Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot Six (Stephanie Plum, No. 6)

Hot Six (Stephanie Plum, No. 6)Never mind who did the deed with New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum at the end of High Five. Five months later, that night's only a dim, cherished memory, and Stephanie's freezing her butt off on a Trenton bridge trying to keep her friend Carol--caught shoplifting some crotchless panties she was too embarrassed to buy--from committing suicide.
Truth is, I didn't for a minute think she'd jump. For one thing, she was wearing a four-hundred-dollar jacket from Wilson Leather. You just don't jump off a bridge in a four-hundred-dollar jacket. It isn't done. The jacket would get ruined. Carol was from the Chambersburg section of Trenton, just like me, and in the Burg you gave the jacket to your sister, then you jumped off the bridge.
When Stephanie finally talks Carol down and makes it in to work at Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, it's only to find that her libido-boosting pal Ranger, the professional bounty hunter and sometime hit man, has disappeared. A building owned by black-market arms dealer Alexander Ramos has burned down, with Ramos's son Homer lying inside, dead from a gunshot wound. Ranger, who was caught on film there by video cameras, is wanted for questioning. Stephanie's boss Vinnie wants her to find him, but Stephanie, who knows she won't find Ranger if he doesn't want to be found, refuses. Soon everyone, from her cop boyfriend Joe Morelli to the two Laurel and Hardy wannabes who suddenly start following her around Trenton in a badass black Lincoln, thinks she's hot on Ranger's trail.

And Stephanie's got other things to worry about. For one thing, Grandma Mazur's moved in with her, and so has Bob, a golden retriever who's only partly house trained. Then Ranger starts popping up at odd times of the night, with instructions for Stephanie to keep an eye on another Ramos son, Hannibal. Add to that one homicidal maniac, a couple more dead bodies, Stephanie's usual bad car karma, and the zit from hell, and you've got yourself one fine Stephanie Plum adventure. Will Stephanie triumph? You can bet a jelly doughnut on it. And there's another great cliffhanger waiting at the end. --Barrie Trinkle

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