Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1)

Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1)

by Janet Evanovich


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060584009
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/02/2004
Series: Alex Barnaby Series , #1
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Bestselling author Janet Evanovich is the winner of the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Award and multiple Romantic Times awards, including Lifetime Achievement. She is also a long-standing member of RWA.


Hanover, New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

April 22, 1943

Place of Birth:

South River, New Jersey


B.A., Douglass College, 1965

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.


An Interview with Janet Evanovich

Bestselling author Janet Evanovich gets off to a quick start in Metro Girl, and the sizzling South Florida setting is only one of the surprises in store for readers this time out.

The real scorcher is the news that Metro Girl is an exciting detour from Evanovich's beloved Stephanie Plum mystery series. This fast-paced thriller introduces readers to Alexandra Barnaby -- a brainy, brash, big-city gal navigating through mayhem and murder in unfamiliar territory from Daytona to Key West, as she searches for her missing brother. Her venture into the steamy wilds of Florida includes unexpected car chases, NASCAR racing, explosions, and more The story also generates passion when her search merges with handsome, hard-headed local guy Sam Hooker's hunt for his stolen boat…with her wild baby brother as the prime suspect.

Janet Evanovich made a pit stop to tell Ransom Notes readers about this latest lap in her exhilarating writing career:

Ransom Notes: The first thing everyone wants to know is whether you're planning Metro Girl as a stand-alone novel or as the kick-off for a new series?

Janet Evanovich: I actually haven't decided. It was originally meant as a stand-alone, but I had a lot of fun writing the book and I've really become attached to the characters.

RN: Is there anything from your personal experience that inspired Metro Girl?

JE: Two things: The first is that I had such a terrific time doing research in South Florida that I ended up buying a house there! And the second thing is that I've turned into a NASCAR junkie. I love the speed and the noise and the way NASCAR has made the entire production accessible to the fan. I especially love Dale Earnhardt Jr. advertising fried chicken, wearing a hat that says "I eat what tastes good." How could you not love a man who'd wear that hat!

After saying that, I probably should explain quickly that this is not a NASCAR book. The story takes place during the off season and is only about NASCAR in that one of my protagonists is a NASCAR driver. Sam Hooker is NASCAR GUY -- a lovable macho jerk with a lot of hero potential. He'd wear the fried chicken hat in a heartbeat.

RN: What was the biggest difference for you between writing Metro Girl and writing a Stephanie Plum book?

JE: My biggest fear was that after ten "Plums" I wouldn't be able to get out of Stephanie's head. I had a brand-new setting and a great story line -- but, until I started writing, I worried that Alexandra Barnaby would be a Stephanie clone. As it turned out, the two protagonists have such strong and unique personalities that my fear was ungrounded. I loved writing Metro Girl. I loved the exotic Florida setting. I wanted something hot, with attitude and energy...and that's Miami. Plus it meant I had to do lots of research in South Beach! My webmaster daughter and I spent hours there, observing men in thongs and Speedos. Also, I enjoyed writing more of a thriller than anything I've put in a Stephanie Plum story. The stakes in Metro Girl are higher and international. I also really love the two protagonists here. And, while Metro Girl is told from Alexandra Barnaby's point of view, it's a dual-protagonist book, with Sam Hooker getting almost equal time. Of course, as in all my books, readers can expect to find some sex, some pizza, some cussing, some fast-paced action, and some scenes that will make them smile. My goal is always to make sure readers feel good when they finish one of my books.

RN: There's one last thing readers are clamoring to know. Will you be writing more Stephanie Plum books?

JE: Of course! I'm working on No. 11 right now.

