Sammy the Grunt, who ended up in prison at the end of book three, The Wrath of Grapes, is shackled in the back seat of a prison van on his way to the dentist, when a severe winter storm causes an accident that kills the two guards in the front seat. The chance of escaping is unexpected, and the difficulty of removing the restraints from his hands and feet puts Sammy’s street skills to the test. Before long, Sammy is back on the vineyard, and Sarah is once again imprisoned in her bedroom.
The storm causes a power outage that sends all our favorite characters, along with their dogs and cats,to the home of Joe and Clara who have a generator. In the midst of all the confusion, Lucky the dog escapes for a nap in the back of a truck and ends up in Ohio. His owner, Clara, is heartbroken and leaves Joe to search for her dog.
Sammy,trying to survive in extreme winter weather,hijacks cars and breaks into houses.
Lucky finds a way to return home in time to be an important factor in the story’s ending.
IN THE WHITE WORLD of snow that was falling like heavy wet cement from a blackened sky, the bolt of lightning followed by a crash of thunder seemed eerily out of place. Except for the police van that plowed through the deep snow, the road was empty.
The solitary man in the back of the van was viewing the whole situation as an adventure. Even though his shackled feet were attached to the van’s security bars and his hands were cuffed, he intended to make the most of every minute. This was the first time he, Sammy the Grunt, had been out of his cell since his transfer from an overcrowded federal downstate prison to a much smaller northern one. Huddled under the warmth of the borrowed coat that covered his orange prison suit, he relaxed; the storm was the guards’ problem, not his.
Hidden by the pelting snow, the wildly swinging traffic light seemed to appear out of nowhere.
“It’s red!” yelled the guard in the passenger seat.
“Can’t help it!” exclaimed the white-knuckled driver. “I can’t stop!”
The unexpected carnival-like ride sensation as the van slid sideways and fishtailed through the intersection made Sammy grin; the front passengers didn’t.
“I don’t like the looks of this,” muttered the driver. “Man, I’d love to see a snowplow right now!”
“Seems like we’ve been driving forever,” the passenger whined. “Are we there yet?”
“Are we there yet, Daddy?” the driver mocked in a child-like voice. “You sound just like my four-year old!”
“Well, are we?”
“Almost. The dentist office should be straight ahead, on your right.”
Another bolt of lightning followed by crashing thunder startled them.
“Wow!” cried the guard. “Lightning and thunder in the middle of a snowstorm? Who ever heard of that?”
The guard whirled his head around and stared at the prisoner. “What did you say?”
“It’s called thundersnow.”
“How do you know that?”
Sammy shrugged. With years behind bars and lots of time to read, he had learned a little bit about many things. What he remembered about thundersnow was that a very powerful winter storm usually followed. He kept this information to himself as they continued driving into the storm.