On Stephanie Plum

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Why Stephanie Always Goes Back Home
By Candace Havens

Whoever said you could never go home again obviously hadn’t met Stephanie.

The Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter visits her parents’ two-story, yellow duplex at least once a week. Some weeks it’s for a good meal and a sugar fix; other times she needs information. Then there are days when she just needs to be with them, even though these people drive her crazy.

While she’d probably loathe admitting it out loud, family is important to Stephanie Plum. That’s why we almost always meet her kin and travel at least briefly to the Burg in the first twenty-five pages of every book. It’s the moment we all discover that she’s just like the rest of us, and that’s what makes her character so relatable.

I have an eccentric family myself. Stephanie has her wannabe gun-slinging Grandma Mazur who wears neon colors and flirts with men a third her age. I have Harley-riding Grandma Helen, who gets her hair done every week, just in case she meets “someone special.” She’s eighty-six.

Stephanie has a father who hides behind the newspaper, mumbles a great deal, and retreats to the bathroom when crises hit. This is a familiar ritual in my parents’ home. My dad is a great guy, but when things get tough, the tough head for the toilet.

The bounty hunter also has a passive-aggressive mother who, despite wanting Steph around, never approves of her looks, job choice, or anything else for that matter–she wishes Steph would get a job at  …

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