Note: Spoilers abound.
Are there really spoilers in a Stephanie Plum book, though? I mean, we know that Lula is going to wear outrageous outfits, that Grandma is going to do something wacky, that Mrs. Plum is going to drink a little bit of Four Roses in her iced tea glass, and that Stephanie is going to have some near-death experiences.
In installment 23 (are we really up to that number?), we open with Stephanie and Morelli’s relationship status upgraded to engaged to be engaged. Apparently, Joe had some sort of medical thing in the last book which made him feel especially domestic for a short while. Stephanie’s on the hunt for Larry Virgil, who is out on bond for stealing an eighteen-wheeler full of bourbon, and she and Lula catch him stealing another eighteen-wheeler, only this time, it’s full of ice cream and a dead guy covered in chocolate sauce. So, you know, a typical day in Trenton.
In the meantime, Ranger needs Stephanie to go undercover at the ice cream plant, which is sort of related to the stolen truck full of ice cream and dead guy. The B stories this time include Grandma getting engaged to a biker bartender in one of the more delightful Grandma side-stories, and Lula and Randy Briggs (the short guy) filming themselves in their birthday suits wandering about Trenton for an audition tape for “Naked and Afraid”. Think about that visual for just a few seconds.
But what you really need to know, is that Stephanie sleeps with Ranger. At the Contemporary Resort at Disney World. Twice. While wearing Tinkerbell underwear.
The last few Stephanie books have felt pretty formulaic, and they have been, but they’re still fun, and I’m still reading them. Plus, you know, Ranger. It’s hard to give him up.