Customer Reviews

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Metro Girl 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 216 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!
Anonymous 7 days ago
It was a great read with accurate geographical details, especially Naples. Thank you for your wit.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Enjoyable read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
So silly could not finish
TaceyMullen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
New characters from Evanovich are fun and flirty. Action is well-paced, as usual for her novels. This is one of those books you read in the same way you eat popcorn, yummy handful after handful until it's all gone!
Dadbrazelton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Laugh out loud funny in a few places. Preposterous story line. Could have used one more page to more fully bring everything together.
MsBeautiful on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Couldn't get into it
TamiHindes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Classic Evanovich! I guess part of why I love Evanovich books is because she writes in a formula style and I know what to expect. I have read all of the Stephanie Plum books and this one follows the same pattern. Girl gets sucked into a mystery/situation that she is unable to handle, but she tries by bumbling along. Then there is the hot guy who thinks about sex a lot. In this case it's Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver who is also inept at solving the problem, but he's along for the ride so to speak. Plus there is a fat tough woman - in this book it's Rosa, a cuban immigrant. And then you have to have some odd-ball character - in this case it's Judey - the gay guy and his dog Brian. Much like her other books, Barney bumbles and stumbles along, gets in trouble, gets out, gets in a bind and the hot guy rescues her at the last minute and in the end, everyone gets together and hangs out. It was a fun read. I enjoyed the fact that Hooker is kind of a wus and not all tough and macho. I chuckled through the book because Evanovich has a flair for over-stating the obvious in such a way that I find it funny. I highly recommend this book. It's more like some of the early Stephanie Plum books.
tipsister on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Metro Girl is a fun, quick read that I really did enjoy. Metro Girl introduces us to Alex ¿Barney¿ Barnaby, the daughter of a mechanic who knows her way around an engine. She heads to Miami when her brother disappears and she¿s determined to find him. During her search, she meets Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver who sets his sights on Alex. The two get mixed up with interesting characters and head off into dangerous situations on their search. If you are familiar with Janet Evanovich¿s writing, you¿ll recognize the formula in the Metro Girl books, but they are fun and worth a read if you are looking for something quick and entertaining.
FutureBestSeller on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this new series. Alex is in the 'Stephanie Plum Sisterhood'. Trouble just seems to find her. Hooker doesn't help either. What I love the most is that he is so laid back that he just goes with the flow.
Badass_Book_Reviews on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Janet Evanovich always makes me laugh. Sure, the books aren't masterpieces, they aren't epic works of art, what they are? Fun and Fluffy. They are books that don't make you think, you just sit back and enjoy the ride. Metro girl is about Alex (Barney) Barnaby. She is a former garage guru turned insurance adjuster until her brother calls her at 2am and tells her not to worry about him, and not to talk to anyone who comes to her door asking questions... Right. Alex travels to Miami where she meets Nascar driver Sam Hooker in what turns out to be a treasure hunt and political fiasco.Not as funny as her Stephenie Plum series, but I always look forward to reading Evanovich after I finish a serious series.More like 3.75 stars for making me laugh.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was sort of 'Stephanie Plum-lite', right down to the tomboyish main character (Barney), obviously forward love interest ('Nascar Guy' Sam), and crazy sidekicks (gay best friend and Cuban cigar rollers). And I think that¿s why I didn¿t love it. While you expect a certain voice and style in a Janet Evanovich book, this was a little too copycat for my tastes. Though I confess that I did like Sam, who was what you would get if Ranger and Morelli had a baby. I¿ll probably read the second one if I feel like something light I can read in a day, but it won¿t be something I¿ll rush to get to.
lareinak on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I like this series better then the Stephanie Plum series.
