Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter, is on the hunt for a man who wants to take over the world. Stephanie Plum works for her cousin Vincent Plum in his bail bonds business. Stephanie's job is to apprehend people that don't show up for their court dates. The problem is that Stephanie is not terribly competent at her job and most of her cases are solved through dumb luck or help from her mentor and friend, Ranger.
Stephanie's case involves Martin Munch, a genius in an undersized body. Munch is a scientist who has “forgotten” his court date so Stephanie must find him and take him to the police station so that Vinnie does not forfeit his bail money to the court.
Stephanie wakes up one morning, prepared to go in search for Munch. Attached to her door she finds a monkey with a sign attached. The monkey, whose name is Carl, belongs to a former client of Vinnie's. For some reason the monkey's owner chooses Stephanie to money-sit while she in on her honeymoon. Carl is smart and sarcastic, usually pouting until he gets his own way or giving everyone the finger. Lula, Stephanie's sometime assistant, is not terribly fond of Carl having hard a previous incident with the monkey.
Stephanie finds Diesel in her kitchen. Diesel appears from time to time, usually when he needs to apprehend someone who has broken the code of the “Unmentionables,” a group of people with certain paranormal qualities. Diesel has some of these qualities which include being able to open any lock.
Stephanie groans when she sees Diesel but it turns out that their cases are interconnected. Munch's new business partner is Wulf Grimoire, Diesel's evil cousin and the person Diesel has been sent to find. Together the men are preparing to take over the world by using supersized rockets.
The trail takes Diesel, Stephanie and Lula into the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Although Lula swears she is not a scaredy cat, she says there is no way she will go into the Pine Barrens because that is where the Jersey Devil lives. The Jersey Devil is a mythical creature with wings, something like a large devil bat. Nevertheless, Lula agrees to go along.
Diesel takes Carl and manages to find Gail Scanlon, one of the suspect's sisters, who is a rescuer of monkeys. Carl is incensed by their being put in cages and releases them all. A hunt for monkeys is on. Meanwhile, Stephanie's mentor, Ranger is on standby to help and saves Stephanie more than once from incidents in the Pine Barrens such as her car catching fire.
Stephanie gets too close to the situation and is kidnapped by Wulf. Diesel searches for Stephanie but she manages to get away. Stephanie is lost in the Pine Barrens and begins to wander about. She discovers that the Jersey Devil is not the only mythical creature to live in the woods. Stephanie has encounters with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Sasquatch, and Fred, a man who farts fire. Elmer gives Stephanie a lift back to her parents' house in Trenton. Hilarity ensues when Elmer stays for dinner and catches the dining room on fire.
Stephanie hooks up with Diesel and they return to the Pine Barrens. They, along with Carl, find Munch and Wulf's new lair in an underground mine. Diesel catches Munch as he tries to get away. Stephanie turns Munch into the police. Unfortunately, Wulf gets away. Diesel leaves shortly after to continue his hunt for his cousin.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like the story a lot because it is very humorous and contains an edge of intrigue surrounding Munch's attempt to take over the world.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene takes place when Elmer the fire farter join's Stephanie's family for dinner. The food causes Elmer to pass gas and as a result, sets the dining room on fire.
Opinion about the main character:
I love Stephanie's perseverance even though she can be, at times, completely incompetent.