Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers #4)

Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers #4)

by Janet Evanovich

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312383343
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/29/2009
Series: Stephanie Plum Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 345
Sales rank: 138,034
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Janet Evanovich is the author of the Stephanie Plum books, including One for the Money and Sizzling Sixteen, and the Diesel & Tucker series, including Wicked Appetite. Janet studied painting at Douglass College, but that art form never quite fit, and she soon moved on to writing stories. She didn't have instant success: she collected a big box of rejection letters. As she puts it, "When the box was full I burned the whole damn thing, crammed myself into pantyhose and went to work for a temp agency." But after a few months of secretarial work, she managed to sell her first novel for $2,000. She immediately quit her job and started working full-time as a writer. After a dozen romance novels, she switched to mystery, and created Stephanie Plum. The rest is history. Janet's favorite exercise is shopping, and her drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles. She and her husband live in New Hampshire, in house with a view of the Connecticut River Valley.

Hometown:

Hanover, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

April 22, 1943

Place of Birth:

South River, New Jersey

Education:

B.A., Douglass College, 1965

Read an Excerpt

Plum Spooky. Copyright © 2008 by Evanovich, Inc. All rights reserved.

1

ONE

Sometimes you get up in the morning and you know it’s

going to be one of those days. No toothpaste left in the

tube, no toilet paper on the cardboard roll, hot water cuts

out halfway through your shower, and someone’s left a

monkey on your doorstep.

My name is Stephanie Plum, and I’m a bail bonds enforcement

agent for Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. I live in

a one- bedroom, one- bath, unremarkable apartment in a

three- story brick box of a building on the outskirts of

Trenton, New Jersey. Usually I live alone with my hamster,

Rex, but at eight- thirty this morning, my roommate

list was enlarged to include Carl the Monkey. I opened

my door to go to work, and there he was. Small brown

monkey with long, curled tail, creepy little monkey fingers

and toes, crazy, bright monkey eyes, and he was on a

leash hooked to my doorknob. A note was attached to his

collar.

Hi! Remember me? I’m Carl and I belong to

Susan Stitch. Susan is on her honeymoon and

she knows you’ll take good care of me until

she returns.

First, let me say that I’ve never wanted a monkey. Second,

I barely know Susan Stitch. Third, what the heck am I

supposed to do with the little bugger?

Twenty minutes later, I parked my Jeep Wrangler in front

of the bonds office on Hamilton Avenue. At one time, the

Wrangler had been red, but it had seen many lives before it

fell into my hands, and now it was far from primo and the

color was motley.

Carl followed me out of the car and into the office, hugging

my pants leg like a two- year- old. Connie, the office

manager who looked like a big Italian Betty Boop, peered

around her computer.

Lula, the office file clerk and wheelman, stood hands

on hips. “That better not be what I think it is,” Lula said,

eyeballing Carl. “I hate monkeys. You know I hate monkeys.”

“It’s Carl,” I told her. “Remember when we busted Susan

Stitch for failing to appear? And remember her monkey,

Carl?”

“Yeah?”

“Here he is.”

“What are you doing with him?”

“He was attached to my doorknob with a note. Susan

went on a honeymoon and left him with me.”

 “She got a lot of nerve,” Lula said. “Where’s he go to the

bathroom? You ever think of that?”

I looked down at Carl. “Well?”

Carl blinked and shrugged. He looked at Lula and Connie,

curled his lips back and gave them a gummy monkey

smile.

“I don’t like the way he’s lookin’ at me,” Lula said. “It’s

creepy. What kind of monkey you got here anyway?”

Lula is a former ’ho, and she’s only moderately altered

her wardrobe to suit her new job. Lula somehow manages

to perform the miracle of squeezing her plus- size body

into petite- size clothes. Her hair was blond this week, her

skin was brown as always, her spandex tube dress was poison

green, and her shoes were four- inch, spike- heeled,

faux leopard Via Spigas. It came as no surprise that the

monkey was staring at Lula. Everyone stared at Lula.

I didn’t command that much attention in my jeans, girlcut

red T-shirt, gray sweatshirt, and inadequate swipe of

lash- lengthening mascara. Not only did I feel like a bran

muffin in a bakery case filled with eclairs, I was also the only

one not packing a gun. My eyes are blue, my hair is brown,

and my favorite word is cake. I was married for ten minutes

in another life, and I’m not inclined to repeat the mistake

anytime soon. There are a couple men in my life who tempt

me . . . just not with marriage.

One of those tempting men is Joe Morelli. He’s a Trenton

cop with bedroom eyes, and bedroom hands, and

everything else you’d want to find in your bedroom is top

of the line. He’s been my off- again, on- again boyfriend

for as long as I can remember, and last night he was onagain.

The second guy in my life is Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger.

Ranger’s been my mentor, my employer, my guardian angel,

and he’s gotten as intimate with me as a man can get, but

Ranger has never totally qualified as a boyfriend. Boyfriend

might suggest an occasional date, and I can’t see Ranger going

there. Ranger is the sort of guy who slips uninvited into

a girl’s dreams and desires and refuses to leave.

“What’s happening with Martin Munch?” Connie asked

me. “Vinnie’s in a rant over him. Munch is a big- ticket bond.

If you don’t drag his ass into court by the end of the month,

our bottom line won’t be good.”

This is the way things work in the bail bonds business. A

guy gets accused of a crime, and before he’s released back

into society, the court demands a security deposit. If the

accused doesn’t happen to have $50,000 under his mattress

to give to the court, he goes to a bail bonds agent and

that agent posts the bond for the accused for a fee. If the

accused doesn’t show up for his court date, the court gets

to keep the bondsman’s money until someone like me hauls

the accused back to jail.

