The problem with being a bounty hunter is it's all on-the-job training. And Stephanie Plum is still learning the ways to get yourself killed. Take the case of Maxine Norwicki . . .
When Maxine failed to turn up for her day in court, Stephanie was given the task of bringing her in. Simple. Except Maxine's boyfriend has now begun receiving mysterious, coded notes from the runaway that hint at buried treasure.
In fact the notes are so indecipherable that Stephanie has to call on the help of Sally Sweet, giant drag queen and code-breaker extraordinaire. And Steph's knight errant, cop Joe Morelli, is also proving useful - although he can't decide what he wants most: Maxine's bounty or Stephanie's body.
Meanwhile a friend loses a finger, a mother is scalped, an apartment is firebombed and a store clerk is murdered. And out in the street, the crazy treasure hunt game goes on . . .