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File:StephaniePlumOneForTheMoney 949.jpg

The misadventures of a Jersey Girl Bounty Hunter, her fat former prostitute Sassy Black Best Friend, her Italian-American cop sometimes boyfriend, her Cuban-American Bounty Hunter/mercenary sometimes boyfriend, her sex-crazed widowed grandmother, and quite a few other people.

Cars explode frequently.

This is a series of 18 (so far) novels, helpfully numbered via their titles:

  • One For The Money
  • Two For The Dough
  • Three To Get Deadly, etc.

The latest is Explosive Eighteen.

There are also four "between the numbers" books, with a slightly more paranormal slant (but still as hilarious as the rest of the series), with titles based on the word "Plum" and various holiday themes (so far, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Halloween).

The books are pretty funny, with surreal humour, exploding cars, the weirdness that is Grandma Mazur and some take-downs gone very dodgy.

A film based on the first book was released in January 2012 with Katherine Heigl as Stephanie.

A spinoff series focusing on Diesel (who appears in the "between the numbers" books) is also underway. The first book, Wicked Appetite, was released in September 2010. The second book, Wicked Business, will be released in June 2012.


This series includes examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Stephanie has a lot of these, due to financial constraints.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Stephanie's juggling two of them - Joe, her childhood crush turned sexy cop; and Ranger, ex-Special Forces Batman-esque badass.
    • The books make a point about Joe being much more responsible than he used to be. Stephanie herself notes that Morelli isn't as much of a bad boy anymore.
      • In the between-the-numbers books, there's also Diesel, who has bad-boy characteristics.
  • Anything That Moves: Vinnie. Seriously. The man once screwed a duck. Maybe.
  • A-Team Firing: Most of the time Lula and Stephanie can't hit their target, but do lots of property damage instead. Justified by neither of them having any training at all with firearms (Stephanie has repeatedly refused efforts by her boyfriends to teach her) and both usually being in a complete panic any time a situation that actually requires firepower comes up. Sometimes Stephanie gets lucky, though.
  • Ate His Gun: Larry Lipinski after he kills his co-worker, Martha Deeter.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking "Hard to feel lucky when I've just let a depressed senior citizen slip through my fingers, found a dead woman in his shed, and sat through dinner with my parents."
  • Amateur Sleuth: In practice, she's more amateur detective than bounty hunter. She only starts investigating because of her bounties, but sometimes she is asked to find missing people.
  • Auto Erotica: An interesting version when Stephanie, in an unintentional and literal version, climaxed when she rode a Harley Davidson for the first time.
    • Stephanie has also caught one of her bounties in flagrante delicto in the backseat of their car.
    • And a slight aversion: Stephanie and Morelli almost do it in a car until she finds out he bugged her. That's when she leaves him in a bad neighborhood with no pants. But then she comes back and gives him his gun.
  • Badass Family: The Morellis. They're a hard-drinkin', hard-fightin' bunch. They men either become cops or criminals. The women are long-suffering and tough. Then there's Grandma Bella...
  • Berserk Button: For Stephanie, a certain word. For Lula, calling her "fat".
  • Betty and Veronica: With her childhood friend Morelli being the Betty, and Ranger being a mega-Veronica.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Lula.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Since Stephanie is often in distress, Ranger and/or Morelli have to come in and save her. A notable one is in Ten Big Ones, where Transvestite/Schoolbus Driver/Singer Salvatore "Sally" Sweet sees Stephanie being abducted by a gang. He swoops in on his bus, squishing a third of the gang and mowing down another third with an Uzi causing the remainder to scatter.
  • Big Eater: Lula, Bob, Stephanie (especially with regards to cake), Valerie (Stephanie's sister) when pregnant, and possibly Morelli.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Bob. Very friendly, as his greeting involves sticking his nose into your crotch. Eats a lot everything.
  • Black Best Friend: Lula, a very fat former prostitute, who managed to stop one skip resisting by sitting on him. This proved effective enough she's done it a few more times since.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Averted with a Lampshade Hanging - when a cop is shot and Stephanie has to stop the bleeding with her shirt, she notes that she was glad she was wearing a sports bra.
  • Bounty Hunter: Stephanie isn't so good at being one. Ranger is, and serves as Stephanie's mentor. Lula likes to say she's one, but she's terrible at it and it messes up her wardrobe too much.
  • But You Screw One Goat!: Vinnie doesn't stop at one, species or number. There's also a persistent rumor about Joyce being rather fond of dogs.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Spectacularly averted - whenever Stephanie is in serious physical danger, she loses all of her Deadpan Snarker ways and becomes a crying, terrified wreck.
    • She's much more in control when she's only being threatened, but often collapses into a blubbering mess after.
    • Ranger is a straight example--he seems pretty much completely calm and in control in every situation up to and including shoot-outs, except for the time his daughter was threatened; even then, his composure was only mildly shaken, though he did manage to get himself shot.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Nearly every sentence out of Sally Sweet's mouth, and occasionally by other characters.
  • Cool Car: Uncle Sandor's Buick. Guys love it (and have said the exact same phrase about it), and it's indestructible to boot. Stephanie doesn't share their opinion on the Buick's inherent coolness, because it guzzles gas like there's no tomorrow. However, she does appreciate the car's indestructibility, and on at least one occasion deliberately uses it.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma Mazur, of course.