My ferret- faced cousin Vinnie owns the bonds office on

paper, but he’s backed by his father- in- law, Harry the Hammer.

If Vinnie writes too many bad bonds and the office

runs in the red, Harry isn’t happy. And you don’t want a

guy with a name like Harry the Hammer to be unhappy.

“I’ve been looking for Munch all week,” I said to Connie.

“It’s like he’s dropped off the earth.”

Martin Munch is a twenty- four- year- old genius with a

doctorate in quantum physics. For what ever reason, Munch

went postal on his project manager, riding him like Man

O’War, breaking his nose with a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee

mug, knocking him cold. Moments later, Munch was caught

on a security tape as he left the research lab cradling a oneof-

a-kind monster cesium vapor magnetometer. What ever

the heck that is!

Munch was arrested and booked, but the magnetometer

was never recovered. In a moment of insanity, Vinnie wrote

a bond for Munch, and now Munch is playing hard to get

with his contraption.

“This is a white- collar guy,” Connie said. “He hasn’t grown

up in a crime culture. His friends and family are probably

horrified. I can’t see them hiding him.”

“He hasn’t got a lot of friends and family,” I told her.

“From what I can determine, he has neighbors who have

never spoken to him, and the only family is a grandmother

in a retirement home in Cadmount. He was employed at

the research facility for two years, and he never socialized.

Before that, he was a student at Princeton, where he never

got his face out of a book.

“His neighbors tell me a couple months ago a guy started

visiting Munch. The guy was a little over six feet tall, with

an athletic build and expensive clothes. He drove a black

Ferrari and had shoulder- length black hair and pale, almost

white skin. Sometimes Munch would leave with him

and not come back for several days. That’s the whole enchilada.”

“Sounds like Dracula,” Lula said. “Was he wearing a

cape? Did he have fangs?”

“No one said anything about a cape or fangs.”

“Munch must have come in when I was out sick last

week,” Lula said. “I don’t remember him.”

“So what was it?” I asked her. “The flu?”

“I don’t know what it was. My eyes were all swollen, and

I was sneezing and wheezing, and I felt like I had a fever. I

just stayed in my apartment, drinking medicinal whiskey

and taking cold pills, and now I feel fine. What’s this Munch

look like?”

I took his file from my Prada knockoff messenger bag and

showed Lula a photo.

“Good thing he’s a genius,” Lula said, “on account of he

don’t have much else going on.”

At five- feet- two- inches tall, Munch looked more like fourteen

than twenty- four. He was slim, with strawberry blond

hair and pale freckled skin. The photo was taken outdoors,

and Munch was squinting into the sun. He was wearing

jeans and sneakers and a SpongeBob T-shirt, and it occurred

to me that he probably shopped in the kids’ department.

I imagine you have to be pretty secure in your

manhood to pull that one off.

“I’m feeling hot today,” Lula said. “I bet I could find that

Munch. I bet he’s sitting home in his Underoos playing

with his whatchamacallit.”

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt for us to check out his house one

more time,” I said. “He’s renting one of those little tiny row

houses on Crocker Street, down by the button factory.”

 “What are you gonna do with the monkey?” Lula wanted

to know.

I looked over at Connie.

“Forget it,” Connie said. “I’m not babysitting a monkey.

Especially not that monkey.”

“Well, I don’t let monkeys ride in my car,” Lula said. “If

that monkey’s going with us, you’re gonna have to drive

your car. And I’m sitting in the back, so I can keep an eye

on him. I don’t want no monkey sneaking up behind me

giving me monkey cooties.”

“I’ve got two new skips,” Connie said to me. “One of

them, Gordo Bollo, ran over his ex- wife’s brand- new husband

with a pickup truck, twice. And the other, Denny

Guzzi, robbed a con ve nience store and accidentally shot

himself in the foot trying to make his getaway. Both idiots

failed to show for their court appearances.”

Connie shoved the paperwork to the edge of the desk.

I signed the contract and took the files that contained a

photo, the arrest sheet, and the bond agreement for each

man.

“Shouldn’t be hard to tag Denny Guzzi,” Connie said.

“He’s got a big ban dage on his foot, and he can’t run.”

“Yeah, but he’s got a gun,” I said to Connie.

“This is Jersey,” Connie said. “Everyone’s got a gun . . .

except you.”

We left the bonds office, and Lula stood looking at my car.

“I forgot you got this dumb Jeep,” Lula said. “I can’t get

in the back of this thing. Only Romanian acrobats could

get in the back of this. I guess the monkey’s gotta ride in

back, but I swear he makes a move on me, and I’m gonna

shoot him.”

I slid behind the wheel, Lula wedged herself into the

passenger- side seat, and Carl hopped into the back. I adjusted

my rearview mirror, locked onto Carl, and I swear it

looked to me like Carl was making faces at Lula and giving

her the finger.

“What?” Lula said to me. “You got a strange look on

you.”

“It’s nothing,” I said. “I just thought Carl was . . . never

mind.”

I drove across town, parked in front of Munch’s house

on Crocker Street, and we all piled out of the Jeep.

“This here’s a boring- ass house,” Lula said. “It looks like

every other house on the street. If I came home after having

two cosmopolitans, I wouldn’t know which house was

mine. Look at them. They’re all redbrick. They all have the

same stupid black door and black window trim. They don’t

even have no front yard. Just a stoop. And they all got the

same stupid stoop.”

I glanced at Lula. “Are you okay? That’s a lot of hostility

for a poor row house.”

“It’s the monkey. Monkeys give me the willies. And I

might have a headache from all that medicinal whiskey.”

I rang Munch’s doorbell and looked through sheers that

screened the front window. Beyond the sheers, the house

was dark and still.

“I bet he’s in there,” Lula said. “I bet he’s hiding under

the bed. I think we should go around to the back and look.”

