Finger Lickin' Fifteen
Lula, Stephanie's over-the-top friend and coworker, comes running into the bail bond office in a terrified state. She just witnessed a man get beheaded. Instead of calling the police she ran into work. Stephanie and Connie convince Lula to call in Stephanie's ex, Joe Morelli from the homicide squad of the Trenton police. She takes him back to the deserted spot, but all that is left is a big blood spot. He has a murder on his hand. Lula has murderers chasing her.
Meanwhile, Ranger is having problems with his home security systems. Someone(s) in breaking into homes with the Rangeman systems installed. They are disabling the alarms, stealing jewels and other selected items, leave the home, and re-enable the alarm system. It is only homes with the Rangeman systems being targeted. First, it's frustrating for Ranger. Second, he's starting to lose business. And most importantly, this is embarrassing to him. He hires Stephanie to work for Rangeman. He wants her to spy on his people because it has to be someone from inside who is committing the thefts. He's hoping Stephanie can figure out who.
Of course Stephanie has her own caseload of skips she has to bring in for the bail bond office. There's Myron Kaplan, the 78-year-old man accused of attacking his dentist. He believes he's in the right and refuses to go to court. There's Ernie Dell, who was in school with Stephanie. He was a firebug then and still is. Cameron Manfred is a harder case. He'd probably rather kill the bond agent than go to court.
There is a reward offered for the barbecue chef who was beheaded. Lula decides to enter a barbecue contest where the hit men are bound to appear. She wants the reward. First, though, she has to develop a barbecue recipe for the contest. She and Grandma Mazur start ruining kitchens with their experiments. After her door is blown apart by the hit men, Lula moves in with Stephanie. So Stephanie moves into to Ranger's apartment while he's out at night patrolling. She and Morelli may be separated, but he still isn't pleased with her new arrangements.
As usual, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novel is scattered with scenes to make the reader laugh out loud. Stephanie finds herself in some ludicrous situations. Lula is being chased by a mental, inept hit man (unless he has a machete to slice off a head). A few cars are lost, barbecues flamed, and Stephanie's dad shakes his head, mutters, and hides in his television.
While this one is cute, it's not great. Perhaps I'm getting jaded, I enjoyed the book. The mystery behind the Rangeman thefts is ingenious. But overall, this isn't one that I'd go out of my way to recommend or re-read. If you're a Stephanie Plum fan, you'll enjoy this book well enough. If you haven't met her, start with another book in the series. (If you're smart, go to the first one.)
Notice: Non-graphic violence, Strong indecent language, Suggestive dialogue or situations
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These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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