  • Cop Boyfriend: Joe Morelli
  • Cross Dresser: Sally Sweet. He plays it for laughs, being in a band full of 'em. Has expressed an interest in making his act wholesome.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Occurs with some regularity in the books. Stephanie herself admits to sampling the pleasures of the shower massage. Also, Lula and Joyce are apparently vibrator connoisseurs. Stephanie gets saddled with buying a rather impressive model that even garners Joyce's respect.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Connie, most of the time. Ranger, though most people don't see it coming and it causes spit-takes and choking.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Sugar, in Four to Score. He lives with "Sally", and is in love with him. He tries to kill Stephanie because he believes she's stealing his boyfriend (when there's no actual relationship, as Sally is straight).
    • Sugar was convinced that he was convincing Sally to try "batting for the other team."
  • Differently-Powered Individual: This is the theme in the between the numbers books, where, allegedly, people have different powers. The main antagonist in Sugar Plums calls lightning, or is implied to. Diesel calls them "Unmentionables", or something to that extent. It isn't even explicit what their powers come from, whether they're magical, psychic, or comicbook-style superpowers. There's some lighthearted talk about "cosmic juju", though.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Oh, Grandma Mazur. Much to the consternation of both of Stephanie's parents, who seem to have to listen to one of her descriptions of her love life every other dinner.
  • Discretion Shot: The literary version, with at least two cases of make-out scenes stopping abruptly when the male partner to Stephanie reaches her groin area.
    • In the movie, Stephanie gets naked and handcuffed to a shower and is just barely covered by the shower curtain, also an old man who likes to "expose himself" is covered by conveneniently placed objects, thank goodness
  • Distressed Damsel: Stephanie, at the climax of almost every book.
    • Surprisingly inverted in the film, as she manages to knock a guy to the ground and handcuff him after he shoots Ranger, she pepper sprays Benito Ramirez while he's fighting Joe, allowing him to knock out Benito, and when Big Bad Jimmy Alpha has Stephanie and Joe cornered and is planning to kill them, Stephanie knocks him down and he shoots her in the ass, but it barely slows her down and she manages to grab a gun from her purse and promptly shoots Jimmy in the chest five times in a row
  • Drag Queen: Sally, Sugar, and their band. While Sugar is actually gay, Sally only likes to take advantage of the aesthetic.
  • Drives Like Crazy: After finally getting her driver's license, Grandma racked up enough traffic violations to lose it again in five days.
  • Cars Blowing Up: A Running Gag. At least once per book.
    • Except for the Buick. It is basically indestructible, unlike the things it runs into. If it had bulletproof windows, Stephanie would be invulnerable in it. Too bad she hates driving it.
      • In one of the books it not only has a bomb planted on it (which fails to go off), Stephanie also uses it as a battering ram. The Buick incurred no damage whatsoever beyond small scratches to the paint. The other car was almost totaled.
    • In the ninth book, her car doesn't blow up, but this gag is lampshaded by one of Grandma Bella's so-called visions.
    • By the thirteenth book, Steph finds out that all the Rangeman guys have been taking bets on when she'll blow up the next car. Ranger writes the ever-increasing cost off in his budget under "entertainment".
  • Mr. Fanservice: In order of increasing hotness (or so the reader is told): Diesel, Morelli, and Ranger.
  • Everything's Better with Bob: From the reader's perspective, certainly. From Stephanie's too, as he often fertilizes Joyce's lawn.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Bob. He eats just about whatever smells good, including furniture and car parts.
  • Fair Cop: Joe Morelli, as most of Trenton's female population will attest.
  • Fake Static: Stephanie does this on several occasions to either Morelli or her mother.
  • Farts on Fire / Fartillery: Elmer the Fire Farter in Plum Spooky. He blew up an entire mine with one misplaced fart.
  • First-Person Smartass: Oh god...
  • Friend on the Force: When Stephanie isn't on speaking terms with Morelli, she goes to one of her best friends, Eddie Gazarra, for inside information. He is conveniently married to her cousin, Shirley The Whiner.
  • Food as Bribe: Stephanie's mother is a very good cook, and can persuade Stephanie to do something in exchange for a hot meal and lots of leftovers. When that fails, cake never does.
  • The Fun in Funeral: Grandma Mazur likes to attend viewings at the local funeral home and gets annoyed when it's a closed coffin viewing. She has on several occasions tried to open said coffin.
    • Or the time that the funeral home got blown up.
  • Good Looking Privates: Ranger is ex-military, and very good looking.
    • There's also Ranger's "merry men", the Rangeman employees like Tank and Lester, who are ex-military and good-looking (just ask Lula).
  • Groin Attack: Happens often enough that Stephanie has taken to calling it her Signature Move.
  • Heroic BSOD: Played for Laughs (mostly) When Tank gets engaged to Lula, he spends the next few weeks mildly stunned.
  • I Am Big Boned: Lula. Sometimes she goes for Fat and Proud instead, but this is rarer.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most of the books have a number in the title, and they're sequential. There are four "between the numbers" books with holiday themes and the word "Plum" in their titles.
  • In-Series Nickname: Ranger's pet name for Stephanie, "Babe". Morelli calls her "Cupcake".
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: It's Stephanie's Trademark Favorite Food.
  • Joisey: Set almost exclusively in Trenton.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: Benito Ramirez and his Stark Street gym.
  • Long Running Book Series
  • The Mafia, The Mafiya, The Cartel, The Triads and the Tongs, Yakuza, and Gang-Bangers: Basically most organized (and disorganized) crime makes an appearance in Trenton.

