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“HOT AND SASSY.”
—The Boston Herald
“Consistently craveable goodies.”
“OFF BEAT AND HILARIOUS…SHE ROCKS!”
—Romantic Times BOOKreviews
“HIGLY ENJOYABLE…WHO CAN RESIST?”
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“AS ENTERTAINING AS EVER.”—Entertainment Weekly
From the Back Cover
#1 New York Times besteller
#1 Washington Post besteller
#1 Publishers Weekly besteller
#1 USA Today besteller
Turn on all the lights and check under your bed.
Things are about to get PLUM SPOOKY…
Trenton, New Jersey–based bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. On her current most wanted list: Martin Munch, a man whose body hasn’t made it out of the boy’s department at Macy’s but whose larger-than-life brain is the means to his business partner’s murderous ends. Usually Stephanie gets her man. This time, she gets Diesel, a bounty hunter whose special skills include tracking men and pleasing women. Now it’s up to Stephanie and Diesel to hunt down Munch through the Pine Barrens and face the legendary Jersey Devil—prowling above the treetops in the dark of night—and find a way to survive cranberry bogs, sand in their underwear, too many monkeys to count...and, of course, each other.
“Incredible amounts of fun.” —Booklist
About the Author
Janet Evanovich is the #1 Bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum novels, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author. She lives in New Hampshire and Florida.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Plum Spooky. Copyright © 2008 by Evanovich, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
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
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,
“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
“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
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
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 ...