There were fifteen row houses in all. All shared common

walls, and Munch’s was almost dead middle. We returned

to the Jeep, I rolled down the street, turned left at the corner

and took the alley that cut the block. I parked, and we

all got out and walked through Munch’s postage- stamp

backyard. The rear of the house was similar to the front. A

door and two windows. The door had a small swinging

trapdoor at the bottom for a pet, and Carl instantly scurried

inside.

I was dumbstruck. One minute, Carl was in the Jeep,

and then, in an instant, he was inside the house.

“Holy macaroni,” Lula said. “He’s fast!”

We looked in a window and saw Carl in the kitchen,

bouncing off counters, jumping up and down on the small

kitchen table.

I pressed my nose to the glass. “I have to get him out.”

“Like hell you do,” Lula said. “This here’s your lucky day.

I say finders keepers.”

“What if Munch never returns? Carl will starve to

death.”

“I don’t think so,” Lula said. “He just opened the refrigerator.”

“There has to be a way to get in. Maybe Munch hid a

key.”

“Well, someone could accidentally break a window,”

Lula said. “And then someone else could crawl in and beat

the living crap out of the monkey.”

“No. We’re not breaking or beating.”

I rapped on the window, and Carl gave me the finger.

Lula sucked in some air. “That little fucker just flipped

us the bird.”

“It was probably accidental.”

Lula glared in at Carl. “Accident this!” she said to him,

middle finger extended.

Carl turned and mooned Lula, although it wasn’t much

of a moon since he wasn’t wearing clothes to begin with.

“Oh yeah?” Lula said. “You want to see a moon? I got a

moon to show you.”

“No!” I said to Lula. “No more moons. Bad enough I just

looked at a monkey butt. I don’t want your butt burned

into my ret i nas.”

“Hunh,” Lula said. “Lotta people paid good money to

see that butt.”

Carl drank some milk out of a carton and put it back into

the refrigerator. He opened the crisper drawer and pawed

around in it but didn’t find anything he wanted. He closed

the refrigerator, scratched his stomach, and looked around.

“Let me in,” I said to him. “Open the door.”

“Yeah, right,” Lula said. “As if his little pea brain could

understand you.”

Carl gave Lula the finger again. And then Carl threw the

deadbolt, opened the door, and stuck his tongue out at Lula.

“If there’s one thing I can’t stand,” Lula said, “it’s a showoff

monkey.”

I did a fast walk- through of the house. Not much to see.

Two small bedrooms, living room, single bath, small eat- in

kitchen. These houses were built by the button factory after

the war to entice cheap labor, and the button factory didn’t

waste money on frills. The houses had been sold many

times over since then and were now occupied by an odd assortment

of se nior citizens, newly marrieds, and crazies.

Seemed to me, Munch fit into the crazy category.

There were no clothes in the closet, no toiletries in the

bathroom, no computer anywhere. Munch had cleared out,

leaving a carton of milk, some sprouted onions, and a halfempty

box of Rice Krispies behind.

“It’s the strangest thing,” Lula said. “I got this sudden

craving for coffee cake. Do you smell cinnamon? It’s like

it’s mixed up with Christmas trees and oranges.”

I’d noticed the scent. And I was afraid I recognized it.

“How about you?” I asked Carl. “Do you smell cinnamon?”

Carl did another shrug and scratched his butt.

“Now all I can think of is cinnamon buns,” Lula said. “I

got buns on the brain. We gotta go find some. Or maybe a

doughnut. I wouldn’t mind a dozen doughnuts. I need a

bakery. I got cravings.”

Everyone vacated the kitchen, I locked the back door,

and we all piled into the Jeep. I found my way to Hamilton

and stopped at Tasty Pastry.

“What kind of doughnut do you want?” I asked Lula.

“Any kind. I want a Boston Cream, a strawberry jelly, a

chocolate- glazed, one of them with the white icing and

pretty colorful sprinkles, and a blueberry. No, wait. I don’t

want the blueberry. I want a vanilla cream and a cinnamon

stick.”

“That’s a lot of doughnuts.”

 “I’m a big girl,” Lula said. “I got big appetites. I feel like

I could eat a million doughnuts.”

“How about you?” I asked Carl. “Do you need a doughnut?”

Carl vigorously shook his head yes and jumped up and

down in his seat and made excited monkey noises.

“It’s creepy that this monkey knows what we’re saying,”

Lula said. “It’s just not right. It’s like he’s a alien monkey or

something.”

“Sometimes Morelli’s dog, Bob, knows what I’m saying.

He knows walk, and come and meatball.”

“Yeah, Tank knows some words, too, but not as many as

this monkey,” Lula said. “Of course, that’s ’cause Tank’s the

big, strong, silent type.”

Tank is Lula’s fiancé, and his name says it all. He’s

Ranger’s right- hand man, second in command at Ranger’s

security firm Rangeman, and he’s the guy Ranger trusts to

guard his back. To say that Tank is the big, strong, silent

type is a gross understatement on all accounts.

Fifteen minutes later, we were in the Jeep and we’d eaten

all the doughnuts.

“I feel a lot better,” Lula said. “Now what?”

I looked down at my shirt. It had powdered sugar and a

big glob of jelly on it. “I’m going home to change my shirt.”

“That don’t sound real interesting,” Lula said. “You could

drop me at the office. I might have to take a nap.”

TWO

I parked my Jeep in the lot behind my apartment building,

and Carl and I crossed the lot and pushed through

the building’s rear entrance. We took the elevator to the

second floor, and Carl waited patiently while I opened my

door.

“So,” I said to him, “do you miss Susan?”

He shrugged.

“You do a lot of shrugging,” I told him.

He studied me for a moment and gave me the finger.

