Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey.
According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys.
Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He's chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he's chosen the Barrens as his new playground
Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He's now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn't made it out of the boys' department at Macy's. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn't met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree.
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.
Diesel pops in and out of Plum's life like birthday cake - delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He's an uber bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He's after Grimoire, and now he's also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn't mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs.
Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.
I really didn't have very high expectations for this one as I have been increasingly disappointed with the Plum-verse. I think 12 was the last book that I really enjoyed and the Between the Numbers have never been my favorites. That plus that JCC and I just knew I was in for yet another disappointment. I mean, what the heck was it with the monkeys?!
I am happy to announce, though, that I WAS WRONG!! I remember now why I fell in love with Plum. Here's just a few examples...
"It's not our juju," I told Lula. "It's our skill level. We're incompetent."
"I got a high skill level," Lula said. "I just shot a rat off a rafter."
"You weren't aiming for it."
"Yeah. My skill level is so high I do things I don't even try to do."
...I got out of the car and examined the dirt like I was Tonto running point for the Lone Ranger."
"Ranger this and Ranger that," Lula said. "Don't none of you people think for yourself? I bet you can't wipe yourself without Ranger telling you."
Tank looked at her in the rearview mirror. "I'm telling him you said that."
"I might have misspoke," Lula said.
**** And since I'm a Babe, this one is my favorite quote of the book:
I allowed myself a moment to relax into Ranger. He was warm and strong, and all the bad, frightening things in life went away when he held me like this.
Those are just a few examples of things that made me smile or laugh. The monkey story line that they seem so proud of on the JCC, wasn't nearly as horribly slap-sticky as I had figured it would be. Carl the monkey (from book 14) was back, and I actually liked him. Joe was in the book but not really, Evanovich kept him out of the way and mostly I just had to deal with him over the phone. And really, with characters like the fire farter, who could ask for anything more?Even Diesel didn't bother me much. In fact, I know of liked the way he teased Stephanie, and the dynamic between the two of them.
There were a few things that gave me pause, but all in all, I am SO glad I read this one. For the first time since closing the pages of 14, I'm excited about 15!