Take the Monkeys and Run: Karen Cantwell

‘A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery’

Suburban, mother of 3, Barb never expected her life to take an unexpected turn. Howard, her husband, has moved out & left her with their 3 daughters. A newly single mom, she’s also attempting to launch her newest movie review blog. But, her life is about to become a whole lot more complicated.

After hearing odd noises from the supposedly vacant house next door, Barb wakes up the next morning to find monkeys in her yard. Rustic Woods, Virginia is hardly the jungle so this is unexpected. Nothing major has ever happened in this neighborhood before, so Barb encourages two friends to join her in sleuthing. If only she’d known that the monkeys were the least of her problems. Asking the other neighbors is no help & they make it crystal clear that they don’t appreciate her efforts.

Something sinister is going on next door & determined to prove it, she contacts a P.I. who just happens to be her ex-boyfriend. When he flies out to help the investigation, he brings a new set of issues with him. Before long, Barb is knee-deep in an undercover investigation, dodging death, & romantically confused.

Moms are superheroes as it is, but this time Barb will have to save the day in a whole new way.

Karen Cantwell has created a nosey neighbor who readers will actually appreciate. Barb’s character makes no attempt to apologize for her shortcomings. Never perfectly dressed or coifed, she puts her family above all else while still harboring her sense of adventure. It was nice to have a female character who had every chase to stray, martially, but still kept her vows. Barb works because she’s ‘real’.

The plot is silly at times & definitely has a healthy dose of humor. Sarcasm works when done well & it certainly is done well. In fact, there are a few scenes where I honestly laughed out loud. It’s been awhile sense a book did that for me. As the debut in Barb’s series, it’s a good read that doesn’t beg to be taken seriously. I give it 4 stars.



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