The Queen of Quirky encounters her very own Christmas elves in a Stephanie Plum holiday romp.
It's four days before Christmas and Stephanie is waking up over a cup of coffee, making her holiday to-do list, when a strange man pops into her kitchen. No surprise here --- she's encountered many a strange man in her apartment; in her bedroom, hiding in closets or the shower, rummaging through her refrigerator or lounging on her couch. One was even dead. But this guy quite literally pops in --- POOF.
He's as surprised as she is, although Stephanie's terrified and he's just puzzled. Alien? Psycho ward escapee? Fairy Godfather?
Diesel --- his only name --- is hunky in a grungy sort of way, but aren't most of Stephanie's men? Lula will observe later, "That man is fine. I don't know where you find these guys, but it isn't fair. You got the market cornered on hot!"
When Stephanie checks in with her Cousin Vinny for a bounty hunting assignment, she's given a bond skipper named Sandor Clausen, aka Sandy Claws. She's hunting down Sandy Claws, and so is Diesel. He sticks to her like tinsel from a cheap Christmas tree. If she manages to lose him in a mall, he materializes in her car. At least when she wakes up the second morning to find him standing by her bed, he has the decency to bring coffee for two.
Meanwhile, Stephanie's about as ready for Christmas as she was for her thwarted wedding to Joe Morelli, her long-time on-again off-again love. Everybody's making holiday plans but her, and she's starting to panic. Mom's secretly nipping Four Roses in a corner of the kitchen over Valerie's new crisis, Grandma Mazur is dating a spry younger stud muffin and Morelli's so busy apprehending holiday perps and tracking down the source of mysterious power outages that his encounters with Stephanie are reduced to voice mails and brief encounters at car fires and elf riots.
There is no number in the title of this novella, but VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS is not your usual Stephanie Plum mystery. And if you think you're not prepared for the holidays this season, wait until you hear Stephanie's problems! We should all have a Christmas Fairy Godfather like Diesel!
If you want to give more than a book, here are some gift suggestions to pair with this: Since fans know that Stephanie has a sweet tooth, think about a can of King Leo peppermints, or if you'd like something a bit more kitsch, go for a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts decorated for the holidays.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on November 16, 2003