Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1)

Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1)

3.7 187
by Janet Evanovich, C. J. Critt

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She writes "high speed comic mayhem" (Detroit Free Press); she’s "a blast of fresh air" (Washington Post), "side-splittingly funny" (Publishers Weekly) and "a winner" (Glamour). In other words, she’s Janet Evanovich. And she debuts at HarperCollins with a spectacular new novel, complete with high stakes, hot nights, murder and graft. Not to mention car chases,

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She writes "high speed comic mayhem" (Detroit Free Press); she’s "a blast of fresh air" (Washington Post), "side-splittingly funny" (Publishers Weekly) and "a winner" (Glamour). In other words, she’s Janet Evanovich. And she debuts at HarperCollins with a spectacular new novel, complete with high stakes, hot nights, murder and graft. Not to mention car chases, car races, car explosions, and car--well, you get the idea.

Alexandra Barnaby got the brains in her family. The little gray cells certainly bypassed Barney’s younger brother, Wild Bill. He’s a pretty good boat captain but he’s taken on a new job with his eyes conveniently closed. Before long, Bill goes missing, so Barney is dispatched to Florida with the bugs and the heat and the bad-hair-day humidity. Barney’s thinking things can’t get too much worse as she makes the rounds of South Beach, unemployed and sunburned, following her brother’s trail of broken-hearted bimbos.

Too bad for Barney--she’s wrong about the getting worse part. Enter Sam Hooker. Somebody’s stolen his boat and the trail leads to--you guessed it--Wild Bill. Since Will Bill is missing, Hooker decides to follow Barney and see if she can lead him to his boat.

Dogs and cats never die in the world of Evanovich, and bad guys are almost always brought to justice. Sam Hooker and Alexandra Barnaby, in their quest to reclaim what’s theirs, blast through Florida from Daytona straight on to Key West, exposing a plot to grab Cuban land and to lay waste the people involved. Cussing and tasteless sexual inneuendo included.

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Editorial Reviews
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.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Alex Barnaby Series, #1
Edition description:
Abridged, 5 CDs, 6 hours
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 6.26(h) x 0.79(d)

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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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