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Book Review: Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovitch &#8211 Hunting the Candyman

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Stephanie Plum is back, with a truly unpopular assignment. In Janet Evanovitch’s Three to Get Deadly, she’s hunting for the Burg’s beloved candy vendor, the venerable “Uncle Mo.” Arrested for “carrying concealed” (a law which it seems is honored more in the breach than in the observance in the Burg), Moses Bedemier has skipped bail and is now missing. And Stephanie can’t get any help from his neighbors or relatives to track him down&#8212without exception, they feel he’s above reproach.

So why do people who might be involved in his disappearance begin to turn up wounded or dead? Who drives the black Jeep Cherokee and shoots up the dumpster next to Stephanie, warning her that she’s the next target if she doesn’t quit looking for Uncle Mo? And who blew up Ranger’s car?

Never one to rest on a single case (especially a difficult one that takes a long time to solve), Plum is also hunting a deadbeat, Stuart Baggett. The slippery Baggett gets away from her twice, but eventually she takes him down&#8212in the funniest way possible, of course. I won’t spoil it, but it’s guaranteed to earn Stephanie some ribbing from her friends on the force.

This novel also introduces the serial car troubles that enliven later books. Uncle Sandor’s blue Buick isn’t the only car Stephanie will drive&#8212but it’s the only one that seems immune from serial automotive murder! It also adds familial pressure to get married&#8212from both families&#8212to the casual relationship between Plum and Joe Morelli. When Joe’s Aunt Bella uses her “eye” on Plum, the results are scary, in a side-splittingly funny way.

This mingling of serious crime story with hilarious side-bars, running gags, and Plum’s repeated triumph despite a profound lack of bounty-hunter attitude, make this series unique in my experience. No one escapes the punchline, or Plum, not even a rapist, serial murderer, or child pornographer.

One for the Money is the first book, and Two for the Dough is the second. I’ve also read Seven Up&#8212that’s the book that hooked me on Stephanie Plum!

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