Title: Hard Eight (A Stephanie Plum Novel)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: Like new, unread
Dust Jacket Condition: Like New
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: First Edition.
Signed by author without inscription. First edition with full number line. Bookseller Inventory # 8-3-16
Synopsis: Stephanie Plum, the bombshell bounty hunter from New Jersey, already has problems. Her relationship with Joe Morelli is so complicated it's now over. Plus, her attractive, if terrifying, mentor and tormentor Ranger has decided he's ready to collect his reward. But Steph can always count on her family to add to her troubles. When her mother and Grandma gang up to insist she finds their neighbour's missing granddaughter Evelyn and her child Annie, Steph can't refuse. Mabel Markowitz signed a custody bond guaranteeing Annie would stay in Trenton after her parents' divorce. Now Evelyn and Annie have vanished, Mabel will lose her house to a bail bonds agency. Where have they gone? What does property lord and war game fanatic, Eddie Abruzzi really want? And why is a giant rabbit stalking Steph?
Review: In Hard Eight, Stephanie Plum picks up a case a little nastier than anything the wisecracking bounty hunter's seen before. Evelyn Soder and her young daughter have gone on the run, leaving an angry ex-husband who's planning to collect on a child custody bond that will leave Evelyn's grandmother homeless. Stephanie's first clue that there's more to it than that comes in the form of Eddie Abruzzi: a shady local businessman who warns her to butt out of the case. Stephanie doesn't scare easily, but when Abruzzi's henchmen leave a bag of snakes on her doorknob and tarantulas in her car, she has no choice but to call Ranger, the hunky man of mystery to whom she already owes too many favours. Steph knows that Ranger will soon be calling in his debts, but with her ex-fiancé Joe Morelli out of the picture, that should be OK--shouldn't it?
In the meantime, she's got other fugitives to catch, aided by the usual band of misfits, plus a bumbling correspondence-school lawyer who's developed the hots for Stephanie's sister, Valerie. And Steph's in for a surprise from her mother, who proves she's not above wielding a dangerous weapon to save her daughter's life. Author Janet Evanovich has made a bold move in using a soupçon of child jeopardy to pull this series out of the comfortable but formulaic pattern it was threatening to fall into. It's still funny, and yes, some cars are destroyed, but now there's a real edge of darkness under the humour. Fans needn't fear, though: Jersey girl Stephanie is still full of sass and Tastykakes. --Barrie Trinkle, Amazon.com
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