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    Review of MOTOR MOUTH by Janet Evanovich (see her website)

    THE BARANABY SERIES

    Harper Collins, October 2006

    Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby is up to her neck in trouble again. Now working for a NASCAR team as a mechanic, she starts out trying to do a good deed--rescuing a friend who got locked inside a competing team's hauler, the 18-wheeler used to carry the race cars. She enlists the help of NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, her now ex-boyfriend since she caught him doing the nasty with a sales clerk. But the only way they can rescue their friend is to steal the whole hauler.

    Unfortunately there's a dead body in the hauler--the wealthy owner of the rival racing team--and the trouble just escalates from there. It seems no matter what plan Barney and Hooker come up with to distance themselves from the theft, they only get themselves in deeper until they're being hunted by the police as well as a couple of hit men and one very pissed-off guy who wants his racecar returned--as well as the illegal technology hidden in the car.

    This book had its moments, and certainly Ms. Evanovich's trademark humor was in evidence on every page. The sizzling Miami setting is deftly drawn. But the plot was very convoluted, seemingly constructed to serve all the humorous situations (including an insatiable St. Bernard who swallows a computer chip). There were an awful lot of stakeouts and tailing of cars, relieved by occasional bursts of break-neck action. But ultimately the story descended into dog-fart jokes and so many fatalities piling up that I lost count--so many that by the last scene the characters were almost blasť about grisly dead bodies.

    Making comparisons to Ms. Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books is unavoidable. One of the things that makes Stephanie so memorable and easy to identify with is her quirky family. In this book, neither Barney nor Hooker has a family, at least not on the page. Two Cuban ladies who offer help and dubious advice serve much the same purpose, but the warmth just isn't there. One thing I did enjoy, though, is that these characters never miss a meal, and the food they eat, particularly the Cuban food, made me want to go to Miami.

    See more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Janet Evanovich.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 12/01/06

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