I have read the 154th book for the book challenge. It was To The Nines (A Stephanie Plum Novel) by Janet Evanovich.
Stephanie was just made a particularly messy apprehension. She is covered in vasoline when she meets Mrs. Arpusenja and her daughter Nonie. They are in Vinnie’s office to ask about finding Samuel Singh, an Indian national who was on a visa bond that Vinnie wrote. He has gone missing along with the Arpusenja’s dog Boo.
Vinnie is beside himself. There was a lot of publicity about this visa bond. His picture was in the paper. It was a big deal. And now the man is missing.
Singh worked at TriBro Industries. Stephanie is working with Ranger on this case. She goes to TriBro and interviews the three brothers who own the company. Andrew is very competent and friendly and helpful. Bart is unfriendly and hostile. Clyde is a goofball who only wants to play on his computer and look at his comic books and collector toys. She learns that Singh was a good employee who didn’t socialize much. He went missing a week ago. Stephanie works undercover one day in his job to try to learn more but learns little except that Bart is very hostile.
About the same time that she starts the case, Stephanie starts receiving red roses and white carnations and gory photos of people who have been shot. These are very disturbing. Then she starts receiving disturbing emails that cannot be traced. They refer to her as the prey being hunted. Stephanie is upset by these occurrences. Morelli is trying to find out about them. Then when Stephanie goes to her apartment, she is shot with a tranquilizing dart and knocked out. Ranger puts a bodyguard on her.
Stephanie learns that Singh was talking to a man named Howie at a McDonald’s before he dies. So she and Lula find him and go to talk to him. He doesn’t want to talk to them. While they are with him, someone shoots Howie dead.
A woman named Lillian Paressi was killed a while ago and Bart Cone was a suspect but released. Stephanie investigates a bit into her murder. She finds a man who lives next door to her, Carl Rosen. She and Ranger wait for him but he never comes home. Stephanie get another delivery of flowers and photos. It is Carl Rosen in the photos.
TriBro receives word that Singh has applied for a job in Las Vegas. Ranger can’t go to Nevada so Stephanie, Lula and Connie go and Tank is going for protection. But Tank gets held up by security. Stephanie finds the house where Singh is staying but he went out early that morning and hasn’t been seen. The dog is there. When the woman he is staying with leaves for work, Stephanie takes the dog and his laptop. When she gets back to the hotel, another delivery of flowers is waiting and a note saying Singh has been eliminated. Lula is driving back with the dog. Stephanie is flying back alone. Connie is staying to find out if she is married or not. Then they find out that Singh was found murdered in the airport parking lot.
Ranger puts another bodyguard on Stephanie. Stephanie’s sister is having a baby. The entire family rushes off to the hospital. Stephanie and the bodyguard are in the labor room when Valerie’s water breaks. Cal the bodyguard is hit and passes out and hits his head and has a concussion. While he is being attended to, Stephanie goes out to call Morelli and Ranger. While outside, a kid with spikey green hair comes up to her and point a gun at her. He tells her that he has been stalking her and that he is the last player in a game and that she is the prey and the prize. She fights him and is hit with a stun gun. When she wakes up, the kid is dead, shot, and her hair is cut. When she gets back to Morelli’s house, there are more flowers and a lock of her hair with a pink ribbon and a note saying the webmaster is now in charge.
Stephanie is sure the webmaster is at TriBro. Which brother is it? Ranger puts himself as her bodyguard and Morelli is her other body guard.
But one night she goes outside in the backyard at Morelli’s house and she is shot with a tranquilizing dart. She wakes up in TriBro and is face to face with Clyde. Clyde is the webmaster. He tells her there are weapons and hostages hidden in TriBro and she can find them only it is dark and she will have to find them in the dark. Stephanie is duct-taped. But she manages to break free and break out a glass partition and find a gun. Clyde comes after her. She unloads the revolver and doesn’t hear anything. She goes looking for the hostages. She finds Albert Kloughn, her sister’s fiancé. He is strapped to a bomb. Then she hears sounds. It is Ranger and Morelli. They have come to rescue her. They find Clyde shot dead. Stephanie had hit Clyde three times. Albert’s bomb is phony. The other hostage is Lula. They release her. She is spitting mad.
All’s well that end’s well.
This was a very dark story. There was a lot of death and spookiness in the plot of this story. Clyde was playing a computer kill game with these people where they would go around killing each other and other people. Their symbol for stalking the people they’d kill was a red rose and white carnation. It was spooky. Stephanie was always in danger. Luckily she had a bodyguard for a lot of the time but she kept losing him for one reason or another, in true Stephanie style. Poor Morelli! He worries so about her. But he and Ranger worked together in this story to find her and protect her. Good job!