Okay, so it wasn’t a shrug. And giving and getting the finger

is a way of life in Jersey. Still, getting the finger from a

monkey isn’t normal even by Jersey standards.

My apartment consists of a small entrance foyer with

hooks on the wall for coats and hats and handbags. The

kitchen and living room open off the foyer, a dining area is

tucked into an extension of the living room, and at the

other end is a short hallway leading to my bedroom and

bathroom. My décor is mostly what ever was discarded by

relatives. This is okay by me because Aunt Betty’s chair,

Grandma Mazur’s dining room set, and my cousin Tootie’s

coffee table are comfortable. They come to me infused

with family history, and they give off a kind of gentle energy

that my life is sometimes lacking. Not to mention, I

can’t afford anything else.

I hung my tote on one of the hooks in the foyer and stared

down at a pair of scruffy men’s boots that had been kicked

off and left in the middle of the floor. I was pretty sure I recognized

the boots, plus the battered leather backpack that

had been dumped on Tootie’s coffee table.

I walked into the living room and stared down at the

backpack. I blew out a sigh and rolled my eyes. Why me? I

thought. Isn’t it enough that I have a monkey? Do I really

need one more complication?

“Diesel?” I yelled.

I moved to the bedroom, and there he was, sprawled on

my bed. Over six feet of gorgeous, hard- muscled, slightly

tanned male. His eyes were brown and assessing, his hair

was sandy blond, thick, and unruly. His eyebrows were

fierce. Hard to tell his age. Young enough to be lots of

trouble. Old enough to know what he was doing. He was

wearing new gray sweatsocks, tattered jeans, and a faded

T-shirt that advertised a dive shop in the Caicos.

He rolled onto his back and smiled up at me when I

came into the room.

“Hey,” he said.

I pointed stiff- armed to the door. “Out!”

“What, no kiss hello?”

 “Get a grip.”

He patted the bed next to him.

“No way,” I said.

“Afraid?”

Of course I was afraid. He made the Big Bad Wolf look

like chump change.

“How do you always manage to smell like Christmas?” I

asked Diesel.

“I don’t know. It’s just one of those things.” The smile

widened, showing perfect white teeth, and crinkle lines

appeared around his eyes. “It’s part of my appeal,” he said.

“You were in Martin Munch’s house earlier today, weren’t

you?”

“Yeah. You came in the back door, and I went out the front.

I would have hung around, but I was following someone.”

“And?”

“I lost him.”

“Hard to believe.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to roll around on the bed

with me?”

“Rain check,” I told him.

“Really?”

“No.”

Here’s the thing with Diesel. I’d be crazy not to want to

take him for a test drive, but I’ve already got two men in

my life, and that’s actually one too many. Truth is, I’m a good

Catholic girl. The faith has always been elusive, but the guilt

is intractable. I’m not comfortable having simultaneous intimate

relationships . . . even if it’s only for a glorious ten

minutes. And Diesel isn’t a normal guy. At least that’s his

story.

If Diesel is to be believed, there are people living

among us with abilities beyond normal. They look just like

anyone else, and most hold normal jobs and live relatively

normal lives. They’re called Unmentionables, and some

are more unmentionable than others. From what I’ve

seen, Diesel is about as unmentionable as a guy could get.

Diesel travels the world tracking Unmentionables who’ve

gone to the dark side, and then he pulls the power plug. I

don’t know how he accomplishes this. I’m not even sure

I believe any of it. All I know is, one minute he’s here, and

then he’s gone. And when he leaves, the barometric pressure

improves.

Diesel stood and stretched, and when he stretched,

there was a tantalizing flash of skin exposed between shirt

and low- riding jeans. It was enough to make my eyes glaze

over and my mouth go dry. I struggled to replace the

image with thoughts of Morelli naked, but I was only partially

successful.

“I’m hungry,” Diesel said. “What time is it? Is it lunch -

time?” He looked at his watch. “It’s after noon in Greenland.

Close enough.”

He ambled out of the bedroom and into the kitchen,

where Carl was sitting on the counter, staring into Rex’s

aquarium.

“What’s with the monkey?” Diesel asked, his head in the

refrigerator.

“I’m babysitting.”

Diesel gathered up some cold cuts and sliced cheese

and turned to me. “You don’t strike me as especially maternal.”

“I have my moments.” Admittedly not very many, but

probably they’re just waiting for the right time to pop out.

Diesel found bread and made himself a sandwich. “He

got a name?”

“Carl.”

Diesel flipped Carl a slice of bread and Carl caught it

and ate it.

“Are you a monkey man?” I asked Diesel.

“I can take ’em or leave ’em.”

Carl shot Diesel the finger, and Diesel gave a bark of

laughter. Diesel ate some sandwich and looked my way.

“You two must get along great. You taught him that, right?”

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Visiting.”

“You never just visit.”

Diesel got a Bud Light from the fridge, chugged it, and

wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “I’m looking

for a guy who has been known to hang with your friend

Munch.”

“Does this guy drive a black Ferrari and have long black

hair?”

“Yes. Have you seen him?”

I shook my head. “No. I’ve talked to Munch’s neighbors,

and apparently he was Munch’s only visitor. Munch didn’t

have much of a social life.”

“What kind of leads do you have?” Diesel asked.

 “The usual. Nothing. And you?”

“I tracked my man to Munch’s house but missed him by

minutes. I’ve been trying to tag him for over a year. He can

sense my approach, and he moves on before I get too close.”

“He’s afraid of you.”

“No. He’s enjoying the game.”

“His name?”

“Gerwulf Grimoire,” Diesel said.

“Wow, that’s a really bad name.”

“This is a really bad guy. And he wields a lot of power.

Somehow he connected with Munch, and now they’re

palling around together with Munch’s magnetometer.”

