Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books are a series of mystery suspense novels following (you guessed it) Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter with an attitude. Each book in the 27-book series works as a standalone novel, meaning you can read the books in any order and have an enjoyable reading experience. Each story is its own thrilling mystery with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. This is great news if you want to have many exciting books to choose from. Not so great news if you’re not sure where to start.
Which of the Stephanie Plum books you should start with really depends on what you’re looking for, what kind of reader you are, and what you’re in the mood to read about. So with that in mind, here are six Stephanie Plum books you might want to read first, depending on what you want.
If you want to start from the beginning: Maybe you’re a completist and you really just want to read the whole series from start to finish. Or maybe you just really like starting with the foundations of a series before reading whatever book you want next. If that sounds like you, then you’ll want to start with the book that started it all, 1994’s One for the Money. After Stephanie Plum loses her job as a department store lingerie buyer, she does what anyone who is desperate to pay rent would do. She becomes a bounty hunter. But Stephanie’s not just out there taking any job. She’s going after the big money, which is how she ends up going after Joe Morelli, a disgraced former cop. But it’s not only money on the line with this one. It’s pride. Joe took Stephanie’s virginity at age 16 and wrote all the details on the bathroom wall. This target’s personal.
If you’re looking for the highest-rated Stephanie Plum novel: Why save the best for last? Based on ratings, readers love High Five the most, so you might as well start there. In the fifth novel in Janet Evanovich’s series, Stephanie Plum’s Uncle Fred has gone missing, and her grandmother is sure he’s been abducted by aliens. Meanwhile, her cousin is asking her to bring in Randy Briggs, who’s recently jumped bail. But Randy’s not coming without a fight.
If you want the sexiest book: Romance is a big part of many of the Stephanie Plum books, but if you’re looking for the steamiest, readers recommend Four to Score. In this book, Joe Morelli, vice cop and Stephanie’s ex-lover, invites Stephanie to move in with him for a short time. The tension between Stephanie and Joe has been building throughout the first three books in the series, and in this, the fourth novel, all of that sexual tension finally comes to a head.
If you’re looking for romance: Like sexy books, but love romance? Start with Hot Six. In this book, Stephanie Plum’s love triangle with Joe Morelli and Ranger takes center stage. And someone might even drop the L-word in this one. On top of that, this novel has a thrilling storyline, laugh-out-loud moments, and even a Star Trek party. Truly, this book has a little something for everyone, but if you’re here for the romance, this one is especially for you.
If you’re looking for an especially thrilling page-turner: The Stephanie Plum books are mystery thriller stories first and foremost. So maybe you want to start with the most thrilling page-turner of the series. If so, go with Twelve Sharp, a novel that’s described as “Janet Evanovich's wildest, hottest novel yet.” In Twelve Sharp, Stephanie makes the shocking discovery that a stranger is stalking her. The stalker is a crazed woman dressed in black, and she has a mysterious connection to Ranger.
If you want the latest Stephanie Plum novel: With so many Stephanie Plum stories to choose from, maybe you just want to start with the newest one. When Stephanie Plum is woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of footsteps in her apartment, she wishes she didn’t keep her gun in the cookie jar in her kitchen. And when she finds out the intruder is fellow apprehension agent Diesel, six feet of hard muscle and bad attitude who she hasn’t seen in more than two years, she still thinks the gun might come in handy.
Turns out Diesel and Stephanie are on the trail of the same fugitive: Oswald Wednesday, an international computer hacker as brilliant as he is ruthless. Stephanie may not be the most technologically savvy sleuth, but she more than makes up for that with her dogged determination, her understanding of human nature, and her willingness to do just about anything to bring a fugitive to justice. Unsure if Diesel is her partner or her competition in this case, she’ll need to watch her back every step of the way as she sets the stage to draw Wednesday out from behind his computer and into the real world.