Janet Evanovich’s latest re-release, Naughty Neighbor, is certainly a quick read, in terms of both length and pace. Hardworking press secretary Louise Brannigan lives downstairs from roguish Pete Streeter, scriptwriter extraordinaire. She's uptight; he's laissez-faire. You all know where this is going. Within ten pages of this slim 229-page novel, our two main characters have met and, very few pages later, sparks are flying.
Pete has been investigating a little too deeply into a vanished pig, and in order to scare him off the scent, the perpetrators break into his house, shoot up his car, and (bizarrely) have his downstairs neighbor fired. With all the free time she has to be unemployed, Louise agrees to help Pete investigate the mystery of the missing pig, even though she ostensibly hates him for stealing her newspaper and making lewd advances. Their adventures have them running all over town, bugging high-profile politicians, trespassing in the dark, and bantering incessantly.
Evanovich herself describes this as the ‘most romancey’ of her novels, and it is clear that the pig mystery is present simply to give Pete and Louise something to do while they gallivant about town in cute clothes and explore their feelings for each other. Pete seems to develop an attraction that surpasses the physical surprisingly quickly, and Louise, while she holds out for a bit longer, acquires feelings that she must suppress after remarkably little (and rather arrogant) wooing. Understandably, this is a short book, and things need to happen at double-pace. Even so, the rapidity of the romance leaves something to be desired – I hardly cared about the characters before they were off on their whirlwind.
If you’re looking for something light and easy, with recognizable stock characters and inoffensive romance, this will probably fit the bill. If you like having to think a little bit harder, look elsewhere.