Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum Series #18)

( 1260 )

Overview

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
 
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a...

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Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum Series #18)

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Overview

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.
 
Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. And a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying.
 
Only one other person has seen the missing photo—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back.
 
Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. The bonds bus serving as Vinnie’s temporary HQ goes up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls in love with their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?
 
Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii.  And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.

The hardcover edition of Explosive Eighteen contains a tear-out calendar inside! 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Life is never dull for Stephanie Plum, but now she's got an assassin and the FBI on her tail in Evanovich's less than stellar 18th entry in her main sequence featuring the New Jersey bounty hunter (after Smokin' Seventeen). Back in Trenton after a disastrous trip to Hawaii that involved both Ranger and Joe Morelli (don't ask, she won't talk), Stephanie tries to go about life in the bond business, accompanied as always by her sidekick, Lula. But Hawaii won't stay buried, especially when news that her seatmate turned up murdered and his killers are convinced that Stephanie now has a photograph he was carrying. With Stephanie's luck, the photograph did end up in her luggage, but she threw it away, thinking it was junk. But try telling that to the FBI—and the shady men masquerading agents—or the hit man who goes by Razzle Dazzle and wants to kill her and take the photograph, not necessarily in that order. There are still bond jumpers to catch—like Buggy, who repeatedly steals Stephanie's car—and the perpetual Morelli versus Ranger question to answer. In the end, there's little to distinguish this installment from its recent predecessors. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Janet Evanovich
 
“No less than her plotting, Evanovich’s characterizations are models of screwball artistry. . . . The intricate plot machinery of her comic capers is fueled by inventive twists.”—The New York Times
 
“[Evanovich’s novels are] among the great joys of contemporary crime fiction.”—GQ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345527738
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/15/2012
  • Series: Stephanie Plum Series , #18
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 34,514
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Janet  Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and graphic novels, Wicked Appetite (the first book in the Lizzy and Diesel series), and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author.

Biography

When plucky Stephanie Plum lost her job as a lingerie buyer, she had little other choice than to take a position working for her cousin Vinnie's bail-bonds office where she'd spend her days and nights hunting down fugitives, solving mysteries, and falling ass-backwards into adventure. Come to think of it, Ms. Plum has more than a little in common with her creator Janet Evanovich.

Much like the panty-pushing Plum, Evanovich once made her trade in erotica as a romance novelist for the trashy Bantam series "Loveswept." Tiring of the genre and finding herself increasingly fixated on crime, mystery, and the kind of adventures she came to love through comic books like Uncle Scrooge, she decided to ditch steamy stories in favor of off-the-wall humor and feats of daring. As Evanovich said on her website, "after twelve romance novels I ran out of sexual positions and decided to move into the mystery genre."

The resulting Stephanie Plum Mysteries reflect Evanovich's love for comics, toys, shoe-shopping, Cheez Doodles, and beer. Evanovich also created a memorable character that shares many of the author's distinctive traits, such as her self-effacing, dirty-minded wit. The Plum Mysteries, while often rambling and thin on plot, are never anything less than entertaining, hilarious, and refreshing in every way.

Stephanie Plum made her debut in 1994's One For the Money, in which she tracked down Joe Morelli, an ex-cop and murder suspect who'd also been guilty of taking Stephanie's virginity when she was 18. The novel's sly mix of sexiness and childlike playfulness made for a sort of young adult novel for adults.

Since then, the red-hot bounty hunter and a crew of misfits that includes retired hooker Lula, aging bail-jumper Eddie Decooch, and Plum's own hipster granny have romped their way "through the numbers," establishing Evanovich as one of the best and most inventive writers of "Strong Woman" mysteries and guaranteeing her a place on the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2004, Evanovich introduced a smart, savvy new series featuring Alexander "Barney" Barnaby, a sexy Baltimore car mechanic, NASCAR nut, and amateur sleuth with her own posse of delightful eccentrics. She's not Plum, but she's definitely a peach. Hey, what else would you expect from a Janet Evanovich heroine?

Good To Know

Evanovich's motorcycle-riding daughter Alex has created an online comic about her hamster called "Batster," which her mother proudly displays on her web site. With episodes like "Batster vs. Beerzilla," it's clear that wackiness runs in the Evanovich genes.

If you think the Stephanie Plum novels are zany, wait till you hear about what Evanovich was writing before she started getting published. As she explains on her web site, "The first story [I ever wrote] was about the pornographic adventures of a fairy who lived in a second rate fairy forest in Pennsylvania."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Steffie Hall
    2. Hometown:
      Hanover, New Hampshire
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 22, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      South River, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A., Douglass College, 1965
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

ONE

New Jersey was 40,000 feet below me, obscured by cloud cover. Heaven was above me, beyond the thin skin of the plane. And hell was sitting four rows back. Okay, maybe hell was too strong. Maybe it was just purgatory.

