Title: Motor Mouth
Author: Janet Evnovich
Published: 2006, HarperCollins
Category: General Fiction
This is the second book in Evanovich's Barnaby series. I read the first, Metro Girl, and thought it was just okay. And this one was just okay too.
To be honest I don't think I can come up with an intelligible plot synopsis. It was all pretty ridiculous. Alexandra Barnaby (she goes by Barney) is a "spotter" for NASCAR driver Sam Hooker. She stays in the stands, watches the race, and sort of coaches Hooker through the race over a headset. When Hooker comes in 2nd place, Barney suspects that the winner is using illegal traction control technology. Then Hooker and Barney are called in to rescue a friend who's been locked into the other team's hauler (semi-truck where they store the cars). In order to rescue him, they end up having to steal the hauler. Then they find a dead body and a billion-dollar microchip, and soon they're wanted by the police for murder and grand-theft auto and by the bad guys for stealing their expensive technology.
So the plot is ridiculous but it was still funny. I think a big part of the reason I didn't like this book too much is that I don't know anything about NASCAR. And really have no desire to know anything about NASCAR. I'm sure the stereotype of NASCAR racers and fans all being...well, not the sharpest is not true, but really they don't show up too well in this book. Hooker and Barney generally come off as two bumbling idiots.
These books just don't have the charm of the Stephanie Plum books. I'm not sure exactly why. Barney and Hooker are both likeable characters. Maybe it's the fact that there's a logical reason that Stephanie is always getting into scrapes. She's going out and looking for criminals. So the over-the-top adventures work a little better than in the Barnaby books.
This book costs $27, which is a total rip-off. Good thing I didn't buy it--got it from the library. The type and leading are so huge it almost looks like large print edition. The prices on big-author books are getting a little out of hand, I think.