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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2010 Karen Fraunfelder Cantwell (P)2014 Karen Fraunfelder Cantwell
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Gaele on 07-03-14

‘nod and a wink’ to the listener is omnipresent

AudioBook Review:
Stars Overall: 5 Narration: 5 Story 4

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.

I received an audiobook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Candy Lyons on 02-22-14

Take The Monkeys and Run Hits a Home Run!!!

What did you love best about Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #1)?

I loved the wit, humor, sweetness, and poignancy of this book. It is spectacularly performed to a T. And the writing is clever, laugh-out-loud funny, and, at times, hits really close to emotional home. This is a highly entertaining murder mystery that will keep you on your toes as amateur sleuth Barbara Marr finds herself neck-deep in a murder mystery that lands practically in her back yard. She solicits a quirky cast of characters to help her solve the mystery and unravel the hilarious and sometimes inane clues.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #1)?

There is so much memorable about this book that it's hard to pinpoint to one thing. But I'd say the first kiss Barbara's estranged husband gives her is one of the scenes that will stick in my mind for a long time. The scene is bittersweet and filled with both a longing and love for her husband who has walked away from their marriage without any explanation. As the mystery unfolds, we begin to realize the need for Howard's withdraw from his family. However, this initial kiss scene between them is beautiful and heartbreaking.

Which character – as performed by Nan McNamara – was your favorite?

Barbara Marr. She takes on a life of her own as she speaks the dialogue the author has written for her. Filled with charisma and wit, Barbara is a much-loved favorite!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. Unfortunately, because of life commitments, I had to split it over several days. Yet, each time, I was loathe to walk away from the story and eager to pick it back up as soon as I got back in the car!

Any additional comments?

I loved everything about this story. It's amazingly well done all around. Bravo Karen Cantwell, bravo Nan McNamara, bravo Barbara Marr! <3

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Julie on 09-04-17

A barrel of laughs

Any additional comments?

After buying the book I just had to buy the audiobook too. As I find the I will read a book just once but with an audiobook I will listen to the story again and again. This book just hit all the right buttons for me so I just had to buy it.

Very funny story and lovely characters that find themselves in lots of trouble and mayhem. You would think running a house with three growing girls in would be a handful all by its self but no. When Barbara hears noises in the house next door she just has to investigate and its not long before she finds herself facing monkeys in her tree and dead bodies. With the help of her best friends, hunky cops, mother's and the FBI she finds staying safe is hard work.
I will definitely be getting the next book in the series.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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