bodies of buddies who've thrown themselves in the way--and some bodies that have been thrown by other folks, too. Before long, Stephanie, on her second illegal visit to Mo's apartment, comes across the first of four dead drug dealers (and she'll soon lead her onetime-lover/constant nemesis Joe Morelli and his colleagues on the Trenton Police to four more, though the cops have to dig these four up themselves). What's the connection between staunch if slippery Uncle Mo and the bad guys? Why do a bunch of ski-masked thugs keep threatening Stephanie and her hamster with violence if she doesn't lay off Mo? And what can she do about the hideous orange color her hair turned in the middle of a chase after still another FTA? Stephanie's third case (Two for the Dough, 1996, etc.) dispenses almost entirely with mystery and detection in favor of a comedy/variety format. But in going repeatedly for the funny bone, Evanovich, who clearly agrees with her heroine that "adaptation is one of the great advantages to being born and bred in Jersey," is obviously dealing from strength.