Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1)

Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1)

3.7 187
by Janet Evanovich

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Alexandra (Barney) Barnaby roars onto the Miami Beach scene in hot pursuit of her missing baby brother, "Wild" Bill. Leave it to the maverick of the family to get Barney involved with high-speed car chases, a search for sunken treasure, and Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver who’s good at revving a woman's engine.

Engaged in a deadly race, Bill has

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Alexandra (Barney) Barnaby roars onto the Miami Beach scene in hot pursuit of her missing baby brother, "Wild" Bill. Leave it to the maverick of the family to get Barney involved with high-speed car chases, a search for sunken treasure, and Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver who’s good at revving a woman's engine.

Engaged in a deadly race, Bill has "borrowed" Hooker's sixty-five-foot Hatteras and sailed off into the sunset...just when Hooker has plans for the boat. Hooker figures he'll attach himself to Barney and maybe run into scumbag Bill. And better yet, maybe he'll get lucky in love with Bill's sweetie pie sister.

The pedal will have to go to metal if Barney and Hooker want to be the first to cross the finish line, save Bill, Hooker's boat...and maybe the world.

Editorial Reviews

Tulsa World
“The action is lickety-split”
Boston Globe
“Moves at a breezy pace, engaging the in the Florida fast lane.”
Kansas City Star
“Clever, approachable characters.”
Tampa Tribune
“Clever, fast-paced.”
Raleigh News & Observer
“A quirky, fast-paced thriller.”
Pittsburgh Tribune
Detroit Free Press
“A fast, crisp book.”
Newhouse News Service
“A lot of fun.”
Orlando Sentinel
“A rib-splitting debut.”
Washington Post
“Sheer comic ingenuity.”
“Cracking fun.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“This is a bright and breezy book, and a welcome change for Evanovich fans.”
New York Times
“A spunky heroine....cheery.”
Columbus Dispatch
“The characters are breezy and spontaneous....Evanovich’s story has attitude.”
Arizona Republic
“Screwball entertainment.”
Miami New Times
“A mysterious romp involving cold-blooded murder and a sexy NASCAR driver.”
Taking a break from her bestselling Stephanie Plum series, Janet Evanovich's new stylish stand-alone thriller is now available in a signed limited edition.
Maureen Corrigan
By the time Barney and Hooker were stranded, "Survivor"-style, on a desert island complete with creepy-crawly creatures and a rogue bomb, I was won over by the sheer comic ingenuity of Metro Girl's loopy plot.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
"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." From the word go, Evanovich delivers her usual goods, albeit in a different vehicle. After 10 Stephanie Plum novels, each more successful than the last, Evanovich introduces Alexandra Barnaby, aka Barney. Barney hails from Baltimore rather than New Jersey, but she's from the same slice of working-class life as Stephanie; she donned mechanic's overalls in her father's garage during summer breaks from college. Her younger brother, Wild Bill, shares her passion for cars, and now he's disappeared from Miami, along with NASCAR star Sam Hooker's boat, the Happy Hooker. Evanovich doesn't mind showing her romance roots, as Barney and Sam start off snarling at each other; as any reader can tell, they have to team up (a) to save Bill and (b) to enjoy delicious sex. As in the Plum books, plot takes a back seat to riffs, roughups and dialogue-and in the last lies the book's most notable distinction. If Stephanie bids fair to be New Jersey's Dorothy Parker, Barney is Baltimore's echo of Robert Parker. Conversation is terse and coded, full of sexual innuendo, with a high premium on toss-away lines uttered under duress. Despite the amazing quantity of physical jeopardy, there's little tension; it's all about hanging out with Metro Girl and NASCAR Guy-which may be just what millions of Evanovich fans will want. Agent, Robert Gottlieb. (Nov.) Forecast: Evanovich will see major marketing for her HarperCollins debut, including TV and prints ads and a national bus tour with the author, her webmaster daughter and Barnaby the St. Bernard, which means that Alexandra Barnaby will likely prove as popular as Stephanie Plum (the Plum novels are published by St. Martin's). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Simultaneous with the HarperCollins hardcover. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A comic misadventure from the start, this mystery is a good combination of light thriller and fast-paced action. Alex Barnaby receives a late-night call from her brother that ends in mid-sentence with a woman screaming in the background. Being the dependable sister that she is, she catches the next flight down to Miami to find out what happened. Alex soon discovers that her brother has gone missing with a recent Cuban immigrant who may or may not know the location of a warhead and a fortune in gold. She cuts down the inept bad guys with her wit and a few well-placed accidental kicks and moves. For fans of the author's "Stephanie Plum" series, the book is a letdown as there are moments when readers have to suspend disbelief and accept contrived plot twists. Evanovich is better at dialogue than description, which may frustrate some seasoned readers, but the dialogue is what keeps the story moving and is, ultimately, the novel's saving grace.-Erin Dennington, Chantilly Regional Library, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Alex Barnaby Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Metro Girl LP

