"Uncle Fred was someone I saw at weddings and funerals and once in a while at Giovichinni's Meat Market, ordering a quarter pound of olive loaf. Eddie Such, the butcher, would have the olive loaf on the scale and Uncle Fred would say, 'You've got the olive loaf on a piece of waxed paper. How much does that piece of waxed paper weigh? You're not gonna charge me for that waxed paper, are you? I want some money off for the waxed paper.'"
The speaker is Stephanie Plum, the glamorous if slightly ditzy bounty hunter from Trenton, New Jersey, and one of the most original creations in recent mystery fiction.
In this fifth entry in Janet Evanovich's increasingly popular series, Stephanie's problems are many and varied. She's not making enough money picking up FTAs (Failures to Appear) for her cousin Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds; her red-hot love affair with Detective Joe Morelli has cooled off; and her giant extended family is no help at all. For instance, Uncle Fred the cheapskate has disappeared, leaving behind some suspicious photographs of body parts in garbage bags and links to some really dangerous people.
When Stephanie turns to her friend and mentor, Ranger, for financial advice, he gets her involved in a gang of toughs doing instant evictions for landlords. (She complains to Ranger about the job and its dangers, prompting one of the hired thug to say, "Man, you don't like to get shot. You don't like to get arrested. You don't know how to have fun at all.")
Most of Stephanie's charm, of course, comes from her attitude--a combination of the brazen bravado that turns a failed lingerie buyer into a bounty hunter in the first place and the normal fears of a person in over her head.