Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum Novels)
by Janet Evanovich
Review by Gayle Surrette
St. Martin's Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0312349483
Date: 20 June, 2006 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Stephanie Plum is in the middle of a muddle again. The office is overflowing with FTAs that need to be rebonded so Vinnie isn't out his money. Ranger doesn't take as many cases as before and he's off somewhere anyway. So they decide to hire a new bounty hunter. In the process they end up hiring bail jumping Melvin Pickle to do the filing, give Joyce Barnhardt all the impossible cases, and interview a lot of psychotic wannabe losers. But this is only a side issue as Ranger's daughter Julie is kidnapped from her parents home in Florida and a women shows up at the bond office claiming to be Carmen Manoso -- Ranger's wife. But Carmen's story doesn't ring true for the folks that know Ranger and it becomes obvious that someone has decided to take over Ranger's life. And Stephanie is supposed to complete the picture of the happy Manoso bounty hunter family, after Edward Scrogs kills Ranger of course.
As typically in a Plumian mystery, nothing goes simply, and the complexities are, as usual, absurd. Ranger moves into Stephanie's apartment and takes to following her around in disguises that include adding color to his clothing. The plan is to protect Stephanie even while they use her as bait to lure Scrogs into the open. Morelli naturally moves in to keep an eye on Ranger, which leaves Stephanie choking on the testosterone clouds. And Scrogs keeps stun gunning Stephanie every time they meet and then slipping away unnoticed.
As you can see it's the usual mix of mystery, mayhem, and comedy for Stephanie Plum, especially when you add in the fact that Lula has joined Sally's band as a lead singer, and Grandma Masur is going to be a backup singer when they play the old folk home gigs.