Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel
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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Don’t miss Janet Evanovich’s short story “Pros and Cons” in the back of the book.
Catch a professional assassin: top priority. Find a failure-to-appear and collect big bucks: top score. How she’ll pull it all off: top secret.
Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures. So Stephanie is going to have to do something she really doesn’t want to do: protect former hospital security guard and general pain in her behind Randy Briggs. Briggs was picking up quick cash as Poletti’s bookkeeper and knows all his boss’s dirty secrets. Now Briggs is next on Poletti’s list of people to put six feet under.
To top things off, Ranger—resident security expert and Stephanie’s greatest temptation—has been the target of an assassination plot. He’s dodged the bullet this time, but if Ranger wants to survive the next attempt on his life, he’ll have to enlist Stephanie’s help and reveal a bit more of his mysterious past.
Death threats, highly trained assassins, highly untrained assassins, and Stark Street being overrun by a pack of feral Chihuahuas are all in a day’s work for Stephanie Plum. The real challenge is dealing with her Grandma Mazur’s wild bucket list. A boob job and getting revenge on Joe Morelli’s Grandma Bella can barely hold a candle to what’s number one on the list—but that’s top secret.
Praise for Top Secret Twenty-One
“The combination of biting dialogue, outrageous characters and intense story lines are consistent throughout. And [Janet Evanovich] novels are the true definition of a guilty pleasure.”—Associated Press
“Evanovich doesn’t disappoint. . . . [She] weaves setting, family, romance and crime to pull the plot of Top Secret Twenty-One forward.”—Bookreporter
fell asleep I had nightmares.” “Sounds like the only one having a worse night was Ranger,” Connie said. I helped myself to coffee. “What’s with Ranger?” Connie’s eyebrows went up. “You didn’t hear? His building is sealed off. I don’t know all the details, but they had to evacuate. Gardi and one of the Rangeman guys are in the hospital. It’s all a big secret. No one’s saying anything.” “I bet it’s anthrax,” Briggs said. “It’s always anthrax when they seal off a building.” I tapped Ranger’s
for Sunday night. I’ll let you know when we get out of the movies, and you can come get him.” TWELVE I WAS AT the office, finishing my lunch, when Morelli texted to tell me I could return to my apartment. I left Briggs with Lula and Connie, trudged out to the Buick, and slowly drove down Hamilton. I drove slowly because I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to see the destruction. It was depressing. I’d done this drill too many times. I was tired of it. At least this time there would be no
by a standing fan. “This is so romantic,” I said to Ranger. “Does it give you ideas?” He wrapped an arm around me, dragged me close against him, and kissed me on the forehead. “Yes, it gives me ideas, but not about marriage. Mostly about setting fire to this atrocity.” “It’s not that bad. It’s sort of growing on me.” What was really growing on me was hunger. I hadn’t had any lunch, and I was ready to kill for a chunk of the wedding cake. “I want to see the meeting rooms and the conference
it to the surface of the safe. Kate looked at her watch for the hundredth time. Why wasn’t Jessup calling her? Did he realize time was ticking away? She could hear the band playing twenty floors above her, and half a block away she had two vans filled with agents playing craps and catching up on their Twitter accounts. She went inside the Windsong Building and approached the mountain of a man who was guarding the elevators. She flashed her badge and identified herself. “I need to go up,” she
were cracked. Black soot around one of the third-floor windows suggested there’d been a fire. A rat ran out of the open doorway and scurried down the sidewalk. “We should take a look,” I said. “And someone needs to stay with the car to make sure it’s not stolen.” We all sat still as statues. Hard to tell if it was worse to stay with the car or go into the building. “Okay, I’m going in,” I said. “And I’ll take Briggs with me.” “Hunh,” Lula said. “How come I have to be the one to stay behind?”