Stephanie Plum chases killers, burglars and romance—well, not romance this time—through the flames that threaten every square inch of Trenton.
It’s not as if there weren’t enough work for the bounty hunters of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, dedicated professionals charged with bringing in Failures to Appear like serial flasher Junior Turley, who’s known to every housewife in his neighborhood, and retired pharmacist Myron Kaplan, who robbed his dentist at gunpoint when his new choppers began to ache. They really don’t need the two unrelated cases that pop up like mushrooms. Stephanie’s pal Lula arrives at work one evening to report that she just saw a man getting beheaded outside the Sunshine Hotel, and smoldering Ranger, the bounty hunter who’s long lusted after Stephanie, reveals that clients using his security systems are getting robbed left and right. Stephanie would turn to her main squeeze, Det. Joe Morelli, if an argument about peanut butter hadn’t sent them skittering to opposite corners. Looks like she and Lula will be on their own as they go after the $1 million reward offered by Fire in the Hole Red Hot Barbecue Sauce for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the parties Lula watched decapitate celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle. To get in the mood, Lula naturally takes up barbecuing, and soon, as Stephanie says, “I’d been involved in so many fires in the past week I’d lost count”—and that’s with two more still to come.
Don’t get too invested in figuring out the crime wave that motivates a parade of transvestite jokes, diarrhea jokes and fart jokes, because Evanovich (Fearless Fourteen, 2008, etc.) certainly doesn’t.