Chapter One

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?

My name is Alexandra Barnaby, and I worked in my dad's garage in the Canton section of Baltimore all through high school and during summer breaks when I was in college. It's not a big fancy garage, but it holds its own, and my dad has a reputation for being an honest mechanic.

When I was twelve my dad taught me how to use an acetylene torch. After I mastered welding, he gave me some spare parts and our old lawn mower, and I built myself a go-cart. When I was sixteen, I started rebuilding a ten-year-old junker Chevy. I turned it into a fast car. And I raced it in the local stocks for two years.

"And here she comes, folks," the announcer would say. "Barney Barnaby. Number sixteen, the terror of Baltimore County. She's coming up on the eight car. She's going to the inside. Wait a minute, I see flames coming from sixteen. There's a lot of smoke now. Looks like she's blown another engine. Good thing she works in her dad's garage."

So I could build cars, and I could drive cars. I just never got the hang of driving them without destroying them.

"Barney," my dad would say. "I swear you blow those engines just so you can rebuild them."

Maybe on an unconscious level. The brain is a pretty weird thing. What I knew was that on a conscious level, I hated losing. And I lost more races than I won. So, I raced two seasons and packed it in.

My younger brother, Wild Bill, drove, too. He never cared if he won or lost. He just liked to drive fast and scratch his balls with the rest of the guys. Bill was voted Most Popular of his senior class and also Least Likely to Succeed.

The class's expectation for Bill's success was a reflection of Bill's philosophy of life. If work was any fun, it would be called play. I've always been the serious kid, and Bill's always been the kid who knew how to have a good time. Two years ago, Bill said good-bye Baltimore and hello Miami. He liked the lazy hot sun, the open water, and the girls in bikinis.

Two days ago, Bill disappeared off the face of the earth. And he did it while I was talking to him. He woke me up with a phone call in the middle of the night.

"Barney," Bill yelled over the phone line. "I have to leave Miami for a while. Tell Mom I'm okay."

I squinted at my bedside clock. Two AM. Not late for Bill who spent a lot of time in South Beach bars. Real late for me who worked nine to five and went to bed at ten.

"What's that noise?" I asked him. "I can hardly hear you."

"Boat engine. Listen, I don't want you to worry if you don't hear from me. And if some guys show up looking for me, don't tell them anything. Unless it's Sam Hooker. Tell Sam Hooker he can kiss my exhaust pipe."

"Guys? What guys? And what do you mean, don't tell them anything?"

"I have to go. I have to ... oh shit."

I heard a woman scream in the background, and the line went dead.

Baltimore is cold in January. The wind whips in from the harbor and slices up the side streets, citywide. We get a couple snowstorms each year and some freezing rain, but mostly we get bone-chilling gray gloom. In the midst of the gray gloom, pots of chili bubble on stoves, beer flows like water, sausages are stuffed into hard rolls, and doughnuts are a necessity to survival.