 ...Trenton. In the old days, it would have been a prize, but the old days were gone and the Mob no longer exclusively ran Trenton. The Mob had to share the Trenton pie with Russian thugs, kid gangs, Asian triads, black and Hispanic gangstas.

    • Also, Connie, whose uncle is a notorious Jersey mafioso, and Vinnie's wife, whose father is mafia, too.
  • Mary Kellys Kidney: Body parts get chopped off sometimes when threats have to be made.
  • Narrator: Stephanie herself.
  • No Name Given: Diesel. It's unclear whether it's First, Last, or Nickname.
  • Not a Morning Person: Stephanie. She thinks 5am is the middle of the night. Some of her associates disagree, with drastic consequences for Stephanie's sleep cycle and mood. Ranger is a repeat offender.
    • Diesel from the between the numbers books isn't fond of mornings either.
  • ~Of Corpse He's Alive~
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. A large number of first names appear twice throughout the series - Joe, Bob, Susan, even strange ones like Sandor.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Ranger. He does have a legal name (Carlos Manoso), but no one calls him that.
  • Psycho Sidekick: Ranger, though whenever they work together Stephanie usually ends up being his sidekick rather than the other way around. He's somewhat less psycho than most other examples.
    • Lula, with her penchant for tasering everything in sight.
  • Rape as Drama: Benito Ramirez rapes and beats Lula, then cuffs her to Stephanie's fire escape. This is what convinces Lula to stop being a 'ho.
  • Road Apples: As mentioned above, Bob eats everything. That has to go somewhere, and Stephanie decides that Joyce's front lawn makes an ideal toilet. Vinnie's staff, with the obvious exception of Joyce, approves.
  • Sanity Ball: Half the time, Steph is boggled by the sheer weirdness of her nearest and dearest. The other half the time, they're boggling at her.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Lula again.
    • Jackie in the film as well.
  • Sassy Secretary: Office manager Connie, who has been known to threaten lecherous boss Vinnie with assorted bodily harm.
  • Sexy Secretary: Connie, again.

  Stephanie: Connie is Italian through and through. Her hair is jet black, her lipstick is fire-engine red, and her body is va-va-voom.

 Diesel: You kicked him in the nuts again, didn't you?

Stephanie: It's my Signature Move.

  • Sir Swearsalot: Sally Sweet.
  • Stun Guns: As in the direct contact sort, used for comedy, especially when Grandma Mazur tazes people.
  • Sweet Tooth: Stephanie loves cake. And doughnuts. And eclairs.
  • The Rival: Stephanie caught her then-new and now-ex husband Dickie Orr doing the nasty on the dinner table with Joyce Barnhardt. Since Joyce was hired by Vinnie, she now has to compete with her. Joyce often gets her comeuppance, though.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Stephanie and cake. And Tastykakes, which even made their way into the movie when Morelli wonders how Stephanie can live on them.
  • The Unintelligible: The thug in the rabbit costume in Hard Eight. "Ga rogga!," indeed.
  • Will They or Won't They?: The very, very on-off relationship between Stephanie and Morelli as to whether they'll hook up permanently.
    • Also, the very, very on-off relationship between Stephanie and Ranger, considering how jealous Morelli gets when bad-guy circumstances force Steph to crash at Ranger's.
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