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Metro Girl (Alex Barnaby Series #1) Hardcover – November 2, 2004

3.4 out of 5 stars 409 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Alexandra Barnaby Series

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.
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From 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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (November 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060584009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060584009
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (409 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Scooby elements: A cache of gold bars! A treasure map! A dastardly, swarthy villain who drives around in a limo with henchmen saying things like, "Very well. It's only a matter of time." Young woman who finds her brother's apartment ransacked, but doesn't call the cops -- she and her friends solve the mystery themselves!

Bad '80s TV drama (Riptide, Remington Steele, A-Team) elements: Soviet weapon at large! Outwitting doofy, incompetent G-men! Car crashes! A secret warehouse where the bad guys load stuff into 18-wheelers! Rappelling in through the roof! Scuba-diving for treasure! An exploding helicopter! Thousands of rounds fired, but people are only superficially wounded!

I'll shut up about the two dozen continuity problems and ludicrous plot cheats (well, in a minute): A Nascar driver and a guy named Wild Bill weigh only 360 pounds together, and can be lifted into a car unconscious, handcuffed together by a skinny blonde woman and a willowy gay guy? An elderly woman is such a good shot with a handgun that she can hit one guy in the foot and one guy in the arm because she just wants to wound them? A fishing boat running the Cuban blockade sinks and is missing for decades, then turns up at the bottom of a HARBOR? Almost made it!

And the characters are totally stock: The hot, tomoboyish young blonde woman in the short skirt, the homosexual, Burberry-wearing, exfoliating, interior designer queen (whom the hero just happens to know from childhood 1,600 miles away), the Texas race-car driver, the bumbling federal agents.

This actual quote from the first-person narrator on page 254 sums up the book: "Good thing I watch a lot of television. If it wasn't for television, I wouldn't have any ideas at all. Sometimes I worried that I didn't have a signle thought in my head that wasn't already a cliche'."
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By L O'connor on November 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Alex Barnaby is worried when her brother Bill, who is working in Miami, disappears along with his girlfriend Maria. She finds herself reluctantly joining forces with Hooker, a handsome racing driver, whose boat Bill has stolen. Together they set out to find the missing pair, helped and hindered by a variety of other characters.

This is quite a good story with some amusing moments, but I did not find it nearly as funny or exciting as the Stepahine Plum novels, none of the characters interested me very much, and the heroine, Alex, seemed insipid compared to Stephanie.

If you haven't read any Janet Evanovich books before, my advice would be to skip this one and go for the Plums, they are very much better than this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this new series by JE but they were a bit deflated by the end of the book.

I'm a big fan of her Plum series and while in many ways it was classic JE, I found that I didn't quite come to care about the characters in Metro Girl as I do Steph, Joe, Ranger, Lula and the gang. I felt a distance from Barney and Hooker, and the secondary characters as well. They lacked the presence and spark her Steph Plum characters carry.

Her website advertises this series in comparison to the Steph Plum books as - The sex is sexier, the night's hotter. Huh? There is no sex, the most you're going to get is a little making out and it's very 'high school' at that. The night's hotter? Hmmm, aside from the hot weather there is not a lot of hot going on here.

The sexual tension between Steph, Joe and Ranger far surpasses anything in Metro Girl.

By halfway through I was starting to lose interest in the whole mystery, by 3/4 the way through I found myself skimming ahead to the end just to get it over with.

I'd say this new series is ok for paperback, but I wouldn't spend hardcover $$ on it.
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Format: Hardcover
Like one of the reviewers before me, I am a big fan of the Plum series and when this book was promoted to be on par with Evanovich's bestselling series I confidently bought it in hard back. I am here to tell you that I am actually taking the book back to the store. There is no guilt - this product is simply not worth the money spent. I refuse to be swindled out of 23 dollars.

If this is a mystery - pieces of the plot work up until the end climax. Can we say - silly? If this is a romance - NASCAR guy is annoying. That joke went on too many times even when he was being sarcastic. He's a lech, looking at women as a bakery of overflowing offerings - and we are suppose to like him? But he's NASCAR guy - everybody wants NASCAR guy. What kind of ego is that? On the other hand, Alexandra just never quite evoked my sympathy either. This "high octane" adventure left the character development at the starting line.

I have happily gone for a ride with Evanovich prior to this book

- why? Because Plum just makes you want to follow her around to see what she'll do next. Alexandra - or Barney - just made me shake my head. She is a cookie cutter image of Plum without the substance, moxie or sense of self (or lack there of). Evanovich wants to also follow her proven formula by bringing other characters - literally - along for the ride. And that extra help just smacks of the various characters that hitch along in her other series. Lula is now Rosa and works in a cigar factory.

This is fluff and it's short. Big print and 296 pages long. Metro Girl feels like it came out of some sort of machine that has forgotten that character, character, character is what brings the readers back for more.

I am feverently hoping that Evanovich hasn't lost her touch.
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