Just what Trenton’s favorite bounty-hunter needed: a stint playing Cupid’s helper as the hours tick down to Valentine’s Day.
The bail-bond business is quiet in Trenton after the holidays. The streets are too cold for hookers and pushers, and the serious crackheads celebrated Christmas by overdosing. In fact, the only real draw on Stephanie Plum’s list of Failures to Appear is relationship expert Annie Hart, who jumped bail after getting charged with armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Now Diesel, the skip-tracer who provides an even more unsuitable alternative to Stephanie’s unsuitable regular men (Twelve Sharp, 2006, etc.), has turned up with a proposition. He’s taken Annie into protective custody because she’s been threatened by her unsatisfied client Bernie Beaner, whose marriage is on the rocks. Diesel offers to turn Annie over to Stephanie after she fills in for her professionally in the weekend before Valentine’s Day. The job involves straightening out the amatory problems of divorced mom Charlene Klinger, who doesn’t want a man; lovably dorky veterinarian Dr. Gary Martin; Larry Burlew, the painfully shy butcher who keeps staring out his window at Jet, the coffee-shop waitress opposite; 35-year-old virgin Jeanine Chan; and Albert Kloughn, who’d like to marry Stephanie’s sister Valerie but just can’t bring himself to pop the question and submit to the ceremony. As usual, Stephanie’s job will eventually lead her to some serious mobsters—this time fearsome ex-button man Lou Delvina—and, as usual, the plot will be seriously upstaged by the fusillade of one-liners (asked to describe the man she’d like to have deflower her, Jeanine wistfully replies, “I’d like him to have at least some teeth”).
Just the thing for panting fans who can’t wait for Stephanie’s 13th numbered case. And if this bonbon is even less substantial than her customary fare, well, Valentine’s Day isn’t really such a major holiday, is it?