“Why was What’s-his- name in Munch’s house?” I asked

Diesel.

“Gerwulf Grimoire, but he goes by Wulf. I suppose

he went back to get something. Or maybe he was playing

with me. The house was clean when I got there. I followed

Wulf’s breadcrumbs to Broad Street, and then they disappeared.”

“Breadcrumbs?”

“Cosmic debris. Hard to explain.”

“Do I leave cosmic debris?”

“Everyone leaves it. Some people leave more than others.

Wulf and I leave a lot because we’re dense. We both

carry high energy.”

“That’s weird.”

“Tell me about it,” Diesel said. “You should walk in my

shoes.” He crossed to the foyer, took my bag off its hook,

and stuck his hand in.

 “Hey!” I said. “What are you doing?”

“I want to read your case file on Munch.”

“How do you know it’s in there?”

“I know. Just like I know you’re wearing a pink lace

thong, and you think I’m hot.”

“How? What?” I said.

“Lucky guess,” Diesel said, pulling the file out of my bag,

scanning the pages.

“I do not think you’re hot.”

“That’s a big fib,” Diesel said.

“I can save you some time,” I told him. “There isn’t anything

in Munch’s file. Only a grandmother.”

“Then let’s talk to the grandmother.”

“I’ve already talked to her.”

Diesel shoved his feet into his boots and laced up. “Let’s

talk to her again.”

I changed my shirt, and we headed out.

“Your car or mine?” I asked him when we got to the lot.

“What are you driving?”

“The Jeep that used to be red.”

“I like it,” Diesel said.

“What are you driving?”

“The hog.”

I looked over at the black Harley. No room for Carl, and

it would wreck my hair. “Probably it’s easier to follow cosmic

dust when you’re on a bike,” I said.

Diesel settled himself into the Jeep’s passenger- side seat

and grinned at me. “You don’t really think there’s cosmic

dust, do you?”

I plugged the key into the ignition. “Of course not. Cosmic

dust would be . . . ridiculous.”

Diesel hooked an arm around my neck, pulled me to

him, and kissed me on the top of my head. “This is going to

be fun,” he said.

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Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum Series) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 657 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
...I was wrong.

I used to love these books. Numbers 9 through 12 were increasingly good. Then Janet Evanovich started writing two books a year... the 'between the numbers' books and the regular numbered books.. and the quality started suffering.

First let me say that I don't like the between the numbers books anyway. The first book one was a Christmas book that came out after book 8 and I thought it was the worst book in the series until 13 and 14 came out, those were worse. The holiday books don't add to the story and the last thing this series needed was MORE filler and ANOTHER leg on the tired triangle. I don't understand the point of them. I guess Evanovich wanted to jump on the paranormal bandwagon but why not start a new series? The paranormal unmentionable element doesn't fit in these books and reading them is confusing.

In this book Stephanie is after a super genius who stole an magnetometer from his boss who later turns out dead. Diesel is a paranormal "unmentionable" with special abilities who is after him. The plot of this book is built around stupid. What happened to the witty dialogue and funny because it's true situations? Now she's relying on slapstick like a bad home videos clip show. Monkeys? Oh Janet.....what is the matter with you?

I am also sick and tired of reading the same thing over and over again. Morelli has the same lines book after book and those lines aren't even interesting. Diesel is using all of Ranger's lines from past books which is irritating because Diesel is no Ranger. Does Evanovich really think her audience is so stupid they'll fall for any guy with a penis? Apparently she does because all Stephanie does now is talk about sex and naked guys and what her doodah is doing. Stephanie is no longer the character I would like to be "when I grow up", she's the loud co-worker two cubicles over you wish would just shut up already. Annoying and whiny. I can't remember what I loved about these books anymore. How could something so good end up being so bad? Where was her editor when this happened?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With a sticker price of almost $29 and even with a discount price of almost $16, Plum Spooky is another waste of money.

I received this book as a gift from a loved one. I do not feel that I need to rehash the plot, storyline or characters in this review as it will be much of a repeat of what you will read in other reviews, both good and bad.

In my opinion, Janet Evanovich no longer writes a book that is filled with wonderful text. Of course, they are fiction. I know all this. It is not a biography. They are sold in the mystery section.

The Plum series used to be fun books. Wonderful to read. Deserved to be read many times. They were purchased. They were keepers. I loved them. This series of books had many dog-eared pages from being lovingly read many times.

This book is another episode of the three stooges, running amok in the world of Plum.

So she took us to the Pine Barrens. I¿m from New Jersey. I know the Pine Barrens. In real life they are really scary. The people that ¿live¿ there are really scary.

Janet could have used the Pine Barrens wisely in this book. She didn¿t. The ¿stranger than life¿ people that actually do live there should be insulted by this portrayal.

The villain in this book, Gerwulf? Pfft. He¿s no Abruzzi, Ramirez or Cone.

Carl the monkey? Thought you had enough of him in Fearless Fourteen? Well, he¿s baaaaack. Not just Carl, but a whole lot of monkeys.

Lula, Tank, Hal¿¿.Holy, cow! What the heck happened to them?

It is a sad, sad day when an author who gave us the Plum series has to issue a book filled with monkeys and characters that revel in gross bodily functions.

To me, Plum used to represent a 300 plus page book filled with wonderful characters, heart pounding fear, laugh out loud till I cried moments, fantastic one-liners from Stephanie, Lula, Ranger, Vinnie, Connie, and Morelli. Words like edgy, sexy, funny, witty, sharp, thrilling, and emotional filled my mind as I read.

There needs to be new section designated at the book stores for this book. Silly nonsense.

Some idiot stole the names of Stephanie, Ranger, Morelli, Grandma Mazur, Lula, Tank and many others I recognize and plopped them into 309 pages of tripe. Garbage.

