AudioBook Review: Take the Monkeys and Run: Barbara Barr Murder Mystery #1 by Karen Cantwell

AudioBook Review:

This is my second encounter with both this author and narrator, and I was utterly delighted with this pairing again.

Take the Monkeys and Run is the first in the Barbara Marr mystery series, and while it has a clever murder mystery at its heart, the hijinks and humor add to the story and present Barbara as a character with a singular ability to function when all around her is chaos.

Recently divorced with no real explanation for the dissolution, she is still in love with Howard and can’t quite really move beyond those emotions, even though there is a very willing and interested man in her circle, Colt, a PI who steps in to help her solve the mystery. But, Barbara has much more to deal with – a troop of monkeys have suddenly appeared, and the vacant house next door is suddenly sounding like an episode of Scream.  While I was expecting a shrunken head (from the monkey references) that didn’t happen, but the murder and the associated sorting out the whodunit was fun, funny and clever.

Told in Barbara’s voice, I love her growth in confidence: thinking of herself as ditzy and rather useless, if not dumb she is far more together than her comforting ‘go to’ persona would have you believe.  This entire story was an experience, from her growth and increase in self-confidence to the funny mystery that was referenced to and influenced by several films.  While far more lighthearted than most murder mysteries, these are more wacky and out of the box, fueled by caffeine and sugar with the associated silly moments that are common in say, I Love Lucy reruns.

Narration is provided by Nan McNamara and as in my first encounter with her presentation, I loved her approach and style.  Her ‘nod and a wink’ to the listener is present throughout the more outrageous moments, and her character presentation is spot on.  Slight distinctions between characters presented with pitch and cadence changes work to keep the flow smooth without distracting the listener.  I couldn’t imagine, after finishing this listen, another narrator presenting the title.

Overall, while there were some moments that I found over the top, I was expecting a fun, funny and outrageous story, and that is exactly what I got.  Cantwell has a unique sense of humor that shows through in her writing, and made this a perfect introduction to the Barbara Marr mysteries.

Stars  Overall: 5  Narration: 5  Story 4

AudioBook Review: Take the Monkeys and Run: Barbara Barr Murder Mystery #1 by Karen Cantwell

Title: Take the Monkeys and Run
Author: Karen Cantwell
Series: Barbara Barr Murder Mystery #1
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Narrator: Nan McNamara
Published by: Self-Produced
Source: Author
Pages: 196
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 27 minutes
Rated: five-stars
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See this Title on Goodreads

Film lover Barbara Marr is a typical suburban mom living the typical suburban life in her sleepy little town of Rustic Woods, Virginia. Typical, that is until she sets out to find the missing link between a bizarre monkey sighting in her yard and the bone chilling middle-of-the-night fright fest at the strangely vacant house next door.

When Barb talks her two friends into some seemingly innocent Charlie's Angels-like sleuthing, they stumble upon way more than they bargained for and uncover a piece of neighborhood history that certain people would kill to keep on the cutting room floor. Enter sexy PI Colt Baron, Barb's ex-boyfriend who would love to be cast as new leading man, filling the role just vacated by her recently estranged husband, Howard.

When Colt flies in from out of town to help Barb, events careen out of control and suddenly this mini-van driving mother of three becomes a major player in a treacherous and potentially deadly FBI undercover operation. It's up to her now. With little time to spare, she and she alone, must summon the inner strength necessary to become a true action heroine and save the lives of those she loves. The question is can she get them out alive before the credits roll?

A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Karen Cantwell

Karen's novel, Take the Monkeys and Run was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (under the original title of Monkeys in My Trees)and has gone on to be a Kindle bestseller on Amazon. She has written three more books in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series: Citizen Insane, Silenced by the Yams, and Saturday Night Cleaver.

When she's not writing, Karen loves gardening and spending time with her family. She is currently working on the release of Keep Me Ghosted, the first book in the new Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance Series, as well as beginning the draft of Kiss Me, Tate, part of the upcoming Barbara Marr spin-off, Love in Rustic Woods Series.


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