I have finished the 119th book for the book challenge. It was Metro Girl: An Alexandra Barnaby Novel by Janet Evanovich.
Alexandra Barnaby, aka Barney, receives a strange phone call from her brother Wild Bill in the middle of the night which prompts her to leave her home in Baltimore and fly to Miami to look for him. When she arrives, she finds his apartment has been trashed and his car is missing. She goes to his work, a boat called Flex II, and finds he has quit his job. There she bumps into Sam Hooker, a NASCAR driver, who believes Bill has stolen his fishing boat, the Happy Hooker. Barney and Hooker decide to look for Bill together. While they are eating in a deli, Barney notices a slick man watching her. A night watchman at the marina has been killed, also. Barney stays at Bill’s apartment and is accosted by a man she nicknames Puke Face who tries to kidnap her. Then she and Hooker go to the night clubs to look for Bill. While they are out, Bill’s apartment is trashed a second time.
They find that a woman has disappeared from a club the same night that Bill disappeared. He was with a woman. They decide to follow this lead. They meet an old friend of Barney’s, a gay man named Judey and his dog Brian. He has a friend Todd who also works on Flex II. He tells them about a Cuban kingpin Luis Salzar who sails with them and locks down the boat.
They go looking for the woman Maria. They meet her cousin Rosa at a cigar factory and go to Maria’s apartment. It too has been trashed twice. She is a diver. They are convinced that she is with Bill. They meet up with Felicia, Maria’s aunt. While talking with her, they are accosted by the slick man and another man. Felicia shoot the one man in the foot. Barney knows that Maria didn’t take her diving equipment, so she calls diving places and finds one in Key West that Maria used. Barney and Hooker set off for Key West in Bill’s car, which they found at Maria’s apartment.
Hooker arranges to stay at a friend’s house on Key West and to use his boat. But first Rosa finds a cousin of Maria’s who has a map that Maria’s father has drawn of islands where he has hidden treasure and where Maria may be heading. Rosa drives to Key West to give the map to Barney and Hooker. Hooker gets a helicopter to fly them to the islands to see if they can spot the Happy Hooker. They think the boat is there. They take the friend’s boat out to the islands and indeed there is Bill and Maria in a cove. They are bringing up gold and a canister. Maria’s grandfather sunk a fortune of gold and this canister of nerve gas during the Cuban missile crisis. Her father found it but has been in prison ever since. Maria is going to use the gold to get her father out of prison. Luis Salzar wants the gold and the canister of gas for a candidate for president of Cuba. He is after Maria and Bill. So are the slick man and Gimpy.
Barney and Hooker and Bill and Maria trade boats when there is boat trouble with the Happy Hooker. Bill and Maria head back to Naples with the gold but forget the canister. Slick and Gimpy show up and Barney and Hooker dump the canister in a stream in 15 feet of water to keep it safe. They have a shoot out with Slick and Gimpy on the Happy Hooker. Hooker is shot with a tranquilizer and Barney shoots Slick. She leaves them in the RIB and disables their boat. Barney and Hooker return to Key West where they are kidnapped by Salzar. But Todd blows up the Flex II and they get away.
They go to Naples where they learn Maria has been kidnapped and Bill has been shot. The gold has been stolen. They bring Bill back to Miami and to Judey’s condo to recuperate. But he leaves to find Maria. Barney and Hooker go to Salzar’s offices to talk to him and Hooker is taken hostage. Barney steals a car and is stopped by police but is let go when Slick and Gimpy, who are federal agents, intervene. She goes to a hotel where she calls the helicopter pilot to take her to retrieve the canister. She retrieves it and puts it in the trunk of a rental car. She doesn’t trust Slick and Gimpy. She manages to free Hooker and Bill with Judey’s help with pizza laced with date-rape drug drops to knock out their captors. They return to Judey’s condo and force one of the captors to tell them where Maria is being held.
Barney leaves the condo and is kidnapped by Salzar. She and Maria are taken to a factory and held there with the gold. Hooker and Bill and Hooker’s NASCAR team invade the place and free them and the gold. They capture Salzar and the candidate for president of Cuba and Slick and Gimpy, who were also working for Salzar. They turn over the canister to the federal government.
Barney and Hooker finally get together after days of sexual tension and flirting. They are attracted to each other, to say the least. Bill is in love with Maria and Judey and Todd are also together. All’s well that ends well.
This is a fast-paced story that is fun and flirty. Evanovich makes this crazy story believable somehow and the characters are immensely entertaining. I loved this book and can’t wait for the next one.