A book review now, what's next?
This was my assignment in my professional writing class last week. Let me know what you think. I love feedback.
Take the Monkeys and Run
Reviewed by Tammy Stathelson
Take the Monkeys and Run – A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, a 2010 Amazon Kindle Bestseller and semi-finalist in the Amazon 2009 Breakthrough Novel Contest, is the first book by Karen Cantwell in an ongoing series about a small town Virginia housewife who has a penchant for finding trouble or rather trouble finding her.
Barbara Marr, or Barb as she is affectionately called by friends, normally spends her time at PTA meetings, but lately has stumbled onto a mystery that is set to rock her quiet, nothing-ever-happens-here community. Barb leads the average life of a forty-five year-old mother with three daughters. Her husband, Howard, who recently announced he needed time to think things over and then walked out on his family continues to maintain a presence throughout the story. Barb is often aggravated and intimidated by her overbearing mother who shows up without invitation or announcement. Her closest friends, constant companions, and partners in mystery solving are her neighbors, Peggy and Roz. The only thing out of the ordinary and probably the most interesting thing that has happened in Rustic Woods, Virginia is the monkeys that seem to be multiplying swinging from the trees in Barbara Marr’s front yard.
The book begins by immediately thrusting readers into the action by opening with Barb wandering around in the dark with her faithful cat, Indiana Jones, investigating a loud truck, which has pulled up in the middle of the night at a house next door that has been vacant for 29 years. She is chased back to her warm, safe home by men yelling and a half-animal, half-human type scream. The next day when the monkeys appear she decides maybe the “House of Many Bones”, as she calls it because she believes any house that has stayed vacant that long must have many skeletons hidden inside, needs to be checked out.
Excitement ensues on a larger scale after Barb looks through the basement window of the “House of Many Bones” where she sees a light shining during the loud exchange between men and monkeys to find a lifeless, decomposing head. From that point on, the plot twists and turns magnificently, leaving page turning cliffhangers and questions at the end of each chapter.
This hybrid comedy-mystery is told as a hilariously pure flight of fancy that could only happen in a housewife’s imagination. Cantwell creates a fictitious world that is colorfully furnished in the everyday while taking readers on a romp with outlandish mafia style bad guys – with a conscious no less, movie star handsome hunks, and a delightful entourage of equally clueless and hilarious friends.
Take the Monkeys and Run is loaded with references to movies including, Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run, old television programs as well as those getting older actors. While these references cause the book to be dated, in the future that could add to its charm. It is very appealing to those getting close to being called middle-aged readers who spend their days in the real world and are looking for a witty and welcome escape.
Karen Cantwell’s Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series is bound to be a delight for readers who enjoy reading for pleasure and simply for the fun of it!
Take the Monkeys and Run can be purchased at these online retailers:
Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – iTunes/iBooks – Google Play – Audible Audiobooks
Take the Monkeys and Run
Fourth Kindle Edition: 2014