You call this entertainment? From a NY Times bestselling author? I call it a rip-off.

Insulting.

And sad. Very, very sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What happened to the characters that we all fell in love with? Carl the Monkey, give me a break. The first twelve were the best of the series. But either Janet has lost touch with them or someone else is writing for her. I feel like I have supported you and bought all the books, but I will not be buying PS. In my personal opinion Twelve Sharp was the best in the series. Janet needs to get back to that style of writing. It was a great book. And what's up with fifteen being called Finger Lickin' you have to be joking. I know there had to be a better name than that, you must have picked it out of a hat. As for buying fifteen, I'll wait to see what some of the reviews are before I send more money your way. Don't get me wrong I love Steph and the gang, but she has ruined them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please get back to the characters that we love to read about - Ranger and Minelli and Stephanie and plots that have some substance. My friend and I both read this book and we DO NOT like Diesel - he's stupid and the book sadly lacked romance. I got tired of Chimps and especially one that gives everyone the finger. Stephanie lacked her usual "spazz" and electricity. I have been a big fan, but the books that deal with Desil I will not purchase to read after this. Love your books, but not this one.
HEATHER-LAKE More than 1 year ago
COME ON JANET..WE'VE READ EM ALL AND ENJOYED THE 1ST 12 (1-12), THE BEST..THE NEW ONE IS MORE THAN JUST DISAPPOINTING..IT DOESN'T EVEN SEEM LIKE IT CAME FROM YOUR HAND.. THE ONLY REASON I DIDN'T GIVE THIS BOOK A HALF STAR OR A Z E R O, IS BECAUSE THE BARNES AND NOBLE SIGHT WOULDN'T LET ME DO THAT.. SHAME ON THEM BECAUSE THIS IS POOR..
AS AN AVID READER OF YOUR STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES, YOU TRULY NEED TO RE-CONNECT WITH THE CHARACTERS..VERY LITTLE CONTACT WITH THOSE WHO WE ALL LOVE THE MOST, MORELLI, RANGER, GRANDMA MAZUR, STEPH'S MOM & DAD..
YOU MAY WANT TO CONDSIDER CALLING ON YOUR READERS FOR IDEAS AND INSPIRATION, RATHER THAN THE PRIVILEDGE OF JUST "NAMING" YOUR NEW BOOK, BECAUSE, IF THIS IS ANY INDIACATION OF THE QUALITY OF WRITING, THERE SHOULDN'T BE A "FINGER LICKIN' FIFTEEN"!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree with the others, the "half" books are not very good.
I love the numbered books, funny, interesting
I purchased all the "half" books "just because" they are part of Stephanie Plum, but to be honest, these stories do NOT engage me.
In all three of the half books, I have read only about half of the book and am so bored I just give up on it. My husband who loves all the other books, doesn't even bother after the first chapter. In fact, he said that 14 really wasn't very good and that the writer is worn out.
The worst part is that these skimpy rediculous boring stories cost way to much for what they are.
Janet 'come on...........do your publishers really need to get this garbage out of you or what???!!!?!
Monalisa_reads More than 1 year ago
Those expecting Plum Spooky to pick up where Fearless left off will be disappointed. Spooky revolves around Stephanie and Diesel and the world of unmentionables like the Easter Bunny. Yes there are outlandish characters and situations, but that's what we have come to expect and love about this series, though admittedly, the between the numbers stretch this to the limit sometimes.

There is more plot and character development in this installment than previous which makes for a more enjoyable read. Diesel's character is fleshed out and we learn that despite some supernatural abilities, he also has flaws which make him more likeable. There's also some fun insight into Tank's character that may have some scratching their heads. The only disappointments are that Grandma, Morelli and Ranger take a back seat in this adventure.

Those looking for a quick fix of Stephanie Plum (sans Morelli and Ranger) should give Spooky a try.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished Plum Spooky and liked it very much. This is the first full length between the numbers, book. Now that the between the number books will be full length I feel like I am getting my moneys worth. I did not like how small they use to be. I do not like Diesel all that much but I do like all the other characters in the Plum novels. We see many of them in Plum Spooky and a couple of new ones, including family members of Stephanie's boyfriend Morelli. I liked seeing into the interpersonal areas of Stephanie and Morelli's life that we don't usually get the chance to see, with so much going on in the numbered books. I like meeting new friends of Stephanie¿s and future family. It makes Stephanie seem so real. We know these people. With the between the number books we also get a chance to escape reality. I found Carl to be funny, and Tank and Lula to be a trip. Tank needs to run the other way if you ask me. :) Hopefully Lula will take a page from Stephanie and Morelli's life and get a clue about how a good couple should be and how a healthy relationship functions. Wait, this is Lula, she does everything to the extreme. Tank better hide his Applepuff. ;)

