The bounty hunting business in Trenton, NJ, is off --- way off. People are showing up for their court appearances, which means that our Bounty Hunter from Hell, Stephanie Plum, is coming up against her rent empty-handed. Never let it be said that Stephanie isn't creative. She decides to broaden her horizons. Stretch her opportunities. Look for greener pastures. With Ranger.
Ranger, the man with a past and no last name, Stephanie's mentor and sometime-savior in all four Evanovich mysteries, is ever lurking in the shadows, tantalizing, seductive and vaguely threatening. His source of income and extravagant cars have remained a mystery until HIGH FIVE when Stephanie reluctantly joins the payroll of RangerMan Enterprises. In Ranger's employ and in the company of men who look like recruiting posters for a SWAT team, she learns a new way to redecorate and chauffeurs an adolescent Arab prince whose hormones are running rampant, while she does some pro-bono family snooping to find out what happened to her missing Uncle Fred.
HIGH FIVE includes all the regulars --- Grandma Mazur, Stephanie's long-suffering father and mother, her best friend Mary Lou, Lulu, Joe Morelli and Cousin Vinnie. And where would Ms. Plum be without her indestructible '53 blue and white Buick?
After guffawing my way through her first four books, I now almost dare Evanovich to make me laugh. Early in the book I smiled and chuckled, but I was wondering where the real laughs were. Well --- she doesn't disappoint. I exploded in laughter when she loses another car in a spectacular manner. I don't want to spoil it for you, but suffice it to say, Evanovich has ascended new heights in vehicular mayhem.
All in all, HIGH FIVE is a satisfying, page-turning read --- I polished it off in a short day. And the cliff-hanger ending leads us to believe that number six is well under way. I had to scratch my head a little over the title, but when you've saddled yourself with a numerical sequence, like Sue Grafton did with her Alphabet soup series, you have to stretch your imagination. Wonder what number six will be called?
Janet --- you go, girl --- it's great to have another book to look forward to.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on June 15, 2000