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Publisher's Summary

Jolie never liked the idea of sitting on the plank above the dunk tank for the food pantry's fundraiser at the carnival. Even so, she never dreamed what Scoobie saw that day would leave him battling for his life. Scoobie's ex-con mother shows up and there's a murder to add to the mix. Soon, Jolie is doing a lot more than appraising real estate - though even that is complicated by home burglars. Jolie reluctantly seeks help from her nemesis - reporter George Winters - and tries to stay a step ahead of a kidnapper and murderer so she can take charge of her world again. The police wish she'd butt out and Aunt Madge is furious that Jolie insists on talking to a couple shady characters on her own.
Soon, even the guests at Aunt Madge's Cozy Corner Bed and Breakfast are in the way. Can Jolie keep her friends safe, and will Scoobie recover enough to say what happened to him and plan another silly fundraiser?
©2012 Elaine L. Orr (P)2013 Elaine L. Orr
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Customer Reviews

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By Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe on 11-17-17

Things get personal to Jolie

When the Carny Comes to Town, the third Jolie Gentil book by Elaine Orr, opens with a St. Patrick’s Day carnival in which Jolie sits in a dunk tank to raise money for the food pantry that she is in charge of. After drying off from the cold water, Jolie and her friends explore the carnival when Scooby, her one friend from the year she lived in Ocean Alley with her Aunt Madge during high school, notices a carny with whom he exchanges bad looks. Then, the next day the local police sergeant finds Jolie with her other local friend, Ramona, and rushes them to the hospital because Scooby has been attacked and fallen off the boardwalk, with bad brain injuries and potentially serious back damage. Then, a couple days after Scooby’s attack, his mother shows up, shocking everyone because she has dropped out of Scooby’s life after abusing and neglecting him as a child. The woman is drunk and not once visits Scooby, despite appearing at the hospital. But then, after disappearing for a week, her murdered body turns up. In anger at the way his mother had treated him, Scooby demands that Jolie stay away from looking into her death, but Jolie can’t leave alone.

This book has a darker feel than the previous two in the series. It deals with a more dangerous type of violence, with drug dealers as suspects. The cruel attack on Scooby and the details surrounding his criminal mother have less fun than the other books but are still riveting. We learn more about Scooby’s background too.

The audio version of this book is performed by Michael Spence, and the version really set off a couple of my pet peeves. The narrator of the book is a 28-year-old woman. So why would the publisher ever select a man with an older sounding voice to speak the part of a young woman? The disconnect is so strange that it makes the book much less enjoyable than it could be. Spence is a good narrator, but he just doesn’t fit this book. My other pet peeve is books that try to give sound effects. This one gives a slightly distorted sound to indicate when Jolie is voicing her thoughts instead of speaking aloud. This comes across as annoying, and a decent narrator does not need sound effects to differentiate between thought and speech.

When the Carny Comes to Town is a good addition to the Jolie Gentil series, though I liked the previous book, Rekindling Motives, much better. I suspect that the choice of the narrator had an effect on my lesser opinion of the book. I give the book four stars.

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