by Janet Evanovich
In this fifth entry in Janet Evanovich's increasingly popular series, Stephanie's problems are many and varied. She's not making enough money picking up FTAs (Failures to Appear) for her cousin Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds; her red-hot love affair with Detective Joe Morelli has cooled off; and her giant extended family is no help at all. For instance, Uncle Fred the cheapskate has disappeared, leaving behind some suspicious photographs of body parts in garbage bags and links to some really dangerous people.
When Stephanie turns to her friend and mentor, Ranger, for financial advice, he gets her involved in a gang of toughs doing instant evictions for landlords. (She complains to Ranger about the job and its dangers, prompting one of the hired thug to say, "Man, you don't like to get shot. You don't like to get arrested. You don't know how to have fun at all.")
Most of Stephanie's charm, of course, comes from her attitude--a combination of the brazen bravado that turns a failed lingerie model into a bounty hunter in the first place and the normal fears of a person in over her head.
High Five gets a high five from me. This book has really stepped up the Morelli/Ranger tug of war and was probably the book that divided the fans into two different camps. Janet was genius to morph Ranger into this character that competes for Stephanie’s affection. Otherwise she could have run the risk of fans becoming tired of Morelli and Stephanie not getting together without just cause. Add Ranger into the mix, and you have a recipe for a wicked steamy triangle where scores of fans pick sides.
High Five offers you lots of meaty content to choose sides from. In one camp you have Morelli telling Stephanie that he loves her and even drops a few marriage comments and then in the other corner you have Ranger becoming increasing flirtatious in a mysterious sexy manner. He gives her something to think about by planting an incredibly sexy kiss. I love the fact that Janet uses a whole different set of adjectives and descriptions to share his seducing mannerisms. There is a different sexy Morelli style altogether.
Early on in the book I was wondering where exactly the Ranger story was going. I enjoyed that Stephanie’s best friend Mary Lou came into the mix. Their telephone conversation to decipher what Ranger wanted in exchange for the expensive car borrowing was priceless and offered a lot of clarity on what Stephanie was thinking. If Stephanie was a real person, I would have had the same conversation with her that Mary Lou did. Kudos again to Janet for writing it down for us.
Just to add to the mix, we get introduced to Terry Gilman which allows us to see a new side to Stephanie. Her jealous side was amusing to read. On the flip side, we were treated to a little bit of Morelli’s jealous side when he was starting to understand that Ranger was coming into the picture a little more than usual. I was enjoying reading it all.
Okay enough about the drama of the love triangles, (although I am a big fan of the triangles) let’s talk about the story. With Stephanie taking jobs from Ranger, we were treated to some really great legendary scenes. I just adore the situations that Stephanie gets herself into. No wonder she is such an amusement to Ranger. This book was also the first time we were introduced to Tank. What is a Stephanie Plum book without a few side splitting Grandma Mazur scenes? Taken pictures of the dead body during the fake fire alarm was bang on Grandma Mazur style. In my opinion, High Five offered the funniest Grandma Mazur scene of all her books. When Grandma Mazur shocked Stephanie’s dad with the stun gun, I laughed so hard my contacts swam out of my eyes.
I got the heebie geebies when Benito Ramirez was brought back. He is one scary villain.
The Uncle Fred plot line as certainly a mystery and as usual the unsuspecting true villain was a surprise to me. The only thing I really didn’t care for in the book was how the villain explains the entire story just before getting ready to shoot Stephanie. That confession move is such a cliché. I prefer Janet’s other creative ways for the true story to be explained. However I did like that she wrote Stephanie having better instincts in this book in regards to figuring out the mystery and the true identify to Bunchy. I think even Morelli had to be impressed that Stephanie figured out more than him. All in all, High Five a great book and certainly set the presence for the triangle in her following books. Oh yeah, High Five had the best cliff hanger ever. I think I would have died if I couldn’t have found out right away by reading Hot Six who Stephanie had called on the phone.