Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.
Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.
With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.
“Well, I guess I should be on the hunt with you,” Lula said. “You probably don’t even got your gun. What if you gotta shoot someone? What then?”
“We don’t shoot people,” I told her.
Let’s just put this out there right now. Stephanie is never going to choose. I’ve accepted it. In fact, I love that she doesn’t choose between Morelli and Ranger. It’s a tough choice. Morelli loves her, may want to marry her, but hates her job (which she’ll never give up), and cannot really get past the idea that she’s not domesticated. Ranger loves her, accepts her job for what it is, but doesn’t want to marry or domesticate her. She has the best of both worlds, why would she want to actually choose? They’re both so hot you could get a sunburn standing next to them.
Seventeen starts out with Stephanie at the bakery getting donuts when Joe’s grandma Bella puts a curse on her and it all snowballs downhill for her. Now she’s got “the eye” and a humongous pimple on her forehead. Then she shows up at the empty lot where Plum’s Bail Bonds used to be to find Morelli and a bunch of other police-type folks crowded around a body that had been hastily buried there.
Stephanie’s adventures this time around are funnier than they have been in a while. Lula gets gummed by a geriatric vampire who forgot to put in his teeth and thinks she is becoming a vampire. Stephanie’s mother now wants to set her up with Mr. Popularity from high school who just returned to town. And then Grandma Bella puts the “vardo” curse on Stephanie, which makes Stephanie less…um…inhibited.
This is where I admit I am a Ranger girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love Morelli and would be a Morelli girl if he were the only one after Stephanie, but I generally spend the entire book waiting for Ranger to show up. This book makes me happy. It’s probably my second favorite book in the series, the other being Twelve Sharp, which is basically all about Ranger.
The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and I’m anxious to see how it plays out, although, I’m pretty sure I can figure out the direction she’ll go in…