My name is Stephanie Plum, and I work as a bail bonds enforcer for Vincent Plum Bail Bonds in Trenton, New Jersey. I’d recently inherited airline vouchers from a dead guy and used them to take a once in a lifetime Hawaiian vacation. Unfortunately the vacation didn’t go as planned, and I’d been forced to leave Hawaii ahead of schedule, like a thief sneaking off in the dead of night. I’d abandoned two angry men in Honolulu, called my friend Lula, and asked her to pick me up at Newark Airport.

As if my life wasn’t enough in the toilet, I was now on the plane home, seated four rows ahead of a guy who looked like Sasquatch and was snoring like a bear in a cave. Good thing I wasn’t sitting next to him because I surely would have strangled him in his sleep by now. I was wearing airline-­distributed earphones pumped up to maximum volume, but they weren’t helping. The snoring had started somewhere over Denver and got really ugly over Kansas City. After several loud passenger comments suggesting someone take the initiative and smother the guy, flight attendants confiscated all the pillows and began passing out free alcoholic beverages. Three-­quarters of the plane was now desperately drunk, and the remaining quarter was either under age or alternatively medicated. Two of the underage were screaming crying, and I was pretty sure the kid behind me had pooped in his pants.

I was among the drunk. I was wondering how I was going to walk off the plane and navigate the terminal with any sort of dignity, and I was hoping my ride was waiting for me.

Sasquatch gave an extra loud “snork” and I ground my teeth together. Just land this friggin’ plane, I thought. Land it in a cornfield, on a highway, in the ocean. Just get me out of here!

•••

Lula pulled into my apartment building parking lot, and I thanked her for picking me up at the airport and taking me home.

“No problemo,” she said, dropping me at the back door to the lobby. “There wasn’t nothing on television, and I’m between honeys, so it wasn’t like I was leaving anything good behind.”

I waved her off, and trudged into my apartment building. I took the elevator to the second floor, dragged my luggage down the hall and into my apartment, and shuffled into my bedroom.

It was after midnight, and I was exhausted. My vacation in Hawaii had been unique, and the flight home had been hellish. Turbulance over the Pacific, a layover in L.A., and the snoring. I closed my eyes and tried to calm myself. I was back to work tomorrow, but for now I had to make a choice. I was completely out of clean clothes. That meant I could be a slut and sleep naked, or I could be a slob and sleep in what I was wearing.

Truth is, I’m not entirely comfortable sleeping naked. I do it from time to time, but I worry that God might be watching or that my mother might find out, and I’m pretty sure they both think nice girls should wear pajamas to bed.

In this case, being a slob required less effort and that’s where I chose to go.

Unfortunately I was in the same wardrobe predicament when I dragged myself out of bed the next morning, so I emptied my suitcase into my laundry basket, grabbed the messenger bag that serves as a purse, and headed for my parents’ house. I could use my mom’s washer and dryer, and I thought I had some emergency clothes left in their spare bedroom. Plus they’d been babysitting my hamster Rex while I was away, and I wanted to retrieve him.

I live in a one bedroom, one bath apartment on the second floor of an aging three-­story brick-­faced apartment building located on the edge of Trenton. On a good traffic day, at four in the morning, it’s a ten-­minute drive to my parent’s house or the bonds office. All other times it’s a crapshoot.

Grandma Mazur was at the front door when I pulled to the curb and parked. She’s lived with my parents since Grandpa Mazur took the big escalator to the heavenly food court in the sky. Sometimes I think my father wouldn’t mind seeing Grandma step onto that very same escalator, but I can’t see it happening any time soon. Her steel grey hair was cut short and tightly curled on her head. Her nails matched her bright red lipstick. Her lavender and white running suit hung slack on her bony shoulders.

“What a good surprise,” Grandma said, opening the door to me. “Welcome home. We’re dying to hear all about the vacation with the hottie.”

My parents’ home is a modest duplex, sharing a common wall with its mirror image. Mrs. Ciak lives in the other half. Her husband has passed on, and she spends her days baking coffee cake and watching television. The outside of her half is painted pale green, and the exterior of my parents’ house is mustard yellow and brown. It’s not an attractive combination, but it feels comfortable to me since it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Each half of the house has a postage stamp front yard, a small covered front porch, a back stoop leading to a long narrow back yard, and a detached single car garage.

I lugged the laundry basket through the living room, and the dining room, to the kitchen where my mother was chopping vegetables.

“Soup?” I asked her.

“Minestrone. Are you coming for dinner?”

“Can’t. Got plans.”