Plum Spooky has a good plot and had me scared for Stephanie at times. It also had me laughing like all good Plums will do. :) I recommend this book.
Bookworm1951 24 days ago
Plum Spooky is plum sad and stupid. Honestly, the plot was more about Carl the monkey than anyone else. The characters we grew to know and love in the early books are virtually nonexistent. Those that are in this book have become totally ridiculous. Lula - she shoots up everything and never has to pay any consequences. Where is law enforcement in this story. Stephanie has become a joke. All this slapstick type of attempt at comedy just doesn't work. Diesel???? Who and what he is still isn't revealed. The author has tried to work in paranormal aspects into these books and it's a flop. I also agree with the other reviewers that it's as if we're reading the same things over and over. It's like being on a merry-go-round. The author needs to move the main story along or simply end it. This series had so much potential but if I decide to continue, I will not be buying the books. Not worth the money and the libraries are free.
pennyNY More than 1 year ago
While I thoroughly enjoy all of the Stephanie Plum series, I found this one not quite up to her usual style. Even though the situations she finds herself in are unique to say the least at least they were plausible. Weird characters popping in and out are not plausible! Besides, not enough Ranger!
Running3kids More than 1 year ago
This was the worse book I have read in a long time. Janet Evanovich needs to go back to the typewriter and concentration on writing a great book instead of this hodgepodge of nonsense. I love almost all of her Stephanie Plum books, her 14th book wasn't riveting at all. I think I will move away from any books with her name on it in the future. Sorry but unless she goes back to gritty, original and well-thought plots and dialogue I won't be purchasing any more books from her.
ss62 More than 1 year ago
Juvenile. Bathroom "humor" does not impress me. Ms Evanovich can do better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the worst book Evanovich has written. It was beyond stupid. I don't know why she wastes her time on the between the numbers books. I am furious that I spent my money on this.
And she should do better research...twice in the story she has people stopping for gas and they pumped their own..we don't do that in NJ! It is actually illegal here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I almost went away from the Plum series after the last numbered book. Too much I found distasteful or lacking. This story is back with a fun set of characters. I really enjoyed learning more about Diesel.
No tricks or turns, fun. Let's face it the Plum series isn't meant to be intellectually engaging. They are simply for fun. I laughed in this one. I remembered why I liked the series to begin with.
I suppose Stephanie and the gang are growing up on us. Hey, they are fourteen plus books older. I know we can't like everything but this one is back on my list. I hope the author does read the reviews. Bad/good she gets an idea what we think. I do disagree with the one scores. Too bad the half-way person didn't read the whole book. They missed a lot of fun.
Leave the biographies and the drama and come to Stephanie for good old fashion fun. she is back. Thank you.
nanabear45 More than 1 year ago
i really enjoy stephanie's books, especially the plum series.i will be reading in bed and start laughing so hard that my husband has to ask me what is so funny. i buy the hard cover because i can not wait for the papaer back, i read the book in a day or two.please never leave lulu out. she is a hoot, i love her character. i can see these being a movie. it would be better than sex in the city, which i love. keep up the great job and please do a new one soon, anita
BugnTysMom More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of my favorite Stephanie Plum books! Janet included all of the usual cast of characters - Joe, Lula, Connie, Grandma Mazur, Mom & Dad, Yummy Ranger, and the mysterious Diesel. Actually the more we see of Diesel in these Between-The-Numbers books, the less mysterious he is but he's gaining definite hottie status.

Throw in a monkey and the fire-farting redneck and it's the perfect Stephanie adventure. Everyone made brief appearances in the story but they added their usual wit and personality to it. I truly laughed out loud several times which is the sign of a great Plum novel.

I was curled up on the couch, but felt like I was sitting backseat to this crazt adventure. And laughing all the way!
Kace More than 1 year ago
** spoiler alert ** the between the numbers books are never as good as the real deal. And Evanovich is losing her grip on her characters in my opinion. I did laugh out loud in some spots, so that was nice. Though her comedy is less satisfying, simply because she uses it all the time and it seems forced anymore.
Diesel seems to be the supernatural answer to Ranger in these books, in this one in particular, their parts are really interchangeable. The whole Sasquatch, Jersey Devil and Easter bunny (not to mention the ...more the between the numbers books are never as good as the real deal. And Evanovich is losing her grip on her characters I think. I did laugh out loud in some spots, so that was nice. Though her comedy is less satisfying, simply because she uses it all the time and it seems forced anymore.


The one good thing I found from Fearless 14, which was the possibility of at least one relationship of this series getting resolved (Lula and Tanks), is now not going to happen. Irritating and frustrating to realise that Evanovich is just going to keep these characters going with no end in sight. While I've loved the stories, and was glad that they continued, I think there's a time to tie up lose ends while the stories are still good. Tank moving to an old lady house for the sake of 3 cats? seriously?
I read an interview Evanovich did a couple years ago, saying that her fans would kill her if she ever stopped writing about Stephanie, or had Stephanie finally choose once and for all, Morelli, or Ranger?
I don't think she's correct in that assumption. I feel disappointment that this once great series will never be allowed to grow, change, age...anything. It's aggravating to realize that Janet will continue to write this series into the ground because of some idea that her fans wouldn't like her to allow growth, answers etc.
Forgive my rant, it's just been a love of affair of years that has disappointed in the end. I have grown and changed, and the characters never will. Maybe the problem is me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Plum Spooky is very enjoyable. I was lucky enough to read it already and although I don¿t generally like Diesel and the paranormal in-between stuff because it does not fit the plums, I did enjoy this one. (And thought Visions of Sugar Plums was cute)

I enjoy the normal characters in all the in-between books, like I do the regular numbered ones. Its just the unmentionable stuff of the in-between books that doesn¿t do it for me. However, in Plum Spooky there is more of the normal and the normal characters that we love. Maybe because it is a full size book we get more Plum like content in it. I enjoyed this about Plum Spooky.

Also, our favorite characters feel like they are falling into their proper established places. They fit their roles so the story does not feel forced and uncomfortable, like it sometimes did in some situations in past numbered books from this series. I am glad to see this and find it makes for a much more enjoyable free flowing read.

I have been enjoying the bits of growth we have been seeing in the last few Plum numbered books, and we see some more small bits of growth for Stephanie personally in Plum Spooky as well. Which is a nice treat for an in-between. We see little bits of Stephanie¿s relationships and how nicely established they have become and continue to become. Love, friendships, family, community etc. these relationships and Stephanie in relation to them are small parts of this book as well, which gives a sense of continuation between the numbered books and the in-between the numbered ones. These little bits bridge the two. It makes the in-between the numbers books¿ feel better connected to the series, I would say.

