Motor Mouth picks up some months after Metro Girl left off. Alexandra “Barney” Barnaby, the bottle-blonde bombshell with a passion for cars, is working as a NASCAR spotter, guiding Sam Hooker around the track from her rooftop vantage point. This being Evanovich, things quickly get complicated when a car crashes out and fellow spotter Gobbles gets trapped in a rival race team’s hauler. Throw in a couple of hitmen, some extremely valuable technology, hi-tech cheating, some dead bodies and a Saint Bernard, you soon get chaos.
It wasn’t until I’d finished the book that I realised how similar the Barnaby series is to the more famous Stephanie Plum adventures. Sassy first-person heroine with hunky on again-off again boyfriend? Check. Boyfriend’s big dopey dog? Check. Fuller-figured woman with a skin-tight wardrobe and attitude to spare? Check. Feisty gun-toting grandma? Check. It might be a formula, but in Evanovich’s hands the formula works. I devoured the book in a day, laughing out loud at the absurd situations Barney and Hooker keep falling into. Sure it’s lightweight, but just like you have to have chocolate in the fridge, you need some frivolity in your reading pile as well. And it’s good to know that there’s at least one author you can always count on to cheer you up.
The Barnaby series, for me, highlights just why I love Janet Evanovich's books so much. They're so much fun that even a real non-sports fan like me can happily spend hours reading about NASCAR and emerge with a smile. And I don't even know what NASCAR stands for.