Let me just start by saying that Metro Girl isn’t a Stephanie Plum
novel. So it’s not really fair to compare Janet Evanovich’s latest non-Plum novel to the
series I’ve come to know and (most of the time) love. But really…how can you not
Metro Girl’s heroine is Alexandra “Barney” Barnaby.
Like Plum, she grew up in working-class surroundings—only in Baltimore. One night, she’s
woken up by a phone call from her younger brother, “Wild” Bill, who tells her that he’s
taking off for a few days. He warns her that if anyone calls, she’s not supposed to tell
anyone anything. Then a woman screams in the background, and the line goes dead. Just
like that, Bill disappears. Worried about her often-impulsive, not always law-abiding
brother, Barney catches a plane to Miami to try to bail out her bother once
Once in Miami, she meets NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, whose boat
disappeared the same time Bill did. As Barney starts digging for information—with Hooker
close on her tail—she discovers that Bill’s apartment has been trashed. And when thugs
start threatening her life, Barney realizes that Bill’s gotten himself (and her) into a
serious mess this time.
I tend to handle Janet Evanovich books the
same way that my mom handles a bag of jellybeans—I can’t stay away until there’s nothing
left. And Metro Girl was no exception. I flew through it. It’s a quick, light
read, and the story is pretty interesting (despite the Miami clichés often found in
novels by other Miami authors)—but it’s just missing a bit of the ol’ Stephanie Plum
zing. By the end, I was sick of the frequent references to Barney’s little pink
skirt—and I often wished that Hooker would just cut the manly-man “NASCAR guy”
Neanderthal crap and do something productive.
Again, this isn’t a
Stephanie Plum novel. The characters don’t have the same chemistry or the same quirks.
They often lack Plum-novel flair and wackiness—despite the fact that they’re still
quirkier than the average chick-lit character.
So it’s not necessarily a
bad book. It’s just not as good as others. If you’ve never read a Stephanie Plum
novel, you may just love it. But Plum fans should proceed with caution.