My mother glanced at the laundry basket. “I just put a load of sheets into the washer. If you leave that here I’ll do it later for you. How was Hawaii? We didn’t expect you home until tomorrow.”

“Hawaii was good, but the plane ride was long. Fortunately I sat next to a guy who got off when we stopped in LA, so I had more room.”

“Yeah, but you were also next to Mr. Tall, Dark, and Mysterious,” Grandma said.

“Not exactly.”

This got both their attention.

“How so?” Grandma asked.

“It’s complicated. He didn’t fly back with me.”

Grandma stared at my left hand. “You got a tan, except on your ring finger. It looks like you was wearing a ring when you got a tan, but you’re not wearing it no more.”

I looked at my hand. Bummer. When I took the ring off, I hadn’t noticed a tan line.

“Now I know why you went to Hawaii,” Grandma said. “I bet you eloped! Of course being that you don’t got the ring on any more would put a damper on the celebration.”

I blew out a sigh and poured myself a cup of coffee. I took a sip, and my phone rang. I dug around in my bag, unable to find my phone in the jumble of stuff I’d crammed in for the plane trip. I dumped it all out onto the little kitchen table and pawed through it. Granola bars, hairbrush, lip balm, hair scrunchies, note pad, wallet, socks, two magazines, a large yellow envelope, floss, mini flashlight, travel pack of tissues, three pens, and my phone.

The caller was Connie Rosolli, the bail bonds office manager. “I hope you’re on your way to the office,” she said, “because we have a situation here.”

“What sort of situation?”

“A bad one.”

“How bad? Can it wait twenty minutes?”

“Twenty minutes sounds like a long time.”

I disconnected and stood. “Gotta go,” I said to my mother and grandmother.

“But you just got here,” Grandma said. “We didn’t get to hear about the eloping.”

“I didn’t elope.”

I returned everything to my messenger bag with the exception of the phone and the yellow envelope. I put the phone in an outside pocket, and I looked at the envelope. No writing on it. Sealed. I had no clue how it had gotten into my bag. I ripped it open and pulled a photograph out. It was an 8X10 glossy of a man. He was standing on a street corner, looking just past the photographer. He looked like he didn’t know he was being photographed, like someone had happened along with their cell phone camera and snapped his picture. He was possibly mid-­thirties to early forties, and nice looking in a button-­down kind of way. Short brown hair. Fair-­skinned. Wearing a dark suit. I didn’t recognize the street corner or the man. Somehow on the trip home I must have picked the envelope up by mistake—­maybe when I stopped at the newsstand in the airport.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1260 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1261 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    I love the Stephanie Plum series. it's awesome!!!! can't wait to read the next.

    108 out of 122 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Can't wait!!!!

    I am so excited to get my hands on this one !!!!!!!

    93 out of 124 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    STALE AND OLD

    I started out not wanting to read this set of books but my daughter pushed until i decided to give it a try. I laughed until i cried. At least until i got to the last couple three books. I will no longer read them. They have gotten old and stale. They started out being great reads but Janet no longer puts much thought into what she is writing and frankly not worth my time now. There are much better authers out there that put in the effort to keep their readers entertained. I can only hope janet starts putting more effort into her books. She can be a great writer if she would slow down and give us what we are paying for. A GOOD BOOK!!!

    54 out of 67 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    Better than the last one.

    Explosive Eighteen was better than the last few books but it was still not up to the standards set by the first few. There were one or two laugh out loud moments, you find out what happened in Hawaii (one paragraph), & Stephanie deals with some not-so-scary bad guys. I understand that the series revolves around the love triangle, but I wish that something big would shake things up (not a pregnancy like some people suggest). There isn't much spark between Stephanie and Joe or Ranger. I think it would do Janet Evanovich some good to take some time away from the series and come back with some new fresh ideas. I will continue to read the series because it is an easy light read & I care about the characters, but it really has become the same thing over and over.

    35 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    Forget it...

    What a waste of money and time. Same old formula, nothing new....boring.
    Stephanie Plum is such a great character, but why no new stories, plots, characters? Same old, same old

    Janet Evanovich has really let her readers down with this new installment.

    26 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    Fast Paced Fun

    I have read all the S Plum books. If you want something fun and easy to read try this series. Yes, it does almost read like a comedy comic book series but I fell in love with the characters and have not as of yet tired of reading Stephanie's adventures. "Babe"......

    21 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Slightly less disappointing than the last

    I eagerly awaited the 18th installment, hoping there would be a significant improvement over the last few novels. It was better than seventeen and certainly better than sixteen, but the story is repetitive and stale. I wish Stephanie would show some significant growth, and while Lula can be great comic relief the character is so ridiculous she's become an anvil, further pulling down the series. The series is tired, time to put it to bed.

