cover image Troublemaker, Book One

Troublemaker, Book One

Janet Evanovich, Alex Evanovich and Joelle Jones, Dark Horse, $17.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-59582-488-2

Bestselling author Evanovich continues her Barnaby series (Metro Girl, Motor Mouth) in graphic novel form with the help of her co-writer daughter and artist Jones (You Have Killed Me). No need to know about the previous adventures of Alex Barnaby and NASCAR driver Sam Hooker, since everyone is clearly introduced for new readers. Old friend Felicia has summoned Alex to Florida because their mutual friend Rosa has been kidnapped by someone practicing voodoo. The art is direct and simply laid out, with no more than four panels to a page and the pictures supporting dialogue and caption exposition. That makes for an easy-to-read starting point for those unfamiliar with comics. The attractive figures and detailed settings also help, and Dan Jackson’s bright colors capture the sun-soaked feel of Miami. Jones gives Barnaby wide-open eyes and an adorable pug nose that makes her appear young and approachable. She’s cute, and that plays well in the action-packed romantic comedy/thriller that follows (including outdated cougar jokes). Jones is also good with the dog, Beans, a slobbery St. Bernard, providing comic relief. For those not already Evanovich fans, it’s rather like a grown-up Scooby Doo; the story’s conclusion is due in Book Two in November. (July)