It's five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn't got a tree. She hasn't bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There's not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment. And there's a strange man in her kitchen. Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. Strangers, weirdos, felons, creeps, and lunatics are always finding their way to her front door. But this guy is different. This guy is mysterious, sexy-and he has his own agenda. His name is Diesel and he is a man on a mission. And Diesel is unlike anyone Stephanie has ever met before in her life. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn't look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant? These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas "surprise" for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn't believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style. Visions of Sugar Plums-the world of Plum has never been merrier! Amazon.com Review Christmas in bounty hunter Stephanie Plum's world isn't quite like Christmas in Whoville. With only four days to go before December 25, she doesn't have a decorated tree in her apartment or any presents bought. Plus she's chasing an elusive bail-jumper named Sandy Claws; a hunky guy named Diesel is literally popping in and out of her apartment; and a mob of manic elves is threatening to assault her with cookies. The end result is that Stephanie is feeling a tad stressed over the holiday season. Life isn't any calmer over at her parents' home in the Burg, where Grandma Mazur is dating a new octogenarian stud muffin; sister Valerie is wailing over some unwelcome news; and Stephanie's mother is coping by belting back tumblers of Red Roses in the kitchen. Just where is the elusive Mr. Claws hiding, and why? What's causing the power blackouts all over Trenton? And what about the mysterious villain, Mr. Ring? Is all of this real, or is Stephanie just having a very bad dream? Janet Evanovich's mysteries are eagerly awaited by fans everywhere and this holiday installment won't disappoint. With a returning cast of entertaining, quirky characters and a rock-solid setting in New Jersey wrapped around an intriguing mystery, Evanovich delivers yet another hilarious adventure featuring irrepressible bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. --Lois Faye Dyer From Publishers Weekly A sugar plum for Christmas, indeed! Stephanie Plum, Evanovich's delightfully zany New Jersey bounty hunter, is the star of this too short but hilarious holiday romp. Grousing about the approaching Yule is something many of us can relate to and wishing for a helpful angel might strike a chord with some. But it takes a special imagination to conjure the handsome, if sort of grungy young stranger, Diesel, who magically pops into Stephanie's kitchen one morning just four days before December 25. Diesel joins Stephanie in her hunt for a bail skipper, Sandy Claws ("It was probably Klaus and got screwed up at Ellis Island"), though in fact he's after another target entirely and Stephanie's skipper is a means to that end. In addition to trying to catch Sandy Claws, Stephanie has to get ready for Christmas-which gives Diesel the opportunity to meet her unconventional family. "I'm always knocked out," he observes, "by the way a family can be at the upper end of dysfunction and insanity and still work so well as a unit." When that family includes a pistol-packing grandma, a niece who thinks she's a palomino and a sister on the verge of crisis, that's quite a statement. Throw in some elves, a mad hunt for a Christmas tree and a few fires and you have a Plum-crazy Christmas classic. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.