I was really looking forward to the release of this novel and had high expectations. Too bad they all fell flat. Alexa Barnaby, known as Barney, gave up her boring job in insurance to be a spotter for Nascar driver, Sam Hooker, after their first adventure. Barney and Hooker's personal relationship went south, however, after he cheated on her with a salesclerk. They team up to rescue their friend Gobbles when he gets locked in the car hauler of some shady characters, and find themselves framed for murder, as well as on the run from people who want to kill them.
It's obvious Evanovich is courting Nascar fans with this series, and while I am not a Nascar fan, I don't have any issue with that part of the story, which was actually somewhat interesting. What I do have a problem with is the way the book gets bogged down by silly pratfalls that fail to be funny. She relies on her old standby of a big, stupid dog, but people getting continually knocked to the ground by a drooling St. Bernard is just annoying, and not in the least bit funny. Toward the middle, I actually started to like the book as Barney and Sam were figuring things out, but then the story descended into a worn-out slapstick dog poop adventure we've seen way too many times now.
I really like Barney's character. How could I not like a woman with her skills? She's smart, fun, and capable, which just makes me wonder what she sees in Hooker, who is not so easy to like. First of all, he's a slut who cheated on Barney, and cheaters just aren't sexy. He's also not very smart, and his incessant horniness fails to be amusing. As for the dog, he's got to go. The very idea of him is worn out, and he's not funny, he's a menace.
I really think this series has potential, but I think Evanovich needs to put a little more effort into it. Sometimes it seems to have a unique flavor all its own, and then it seems as if the author didn't know what to do next, so she threw in some cheap slapstick. After all, it works with Stephanie Plum, right?
In all, I didn't hate this book, but I can't say I liked it all that much, either. I don't think I'll be all that excited when the next one comes out, but I'll probably read it just to see if the series is improving.