    19 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    disappointment!

    I don't know why the author keeps on remaking her characters in a way that it gets too boring and all. The quality of the story depreciates in every sequel that comes out.

    16 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 31, 2011

    Dezi

    I love the series. I believe the characters are well developed. However, with all of the characters involved, it is hard to address each and every one of them in all of the books. I think Janet does a GREAT job. However, I myself, am getting a little tired of the love triangle. Stephanie's character needs to make a choice.

    15 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2011

    Very disappointing

    Not one laugh. Stories are getting old and Lula needs to be retired. I used to love these books.

    14 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2011

    Don't Bother

    I hate to say it but Explosive Eighteen is the last Janet Evanovich book I will ever read . . . I'm tired of her never having Stephanie make a choice and I'm just tired of reading almost the same stories over and over again . . . I'm sad because I really enjoyed the first half of these books but she's lost me and that stinks :( She should have ended after book 11 with a final choice between the two men . . . the stories just seem rehashed and sad and I won't waste my money on another of her books.

    13 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    Best book since Fourteen...

    After books 15-17, I was ready to say stick a fork in Stephanie because she is done. I'm not even convinced JE wrote those books. However, I am inclined to believe that JE actually wrote this book. It really reminds me of the earlier Plum books that were so fun to read. It also seemed like a full length novel compared to 17 that had 300 pages, but gigantic font and a lot of spacing. I think this book heads the series back in the right direction and was happy to see even Stephanie start to recognize that maybe something needs to change. I wish we'd been given more of the Hawaii incident, but overall it was a fun read. It seems that maybe this series still has hope.

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Disappointing

    I loved this series for the first 12 or 13 books. However, it has gotten terribly boring and predictable. Way past time for Stephanie to grow up and move on. Really bothers me that she sleeps with Ranger one day and Morelli the next. There is no way they would put up with that. This book seemed very short and undeveloped. I get frustrated waiting 2-3 years for Diana Gabaldon to release a book but at least she has plenty of plot and character developement. Dont waste the money. Wait for it to show up at your library.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2011

    really??

    If you dont like a book thats been discounted almpsr 50% off, dont buy it and go find it cheaper. This is a great series and i have already preordered th newest book. Cant wait.

    12 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    highly recommended

    obviously havent read it yet, but I'm so excited!! My birthday is november 22nd, and I was dreading that day, but now it can't get here fast enough!!! you people are all so weird posting stuff about prices, and about how the series is slipping; I laughed out loud at so many parts in 17, and couldn't put it down. Grandma Bella reminds me of my Italian grandmother. And her "relationship" with Ranger and joe is so sexy and so complicated, I love it!! I am not flushed with money, by far, but when I know a book that I've been dying to read is coming out soon, I just start saving for it, really people, it's not that expensive!!

    9 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    So done with this series~~

    Nothing fresh in book #18. Won't be buying anymore. Janet began to go downhill on book #16. It's the same old stuff. I think we've all been waiting to see Steph's choice in men. It's gotten to be ridiculous. Good characters wasted with bad writing.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    Same stuff, different day

    The continuing disappointment with the Stephanie Plum series is Janet E. not allowing her charcters to grow. It has become ridiculous, to say the least, that the main character is just as inept in book 18 as she is in book 1. It's been made quite clear that Stephanie Plum is just a loser with no idea how to do more in life than to get laid and eat a donut. I will never spend another dime on this series again.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2011

    Not so good

    This book was slow boring and lacked any funny parts that used to be there. I do believe the series is dead in the water

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    Needing More!

    I have been a big Janet Enavovich fan and a bigger Stephanie Plum fan for years. I have read all the book and I will not complain about the money. Its has been well worth it for all the laughs they have both given me through out the years. With that being said, the last two books I feel have been very disappointing. There has been less of the Ranger/ Joe/ Stephanie triangle ( it seems like Janet has put Stephanie with Joe but still has Ranger in the backround ,to me this has always me very entertaining) We haven't seen any of Stephanie's usually pants not fitting so she doesnt button the top button, running to the bakery to pick a a whole cake because she had a bad day. Eating tastykakes. These are the things that I think of when Stephanie Plum comes into my mind . (Which also makes her almost normal in a sense). Janet hasn't Stephanieism in her books for some time. The books seem to be becoming more about those in Stephanie life then Stephanie herself. As a big Ranger fan I will admit I do want to see more of him in the books. I feel the earlier book were more entertaining and had many more laughs. I wish Janet would get back to that in BOOK # 19.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    I have enjoyed each one in it's own way

    This book was enjoyable. I liked the variety of characters, and enjoyed that the matchmaker was back. Now it's finger tapping time waiting for the next one!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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