What was also great about this book is that the title Plum Spooky, is spot on. It is spooky!! I love that the Pine Barrens was used. However, just because it is spooky at times Janet still puts forth her unique style of humor and zaniness that the readers have come to love.

Any true fan of the Plum series and the characters the way Janet actually writes them, will probably like this book or will at least like our regular characters in it, and the spooky parts. Even if the concept of the in-between the number books has not been their cup of tea. At least in this one there is more of the ¿Normal¿ stuff and normal recognizable characters.

If the only issue for some was the concept of the in-betweens being paranormal and not fitting within in the normalness of the series, then this still will have that element to it, however; there is more story set around it, that is still our beloved and established Plum, so even for them its worth a read. I enjoyed it and I don¿t enjoy Diesel, so that says a lot!

I think the unbiased readers will very much enjoy Plum Spooky as well.
TriciaDM on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
This was a surprisingly long in-between-the-numbers novel and that was AWESOME!!!!I love her characters and this one did not fail!
shelleyraec on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
I love the Plum series - laugh out loud, pure fun and I was glad to finally get my hands on this. Another rolicking adventure even though a little out there in terms of plot - perfect escapism though and sice I was ill it was just what i needed to cheer me up.
Kace on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
the between the numbers books are never as good as the real deal. And Evanovich is losing her grip on her characters I think. I did laugh out loud in some spots, so that was nice. Though her comedy is less satisfying, simply because she uses it all the time and it seems forced anymore. Diesel seems to be the supernatural answer to Ranger in these books, in this one in particular, their parts are really interchangeable. The whole Sasquatch, Jersey Devil and Easter bunny (not to mention the flame farter) were such a flippin stretch. I don't know, it's just gotten a bit old.The one good thing I found from Fearless 14, which was the possibility of at least one relationship of these series getting resolved (Lula and Tanks), is now not going to happen. Irritating and frustrating to realise that Evanovich is just going to keep these characters going with no end in sight. While I've loved the stories, and was glad that they continued, I think there's a time to tie up lose ends while the stories are still good. Tank moving to an old lady house for the sake of 3 cats? seriously? I read an interview Evanovich did a couple years ago, saying that her fans would kill her if she ever stopped writing about Stephanie, or had Stephanie finally choose once and for all, Morelli, or Ranger? I don't think she's correct in that assumption. I feel disappointment that this once great series will never be allowed to grow, change, age...anything. It's aggravating to realize that Janet will continue to write this series into the ground because of some idea that her fans wouldn't like her to allow growth, answers etc. Forgive my rant, it's just been a love of affair of years that has disappointed in the end. I have grown and changed, and the characters never will. Maybe the problem is me.
raenstorm on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
Always fun to be on a new adventure with Stephanie. As much as I enjoy Diesel as an "in between" guy, I was happy that both Ranger and Morelli made appearances here as well. Overall I thought it was a solid book. Didn't make me laugh as much as previous books but was definitely a good "hold me over" until the next numbered book comes out.
aleene on LibraryThing 4 days ago
This was surely another crazy novel around Stephanie Plum. Likes it a lot and finished it quickly.
ctfrench on LibraryThing 4 days ago
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum¿s latest bond jumper is Munch, a quantum physics genius who looks like a kid. Munch has been seen hanging out with a tall man who strongly resembles a vampire and disappears in a cloud of smoke. Mysterious super-bounty hunter Diesel shows up at Stephanie¿s apartment, telling her he¿s tracking his cousin Wulf Grimoire, the very man who has befriended Munch. Wulf doesn¿t mind twisting people¿s necks and leaving his hand print branded on their skin, and his pairing with Munch cannot be good. Both are unstable and Diesel suspects Wulf has found the perfect person to help him gain power to control the world. Stephanie and Diesel team up to capture the two miscreants, who have taken up residence in the Pine Barrens, home to the Jersey Devil and all sorts of weird persons and creatures.Stepping outside the Plum numerical series, Janet Evanovich offers her readers a fun romp with Stephanie and Diesel as they pursue Munch and Wulf. Add to this mix a monkey Stephanie is babysitting who seems more human than monkey and plays an integral part in the investigation. This is the perfect book to be read at Halloween, with some very strange goings on in the Pine Barrens, along with Diesel and Wulf, whose powers are a bit out of this world.
FicusFan on LibraryThing 4 days ago
This is a Stephanie Plum book. It is in the Between the Numbers series. That means that Joe and Ranger take a backseat to Diesel. He is a magical hunky being who pops into Stephanie's life when their cases coincide. Diesel is an enforcer who goes after other magicals who cross the line to the dark side. This series has a light touch of fantasy. It is also like the main series with humor, mystery, and romance. Stephanie is still an incompetent bounty hunter, and Jersey girl. Some are upset that Stephanie never changes, picks a man, gets better at her job ... I see her and both series as the equivalent to comfort food. I don't want change.In this romp there is also a monkey named Carl. He is a pet and left leashed on Stephanie's doorknob one morning by an annoying acquaintance. Carl doesn't produce the hilarity of the racehorse Doug from the last book Plum Lucky , but its still cute.One of the important - read more expensive, bail jumpers Munch, is palling around with one of Diesel's evil quarry, Wulf. Munch is nerdy and incompetent at anything but science, Wulf is quite competent and dangerous. Stephanie, Diesel and Carl spend the story chasing Munch and Wulf around Trenton and the Pine Barrens. They encounter the Easter Bunny, Sasquatch and a woman who keeps monkeys she has rescued. She has been kidnapped, and Carl releases the other monkeys.Stephanie and Lula also try to round up some other bail jumpers with predictable and hilarious results. A good, light, fun read. Can't wait for the next one.