Miami, it turns out, is hot in January. I'd taken the midday flight out of BWI, arriving in Miami midafternoon. When I left home I was wrapped in a quilted down-filled coat, cashmere Burberry scarf, fleece-lined boots, and heavy-duty shearling mittens. Perfect for Baltimore. Not great for Miami. On arrival, I'd crammed the scarf and mittens into the mediumsize duffel bag that hung from my shoulder, wrapped my coat around the duffel bag handle, and went in search of the taxi stand. Sweat was soaking into my Victoria's Secret Miracle Bra, my hair was plastered to my forehead, and I was sucking in air that felt like hot soup.

I'm thirty years old now. Average height and average build. I'm not movie-star gorgeous, but I'm okay. My hair is naturally mousy brown, but I started bleaching it blond when I decided to stop being a grease monkey. It's currently platinum and cut in a medium-length shaggy kind of style that I can punk up with paste if the occasion arises. I have blue eyes, a mouth that's a little too big for my face, and a perfect nose inherited from my Grandma Jean.

My parents took Bill and me to Disney World when I was nine. That's the extent of my in-the-flesh Florida experience. The rest of my Florida knowledge consists mainly of horrific bug stories from my mom's friend Elsie Duchen. Elsie winters in Ocala with her daughter. Elsie swears there are cockroaches as big as cows in Florida. And she says they can fly. I'm here to tell you, if I see a cow-size cockroach fly by, I'm gone ...

Metro Girl LP. Copyright © by Janet Evanovich. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Metro Girl 3.7 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 187 reviews.
Neil_Collins More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plumb series years ago and have been a loyal reader ever since. When I found that she had another series, I picked up this fist book with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. While not nearly as tongue-in-cheek as the beloved but clueless bounty hunter, Metro Girl is funny, lighthearted, and still thrilling. Alexandra (Barney) Barnaby, is a fresh and endearing character, and Evanovich manages to steer her in and out of trouble without becoming clichéd or redundant. Barney is smart enough to figure things out, tough enough to drive stock cars, and girly enough to feint when she gets giant spiders in her hair. Overall, I enjoyed Metro Girl enough that I will be picking up the rest of the series. It'll give me something to read while I wait for the next Stephanie Plumb to come out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Metro Girl is a good read, if you're not trying to compare it to the Stephanie Plum series. Barney Barnabas is a funny character, likeable and quirky, and her unintentional sidekick Hooker is typical Janet Evanovich. The plot is good if far fetched, but well worth reading. The book would be great if you'd never heard of Stephanie Plum, but it's still pretty good if you have. I'm looking forward to the next Evanovich, whether Plum or Barnaby.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome Chemistry between Sam & Barney! The supporting cast is a hoot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love reading a new series with different characters in funny situations!
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Just go along for the ride and enjoy.
bigbirdMG More than 1 year ago
I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it even more than the Stephanie Plum series!
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Libre_I More than 1 year ago
I got hooked and Evanovich's books with the Plum series, and I have worked my way through all of them. Metro Girl is the same entertaining read. I enjoy the prose and the story, anyone looking for well-written entertainment should read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Metro Girl will not disappoint fans of Evanovich. It's a quick, easy to read good time!
Thom_Katt More than 1 year ago
Metro Girl isn't really a departure for Evanovich,as much as it is a simple change in scenery.  As in her Plum series (which I love, by the way), you have your female protagonist Alexandra Barnaby (aka Barney), her on-again/off-again beau  Hooker, an obnoxiously adorable canine in St. Bernard Beans, and an oddball cast of supporting characters including Barnie's friend and occasional co-conspirator Felicia. The plot is really beside the point. All you need to know is that trouble happens and  hi-jinks and hilarity ensue. Janet's signature situational comedy, oddball characters, and bumbling detective aesthetic are in full force here. Overall, beyond the new characters and change in setting, there is very little substantial difference between the Barnaby and Stephanie Plum series, but that really shouldn't matter. Evanovich's strength is her ability to consistently deliver light romance/mystery with memorable characters and  lots of laughs and, while it's probably not as strong as her best Plum novels (the story lags in places), it certainly does the job. It's certainly worthwhile for Evanovich fans.
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