One day, life is normal and you’re a single, attractive
female bounty hunter babysitting a friend’s monkey and
chasing down bail bond jumpers in a used Jeep armed with a can of
mace and a set of handcuffs. You come home looking forward to a
night of pizza, beer and TV with your boyfriend. The boyfriend has
left a message on your cell phone that he is babysitting his kid
brother who has been kicked out by his wife, so he won’t be
over. Then you spot a pair of strange men’s boots in your
living room and 6’3” of blonde, blue-eyed muscle
sprawled on your bed.
Stephanie Plum is a hunk magnet. She already has Joe Morelli and
Ranger, two of Trenton’s most eligible bachelor law
enforcement types, wrapped around her little finger. Morelli and
Stephanie have been an item since they were in high school. His
family and hers consider it a matter of time before they make it
legal. They have nearly made it to the altar twice, but life gets
in their way.
Ranger, the mysterious Cuban surveillance company executive,
could be called “life” as in life force, but he’s
not really the problem. In fact, Morelli has Ranger pretty
much pigeon-holed in Stephanie’s life as a colleague.
He’s dangerous and great backup in emergencies and was a
potential threat as a romantic rival at one time, but Morelli and
Ranger have sorted things out where Stephanie is concerned. Mostly.
Then there’s Diesel. He has everybody spooked. Who is he?
What is he? And how does he walk through walls? Diesel tends to
show up around holidays. With Stephanie’s help he defused
some Christmas elves who got out of hand, a not-so-lucky
leprechaun, and a romance writer with larceny in her lonely
He is the designated plug puller on a class of super-human
individuals known among themselves as the
Unmentionables. There are rules of engagement among
Unmentionables, but when one of them gets carried away, tosses the
rule book aside and jumps the fence, Diesel is summoned to fix
things. Since Diesel and Stephanie have worked together on a couple
of incidents, he takes Stephanie’s hospitality for granted.
This time, it’s Diesel’s close relative, Berwulf
Grimoire, aka Wulf, who has come up with a plan to control the
One of Stephanie’s bail jumpers is a nerdy physics whiz
named Munch, wanted for stealing a magnetometer from a Trenton lab.
When she and her sidekick Lula try to collar the skinny little guy,
he nips out the pet door of his house and the chase is on. It turns
out that the magnetometer Munch stole is exactly what Wulf needs to
complete his weather control device, hidden in a secret facility in
the Jersey Barrens, a wildland just outside Trenton.
Anyone who has read a Stephanie Plum novel knows that as soon as
her latest set of wheels is introduced, something ballistic is in
sight and her insurance rates are going up again. Using the Jeep to
navigate the Jersey barrens in a monsoon storm proves to be an
adventure for Stephanie, Carl, the pet monkey in her charge, Lula
and a number of woodland creatures, leading to a classic Stephanie
Plum demolition derby event.
Morelli quite literally phones it in during the three-day
madness when Stephanie is in more danger than ever before at the
hands of the murderous Wulf as she pursues Munch through the Jersey
Barrens. Out of cell phone range and the car with Ranger’s
tracer left behind, Stephanie is left to her own devices in the
forest primeval. If, after reading this book you are tempted to go
out and get a pet monkey as cute as Carl for a pet, think twice.
Just because Carl can play Super Mario Brothers on a hand-held
computer doesn't mean they all can.
PLUM SPOOKY is the fourth installment in the
Between-the-Numbers series with more certain to
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 18, 2011