kariannalysis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Drivers, start your engines, Alex ¿Barney¿ Barnaby, queen of the track is on a mission. Sister of the year award goes to the Baltimore woman. She is such a great sister that when her brother Bill calls her late one night and hangs up after a woman screams, she jumps on a plane to go save his butt. Bill lives in hot, muggy Florida and it doesn¿t tell Alex long to figure out Bill is in some big trouble. But luckily, Barney isn¿t alone on her mystery solving trip. She is assisted by NASCAR guy, Sam Hooker who doesn¿t quite know that while Barney holds an office job, engines are her thing.Little do they know, once they embark on this ¿save Wild Bill¿ mission, do they know they are dealing with some hardcore Cubans, a major bomb that could take out hundreds of thousands of people and more gold than a jewelry store. This novel is action packed, funny and extremely empowering to women. Wouldn¿t expect less from Janet Evanovich.I have had this book on my shelf for the past couple of years. I also have the sequel, Motor Mouth. I am definitely disappointed in myself for not picking these up earlier.I have come to love Janet Evanovich through the Stephanie Plum series and if I read this book without knowing the author, I probably could have told you by the end, Evanovich had the pen. It reminded me a lot of Plum, the characters, the drama and of course, the writing. Normally I think that similarities in different series¿ by the same author would probably bother me, but this one definitely didn¿t. I loved the Plum series, so similarities are more than welcome.This book was a page turner, filled with drama from the first phone call. Of course, there¿s a bit of a love story intertwined, it¿s not a Nicholas Sparks love story, but it is definitely love, in a ¿let me drive your NASCAR car¿ kind of way. I am uber excited to read Motor Mouth now.Oh, and I love the premise for the title. It¿s not something you understand until the end, but I have to share this. We have all heard of a metro sexual, a guy who grooms more than women, tans, dresses to the nines, spends more money on hair product than a salon, but definitely likes the ladies. Barney, well she¿s the opposite. She knows more about engines than most men, she drives cars and kicks major butt, all while wearing a pink mini skirt.I give Metro Girl 4 bookmarks.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The trouble starts when Alexandra Barnaby, aka Barney, gets a phone call from her brother in Florida saying he's going to be out of touch for a while, that's abruptly cut off after a woman's scream. So naturally, she takes off for Florida to rescue him.Once she gets there, she runs into NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, aka NASCAR Guy, whose boat is missing, presumably taken by Barney's brother.They join forces to find the brother and the boat, NASCAR Guy flirting outrageously with Barney all the way. We run into the usual sidekicks, a shipwreck with missing gold, and a bit of international intrigue and danger.There are some laughs, as you'd expect from Evanovich, but quite a lot of the book is dated or doesn't quite ring true, from the Cuban Missile Crisis-related plot to the name of NASCAR Guy's boat, The Happy Hooker, to Barney's improbable wardrobe.When Metro Girl first came out, there was a lot of buzz about it, and the thing I remember most is that people were really irritated over the constant repetition of "NASCAR Guy." At the time, I was skeptical, and thought that was a really petty complaint, but I have to say, I see what they meant.
ds_61_12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alexandra Barnaby has to save her brother "Wild Bill". She has done it before, but this time he is in a lot of trouble, even by his standards. She gets help from Nascar-guy Sam Hooker who wants his boat back and maybe just a bit extra. On their travels they encounter Cuban gold, cigars, violence and a very creepy relic of the Cuban missile crisis.Good, uncomplicated read.
madamejeanie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ilove the Plum novels, but having sampled one of the books in her otherseries and found it definitely lacking, I wasn't anxious to waste moneyon an Evanovich book that didn't feature Stephanie and her dysfunctionalgroup of friends.This book was delightful, though. It introduced a whole new crop ofoddballs, starring Barney Barnaby and her NASCAR guy buddy. The plotwas shallow, as it usually is in a Plum novel, but well written and thecharacters were interesting and funny enough to keep me reading. It wasa fun and very easy read and I enjoyed it completely. Barney heads fromBaltimore down to Miami looking for her brother, Wild Bill, who hasdropped off the face of the earth after a middle of the night phone callto his sister that ended with a woman's scream. It involvespoliticians, federal agents, Cuban nationals, blockade running, sunkentreasure, wrongful imprisonment, chemical warfare, kidnapping,explosions, murder, mayhem.......oh yeah, and sex. How could it lose? LOLI give it a 4.5
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I ending up reading this after Motor Mouth instead of before. I didn't feel this one was quite as fun as Motor Mouth - maybe we needed another big goofy dog here.
lcrouch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Funny, but not laugh-out-loud funny like Stephanie Plum