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Top Secret Twenty-one

Cover of Top Secret Twenty-one

Top Secret Twenty-one

Stephanie Plum Series, Book 21
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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

From the Hardcover edition.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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

From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    I was perched on a barstool in a dark, noisy, overpriced ­restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey. I was wearing a red dress that was too tight, too short, and cut way too low. And I was wearing an earbud that connected me to a guy named Ricardo Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger.

    My name is Stephanie Plum. I usually work as a bond enforcement agent for my cousin Vinnie, but tonight I was moonlighting as a lookout for Ranger. Ranger was stalking Emilio Gardi, a man many considered to be untouchable. Gardi had friends in high places, an army of thugs guarding his body, and money to burn, and his enemies tended to disappear without a trace. He was currently facing a racketeering charge in Miami, but he'd decided to keep his dinner date in Jersey rather than attend his court hearing in Dade County. This meant that the idiot who'd been dumb enough to post a bond for Gardi was out big money unless Gardi was dragged back to jail. The idiot happened to be Ranger's cousin.

    Ranger owns Rangeman, a small high-­tech, high-­end ­security firm. Ordinarily Ranger doesn't do bond enforcement, but tonight he was making an exception. He was standing off to the side at the entrance to the dining room, and he was watching Gardi.

    Gardi was wearing a tan sports jacket over a shirt with red and yellow flowers printed on it--­the South Beach--­meets--­JCPenney look. He was in his fifties. He was balding. He was built like a fireplug. He was drinking red wine and eating rack of lamb, having a good time, entertaining three other men who were laughing too hard at his jokes.

    Ranger was in his usual black--­a perfectly tailored black suit, and a black dress shirt open at the neck. The Glock at the small of his back was also black. Ranger's body is perfect. His hair is very dark brown. Cut short. His eyes are dark brown and intense. His skin is the color of hot chocolate, the lucky result of his Latino ancestry. His earbud matched his skin tone and was barely detectable.

    Standing beside Ranger was a guy named Tank. Tank is big and solid and lethal. He'd been with Ranger's unit in Special Forces, and now he's second in command at Rangeman and watches Ranger's back.

    I didn't see any of Gardi's henchmen. They'd waited for him to take his table and then left the room.

    "The room is clean," I said to Ranger via the earbud.

    Ranger moved forward, his gaze never wavering from his quarry. Eye of the tiger. I've seen him focus like this on other takedowns, and it always raises the hair on my arms and at the nape of my neck.

    Tank was steps behind him, surveying the rest of the room. Ranger unbuttoned his jacket to get better access to his gun and handcuffs. He stopped behind Gardi, put his hand on Gardi's shoulder, and said something to him, close to his ear.

    Gardi shrugged Ranger away, said something I couldn't hear, and everyone at the table laughed.

    Ranger didn't laugh, and even at a distance I knew things were about to get ugly. Ranger made another civil attempt, Gardi got angry and brushed him off, and in one swift move Ranger snatched Gardi out of his chair like a wolverine rooting out a groundhog.

    In a heartbeat Gardi's head was smashed onto the table, everyone grabbed their drinks, and Ranger cuffed Gardi behind his back and handed him over to Tank. Ranger told the table he was sorry for the intrusion and followed Tank and Gardi out of the room. The whole episode had taken maybe a minute.

    A Rangeman vehicle idled in front of the restaurant, ready to take Tank and Gardi back to Rangeman headquarters in center city Trenton. In the morning Gardi would be escorted onto a plane and extradited to...

About the Author-
  • Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series, the Lizzy and Diesel series, twelve romance novels, the Alexandra Barnaby novels and Trouble Maker graphic novel, and How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, as well as the Fox and O'Hare series with co-author Lee Goldberg.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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