On Stephanie Plum

The "N" in New Jersey Stands for Noir

By Amy Garvey

I’m a card-carrying, lifelong book addict. If you catch me out and about minus a book in my bag, it’s a sure sign the world is ending. Even so, there are a lot of books out there, you know? (And I do know, because some days it seems like half of them are in the towering to-be-read pile, more correctly called a tower, that lives in my bedroom. And has spawned several offspring in other parts of the house.) Somehow, despite the fact that I lived for nine years just across the river from Trenton and love kick-ass heroines, it took me a while to find Stephanie Plum.

I’m not sure what I was expecting. Fun, certainly. A little romance, a little sex, a little action, all of which are right up my alley when it comes to a good read. I mean, how can you go wrong with a female bounty hunter trying to manage both her love life and the criminal element? But after I dug in deeper, I realized I’d found something with a whole lot more meat to it than the pop-art bright covers and catchy titles suggested. I’d found a twisted, funny as hell take on the time-honored noir genre–and I loved it.

What’s noir? Noir means “black” in French, and that’s really the best place to start. Noir is black, and not only because the original films that defined the genre were shot in black and white. Noir is an attitude–and we all know Stephanie and  …

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