Troublemaker Book One
A Barnaby and Hooker Graphic Mystery by Janet Evanovich and Alex Evanovich
Review: Janet Evanovich introduced racecar spotter Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby in 2004 in Metro Girl, a mystery heavy on action and adventure. A second book followed in 2006 (Motor Mouth) and now the series continues in graphic novel format with the first volume in Troublemaker, co-written with her daughter Alex Evanovich, with artwork by Joelle Jones.
After Barney receives a voodoo doll in the mail — the box actually wasn't addressed to her — she and NASCAR driver Sam Hooker take off to search for her friend Rosa, who the doll looks like. Only Rosa is missing as is her employer, Walter Percy. Getting advice from a spiritual consultant — not that they actually believe in voodoo — they travel to the Everglades, where they stumble on a ritual being performed with Rosa in attendance. They narrowly escape being included in the "ceremony", and find their next lead in Percy's home — they didn't actually break in — a message to meet at a nightclub in Miami, where a man shows up, Rosa in hand. Threatened with violence if they don't return the item Percy promised — which they may actually already have, having sort of illegally gone through Percy's mail — Barney and Sam proceed on to where they believe Percy is holed up: the Keys.
Anyone who has read either of the Metro Girl mysteries will recognize that Barney and Sam are perfect characters for the graphic novel format. Larger than life, they are in constant motion, breathlessly moving from one scene to the next. The art in Troublemaker is brilliant and colorful with a bit of an edge — not unlike the characters being depicted — and provides a solid contextual backdrop. The addition of Hooker's newly divorced mom to the mix is a nice comic touch. The weakness here, at least initially, is in the storyline, which doesn't have a strong foundation, is rather confusing to start and takes a little too long to get going. Still, it's grand entertainment and will appeal to fans of Evanovich's series mysteries as well as those who appreciate an exciting adventure mixed with dash of danger and a hint of romance.
It isn't clear how many volumes Troublemaker will eventually span. The story continues with the second in the series, published in November 2010.
Acknowledgment: Dark Horse Books provided a copy of Troublemaker Book One for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
HarperCollins (Hardcover), October 2006
ISBN-13: 9780060584030; ISBN-10: 0060584033
Location(s) referenced in Troublemaker Book One: Miami, Florida
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Troublemaker Book One by Janet Evanovich and Alex Evanovich — A Barnaby and Hooker Graphic Mystery
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Publication Date: July 2010
List Price: $17.99