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on 3 March 2015
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In the past, Between-the-Numbers Plums have been somewhat disappointing . . . with lots of Diesel (the now-you-see-him, now-you-don't spook who seems to be connected to The Men in Black), but little or no Morelli and Ranger. Well, Ms. Evanovich has solved that problem in Plum Spooky by putting in decent amounts of Morelli and Ranger to season the minor chemistry between Diesel and Stephanie. As a result, this is a full-fledged Plum . . . just as though it had its own number . . . you know, something like Frightening Fifteen.

As usual, Diesel appears out of nowhere with no warning. Stephanie has three accused who have missed their court dates, and none of them seem to be particularly challenging. There's Gordo Bella who ran over his ex-wife's new husband twice and is otherwise law-abiding. Denny Guzzi shot himself in the foot while robbing a convenience story, so he probably isn't going to run very fast. The other is Martin Munch, a skinny, five-foot two-inch scientist who looks like a kid in a SpongeBob T-shirt.

Now all that would seem pretty straightforward, but there's a complication. Susan Stitch has left her pet monkey, Carl, for Stephanie to baby sit while Susan is away on her honeymoon. You guessed it. Carl's part of the investigation team. Now, Carl's not your usual monkey. You'll have to read the book to understand what I mean, but it's all very funny.

The story has one other complication. Have you ever read any of the Carl Hiaasen novels about cleaning up the creeps who are ruining the environment? Well, Carl Hiaasen could have been a coauthor for parts of this story as we read about the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey and the mythical men and beasts of that area (including the Jersey Devil who flies noisily above the trees at night).

Oh, and there's also a plot to control the world. Diesel has a cousin, Wulf Grimoire, who is partnered with Martin Munch to develop some pretty dangerous technology. Diesel claims that he needs Stephanie to join him so that Wulf will not be able to detect him.

As you might expect, Stephanie is happy to help . . . but she's got to meet her other responsibilities, including those other skips, helping Morelli's brother, and advising women on how to handle their men.

With so much at stake, you might not realize that there will be more fun than a barrel of monkeys (perhaps because there are lots of monkeys in the story). Lulu's love life takes an unexpected turn. And you'll meet one of the most dangerous characters ever . . . who has a most remarkable secret problem (that doesn't remain secret for long).

This story is so off-the-wall you could almost imagine it ending with Stephanie waking up from a dream to be relieved that it's all over. But it's no dream, it's Plum Spooky.

The only thing that's missing is some movement of Stephanie permanently toward one of the men in her life.

Have a ball!
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The Between the Numbers series do exactly what they say on the tin, provide instalments of the Stephanie Plum stories between the numbered novels. This latest fitting between numbers 14 and 15 in the series.

Previously the between the numbers books have been slim volumes, more like short stories. They're tied together by the appearance of a semi super natural hero called Diesel and all revolve around festivals such as Christmas and Easter. This one is slightly different in that although it is called 'spooky' it is not about Halloween and is also a much meatier book in terms of number of pages. Stephanie gets entangled with a vampiric character called Wulf, a crazy scientist called Martin Munch and the latest bunch of oddball skips on her regular bounty hunting routines.

This is, in my opinion, a distinct improvement. I have enjoyed the others in the series but was beginning to think that the price for such slender fare was one I was no longer willing to pay. This is much more the thing.

As with the numbered series the material is the same, Stephanie encounters freakish characters, bizarre pets and exploding cars whilst wrestling with the complications of a love life trapped between men she wants to sleep with but can't commit to. Rex is now the oldest hamster in the world and Grandma Mazur is older than God.

The ending to this book is slightly rushed and too neat, but other than that an enjoyable read.

Having said this, if you enjoy Evanovich's sense of humour and her writing and are willing to suspend all belief and any hope that the mainframe plotting will ever move forward you will enjoy yourself.
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on 29 July 2011
As the book is between the numbers, the character relationships do not develop but apart from that, the story is pure Plum, hillariously ridiculous and highly entertaining to the point where I had a fit of the giggles every few pages, much to the curiosity of my fellow travellers. One of my companions removed the book from my hands the minute I had turned the last page, to see what I was laughing at and ended up reading it! If you have enjoyed all the Stephanie Plum novels so far then get this one and have a good laugh but don't expect to 'find out' what happens in the Steph/Morelli/Ranger triangle.
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Plum Spooky is the fourth novel in the Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers books by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie's main FTA in this instalment is the diminutive Martin Munch, a quantum physics whiz, who has, inconveniently, been targeted by the Unmentionable Gerwulf Grimoire (Wulf) to help with a scheme to control the world's weather. Enter Diesel, coincidentally cousin to the evil Wulf, and cosmic bounty hunter. Apart from a good deal of murder, kidnapping, and thievery, there are mythical entities (Easter Bunny, Jersey Devil, Sasquatch, Fire Farter), the use of a nail gun on the human body and the destruction of at least one of Stephanie's vehicles. Stephanie babysits a monkey (or seven), is kidnapped for use as a sex slave, gets lost in the Pine Barrens without bars on her cell phone, gets into a fruit fight, steals a van and some rockets, rides in a helicopter, blows up a fuel depot and a mine and gets stuck in a cranberry bog. Readers don't come to Plum for depth: "What do you think about death?" I asked Diesel. "I like the buffet. After that it's not my favourite thing". Lula is still engaged to Tank but consulting with Miss Gloria and things are looking shaky. Best exchange is probably: "How's it going?" Morelli wanted to know. "It's average. Stole a truck. Blew up a house. Brought home seven monkeys. And now there's a naked man in my shower." "Yeah, same ol', same ol'." Morelli said. Evanovich should lose Carl the very irritating monkey before proceeding. Some laugh-out-loud moments, but this one is average.
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on 8 May 2012
Another gem from Janet, made me laugh out loud. If you have read any of Janets other books about stephanie plum the bounty hunter and her sidekick lula you will not be disapointed. Diesal is another potential love interest. Stephanie acquires a monkey who plays a key role in the story. In her usual style she manages to capture, loose and recapture her felons assisted by lula and co. Along the way she meets some spooky characters involved in scientific skulduggery, a good read.
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on 19 March 2013
Janet Evanovich never fails to disappoint in her books about Stephanie Plum and this is no exception. More mishaps, more thrills and still more surreal violence with Stephanie doing her usual getting into scrapes but still refusing to use a gun. And now she has Carl, the monkey, to look after and he also gets caught up in the action. A thoroughly good read and suitable, I think, for a wide variety of ages who want a good laugh as well as suspense!
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on 30 January 2010
Although this is between the numbers it could be number 16 it is that good, we have Morelli, Ranger, Lulu, Tank and Diesel, mainly Diesel in this book, Stephanie doing what she does best getting herself into trouble and being amazed when it all blows up. for the first time reader of J Evanovich start with her first Stephanie book "One for the Money" if you enjoy a laugh you wont be disapointed.
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on 13 October 2013
Janet Evanovich is one of my favourite authors and this book is brilliant. Chuckles a plenty, Stephanie getting up to her usual tricks along with a hunky sidekick (not Morelli or Ranger) and a monkey who loves eating everything and playing super mario. Will not give the plot away but worth reading and just could not put it down.
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on 2 February 2014
It just tears along. Populated by weirdoes and punctuated by explosions and laugh-out-loud moments this is a sensation of a book. From almost human monkeys, debatably-human villains and luscious heroines this book has them all. A fire-farter? (Check) The Jersey Devil? (Check) The Easter Bunny? (Check) What's not to love?
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