If you didn't like Metro Girl, you probably won't like Motor Mouth any better. Metro Girl had a very slow beginning. Motor Mouth is non-stop action . . . but it's pretty much the same gags over and over and over and over and over (you get the idea). The humor is aimed at what would thrill the average 12 year old boy (risqué talk, moderate groping, a St. Bernard knocking over people, dog elimination, and unending, silly hero worship). Unlike Metro Girl, this story is deeply steeped in NASCAR in a way that will appeal to fans of that sport. If you're not a NASCAR fan, you will think this is a two-star book.
If you liked Metro Girl, you'll probably find Motor Mouth to be a pleasant encore.
There is a plot hidden among the pratfalls and one-liners. Barney and Sam Hooker want to save one of Barney's fellow spotters from the bad guys. The rescue goes awry . . . and things go humorously downhill from there. In the course of their rescue attempts, Barney stumbles onto a plot involving a sophisticated technology. Before the story ends, bodies are piling up and women prove their superiority in smarts and toughness to men.
If you compare Barney to Stephanie Plum, you'll like this book even less than I did.
I'm not sure I'll bother to read another book in this series. Although the premise is interesting (sexy, smart, competent woman engineer attracts sexy, macho NASCAR driver) the execution generally reminds me of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. Since Jim Carrey isn't starring in the Barney role, Motor Mouth didn't work very well for me.
My wife, who hadn't read Metro Girl, thought it was a quick, fun read. From that reaction, I suspect opinions will widely vary on this book.
"Motor Mouth," the second in The Barnaby Series, is every bit as exciting and danger packed as the first, "MetroGirl" (2005). There's never a dull moment in the life of Alexandra Barnaby who spends her time at NASCAR races in Florida and North Carolina. There's also never a dull paragraph for listeners as this tale is spun by the very gifted C. J. Critt. One of Evanovich's favorite performers, and for good reason, Critt is well remembered for her narrations of "Back to the Bedroom," "Four to Score," and others.
She knows how to capture a listeners attention and she deftly does it when we hear these first words: "Sometimes there's a decision to be made between winning fairly and cheating for a good cause. And sometimes, in the heat of competition, I've slipped south of fair. So I understand the temptation. But here's the thing about cheating ...don't cheat me. I take it personally."
It's established early on that if Alex Barnaby takes anything personally - look out! The setting is Miami and the scene is the last race of the season. Alex, a spotter for NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, is on task - looking through her binoculars high above the infield. In this case, she's seeing things she may later wish she had not - sightings that soon involve her in mayhem and murders. Of course, Sam is right along with her and there's time for them to connect. (What's a good story without a touch of romance?)
Leave it to Evanovich to provide surprising plot twists including a purloined pooch, and over the top characters such as the redoubtable Felicia Ibarra. This author is a pro at combining humor and high jinks. Highly enjoyable listening!
- Gail Cooke