Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich

Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in mass market), 296 pages, 2004

Rating: 7/10

Reason for Reading: I wanted a mindless read, and was hoping a non-Stephanie Plum book would freshen up Evanovich’s writing.

Synopsis: Alexandra Barnaby, aka Barney, is living a normal, rather ho-hum existence in Baltimore when she gets a middle-of-the-night phone call from her brother, Wild Bill, saying he has to go away for a while. Before she can get an explanation, Barney hears a woman scream right before the line is cut off, so she decides to head down to Miami to bail her brother out of whatever trouble he’s gotten himself into now. But when she gets there, she discovers a boat is missing, a security guard has been murdered, and when she decides to check out Bill’s apartment she sees someone’s clearly beat her to the job. The missing boat’s owner, NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, insists on joining Barney, leaving her with two battles instead of one – to find Bill, and to fight off the constant advances of Hooker.

Why you should read this book: Metro Girl is a good read if you’re looking for more writing in the style of the Stephanie Plum novels Evanovich also writes. The characters have new names and a slightly more exotic location than New Jersey, but the laughs and mishaps Alex goes through are the same comfortable read. A good pick-me-up book for an afternoon cure of the winter blahs. A good read if you want a mystery that’s more about a few good laughs than nail-biting terror.

Why you should avoid this book: A new series, a fresh, new, exciting idea, right? Nope. Evanovich has been getting repetitive in the Stephanie Plum series, true, but she didn’t exactly hop on this chance to branch out. At all. Not a smidge. Same characters, different names. Same basic plots for Stephanie – oops, I mean, Barney – to stumble around in, acting brave but always knowing there’s a real tough guy waiting in the wings to back her up. Metro Girl doesn’t feel like something new – it just feels like another way to turn out the same repetitive book twice a year instead of once. Evanovich, author? Naw, more like Evanovich Inc., creativity not included.

Opening paragraph:

Just because I know how to change a guy’s oil doesn’t mean I want to spend the rest of my life on my back, staring up his undercarriage. Been there, done that. Okay, so my dad owns a garage. And okay, I have a natural aptitude for rebuilding carburetors. There comes a time in a girl’s life when she needs to trade in her mechanic’s overalls for a pair of Manolo Blahnik stilettos. Not that I can afford a lot of Manolos, but it’s a goal, right?

Fabulous quotes:

‘I need to go back to Bill’s apartment. I left my duffel bag there. I wasn’t thinking clearly.’
Hooker palmed a set of keys off the bar. ‘I can help with that. NASCAR Guy to the rescue. After we get you out of the dress and into some shorts we can get on with the Bill search.’
I followed him out the door, into a foyer with two elevators. Hooker pushed the button and looked at me.
‘Are you okay? You just went white.’
That’s because my heart stopped pumping when I saw the elevators. ‘I’m fine,’ I said. ‘A little hung over.’
We stepped into the elevator, Hooker hit the lobby button, and the doors closed. I sucked in some air and squinched my eyes shut. I didn’t whimper or yell out ‘we’re gonna drop like a rock and die.’ So I was sort of proud of myself.
‘What’s with the closed eyes?’ Hooker wanted to know.
‘I don’t like to see the numbers changing.’

Hooker was standing at the wheel, and I saw him put the walkie-talkie to his mouth. ‘I’ve got her steady,’ he said. ‘Start throwing the lines. Do the bow line first.’
‘Okay,’ I said. ‘Doing the bow line.’
I reached for the bow line, the walkie-talkie slid from my hand, bounced off the dock, splashed into the water, and disappeared from sight. I looked up at Hooker, and his expression was a lot like the expression on the shooter’s face when he watched his blood seep into his shirt.
‘Sorry,’ I said to Hooker, knowing full well he couldn’t hear me.
Hooker gave his head a small shake. He was saddled with a moron for a first mate.

Also recommended: Lola Carlyle Reveals All by Rachel Gibson; The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes; The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson.

Also by this author: Motor Mouth; Hot Stuff; Plum Lovin’; Lean Mean Thirteen; Twelve Sharp; Eleven on Top; Ten Big Ones; To the Nines; Visions of Sugar Plums; Hard Eight; Seven Up; Hot Six; High Five; Four to Score; Three to Get Deadly; Two for the Dough; One for the Money; Full Scoop; Full House; Full Tilt; Full Blast; Full Speed; Full Bloom; How I Write; Back to the Bedroom; The Rocky Road to Romance; Love Overboard.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Janet Evanovich’s vote for Stephanie Plum in movie form? According to her website, after seeing Miss Congeniality, she thought Sandra Bullock could pull it off perfectly.

Would I read more by this author? Weeeell…yeah. I certainly wouldn’t want to read her books one after the other, but Evanovich can be trusted for a decent mindless read. Definitely a library-only kind of deal, though – especially with a $38 hardcover that doesn’t even reach 300 pages.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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