Janet Evanovich Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

After Janet Evanovich had written for ten years without selling a single book, she took her collection of rejection letters and burned them in the street. Shortly afterward, a publisher called to buy one of her manuscripts. In 1987, she published her first book, Hero at Large, a romance novel. After publishing twelve romance novels in five years, Evanovich decided to pursue another genre and spent a couple of years doing research. She hired a new agent, began spending time with police officers, and learned how to shoot a gun. One night, while watching Midnight Run (1988), a film about a bounty hunter starring Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin, inspiration struck.

One for the Money, Evanovich’s first Stephanie Plum novel, was published in 1994. Evanovich saw an unfilled need for comedy in mystery and detective fiction. She compares her Stephanie Plum books to the television sitcom Seinfeld (1990-1998). Stephanie Plum, like Jerry Seinfeld, is surrounded by a cast of characters who vie for attention and sometimes almost steal the show. For example, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur enjoys visiting funeral homes on a regular basis to compare the corpses’ cosmetic makeovers, and her African American coworker Lula is a former prostitute fond of short, tight dresses and blond wigs.

The titles of the novels in the Stephanie Plum series contain numbers in sequence: One for the Money, Two for the Dough (1996), Three to Get Deadly (1997), and upward. Each book has gained a wider audience for Evanovich. High Five (1999) was the first of her novels to reach number one on The New York Times best-seller list. Stephanie’s love life, divided between police officer Joe Morelli and Ranger, a mysterious Cuban bounty hunter, plays an important role in the series. Evanovich’s background in romance writing serves her well as the love triangle plays out through the series.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Cochran, Tracy. “Jersey Janet Takes on the World: The Creator of the Stephanie Plum Series Branches Out.” Publishers Weekly 250, no. 26 (June 30, 2003): 40-43. Discusses the setting for the Stephanie Plum series and marketing attempts to brand the series through the author’s Web site and various formats.

Evanovich, Janet. “Three to Get Deadly: An Interview with Janet Evanovich, Creator of the Stephanie Plum Novels.” Interview by Pamela James. The Armchair Detective 30, no. 1 (1997): 50-52. A discussion of Evanovich’s first three Plum novels, including her inspiration for the series and writing habits.

Janet Evanovich Online. http://www.evanovich.com. This lively Web site designed and run by the author’s daughter provides information on the novels, a short biography, book signing dates, and games.

Nussbaum, Debra. “Imagine Trenton. One Author Did.” The New York Times, November 3, 2002, p. 14NJ4. Discusses the author’s family, her home in New Hampshire, and her similarities with Stephanie Plum.

Papinchak, Robert Allen. “Janet Evanovich: It’s All in the Family.” Writer 115, no. 8 (August, 2002): 34-37. Discusses her struggles as a beginning writer and her influences, including Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge and Junie B. Jones.

Plagens, Peter. “Standing in the Line of Fire: Best-Selling Author Janet Evanovich Faces Down a Critic.” Newsweek, July 5, 2004, p. 56. Presents Evanovich on the occasion of her tenth Stephanie Plum novel and discusses the simplicity of her writing style and the percentages of women versus men who read her novels.

Stern, Kate. “Evanovich, Janet.” Current Biography 62, no. 4 (April, 2001): 23-26. A biography of Evanovich that deals with her childhood and what motivates her to write.

Wilson, Leah, ed. Perfectly Plum: An Unauthorized Celebration of the Life, Loves, and Other Disasters of Stephanie Plum, Trenton Bounty Hunter. Dallas: BenBella Books, 2007. Largely positive essays that analyze the Plum series from the perspective of chick lit and examine Plum’s propensity for wrecking cars and ability to attract men.