• Girl with a Gun

  • Annie Oakley Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: Kari Bovee
  • Narrated by: Susanna Burney
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: finalist in historical fiction

2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards: first place in the mystery/crime category

2019 Hillerman Award for Southwest fiction

In an exciting new historical mystery series, award-winning author Kari Bovee brings the beloved American icon Annie Oakley into the world of mystery and crime as a plucky, amateur sleuth.

Fifteen-year-old Annie Oakley is the sole supporter of her widowed mother and two younger siblings. An expert markswoman and independent spirit, she hunts game to sell to the local mercantile to make ends meet instead of accepting a marriage proposal that could solve all her problems, including the impending foreclosure of her family's farm.

After a stunning performance in a shooting contest against famous sharpshooter Frank Butler, Annie is offered a position in the renowned Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Finally, she has a chance to save her family's farm and make her dreams come true.

But after her catapult to fame, a series of crimes takes place in the Wild West Show, including the death of Annie's Indian assistant. The coroner claims the death was due to natural causes, but Annie is unconvinced. Then, her prized horse Buck - a major part of her act - is stolen, and she realizes that someone is out to get her. 

With the help of a sassy, blue-blooded reporter, Annie sets out to find her horse, solve the crimes, and clear her good name, before everything she's worked for is destroyed.

©2018, 2020 Kari Bovee (P)2020 Kari Bovee

What listeners say about Girl with a Gun

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Annie Oakley, But Sleuth!

Author Kari Bovee set out to do something with the classic Annie Oakley story that's never been done before: turn it into a cozy mystery! I'm a huge fan of cozy mysteries and historical fiction, and Annie Oakley flavoured review opportunities have been flocking to my inbox lately (seriously, sometimes trends in publishing are so niche it's hard to believe they're coincidence!) so I jumped at the chance to try out this series for the tour.

The pros: Bovee is definitely a skilled storyteller and crafted a believable plot of cozy mystery level difficulty and reader stress. It was light, easy to follow, and easy to get lost in. I do love the attempt to do something different with such a well known, factually based character and I do think Bovee has succeeded in developing a unique version of Annie that will appeal to mystery and historical fiction readers alike.

The cons: None of the other characters felt developed, there are a lot of egregious historical inaccuracies that didn't seem to be there on purpose to aid the plot, and this book (and its sequels) are on the long side for the cozy mystery genre. There are plenty of mini-plot sequences that do nothing for the overall story and could have been trimmed. There's also a relationship between two side characters that involves baby-making between a grown man and a very young girl that's creepy, unnecessary, and not founded in what's historically known for the man the older character is based on.

Susanna Burney's narration was easy to listen to and well-paced. She did a good job of making characters sound distinct without exaggerating anything too much or putting on an over-the-top performance that distracts. I would gladly pick up other audiobooks with this narrator.

I was granted complimentary audiobook access to Girl with a Gun as part of my participation in a blog tour for this series with iRead Book Tours. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

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Fancy Shooting, History and Mystery Combined!

I'm firmly of the belief that books should be available to everyone, and that reading isn't just something done with the eyes. I love audiobooks, they free up my hands while filling my ears and mind with new worlds and people. This week's audiobook tour is about a series that was originally released in ebook and paperback, but has only just been recorded in audio. Kari Bovee's Annie Oakley Mystery series is a treat for the ears and it's all due to the incredible work of both the author and Susanna Burney, the narrator. Susanna has taken an already interesting book and breathed life and humanity into characters that have been long since relegated to names in our history books.

Girl with a Gun is the first book in the Annie Oakley Mystery series, where the author blends real historical figures and events with head-scratching whodunits.  Annie Oakley is 15 years old and has the weight of the world already on her shoulders, her family has been struggling financially since her father's death, and a steady paycheck for performing as a sharpshooter in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show is a godsend.  It's not all sunshine though, she has coworkers who have various degrees of jealousy to manage, her horse is terrified of the barn, and the constant struggle of Annie's Quaker upbringing against the worldliness of show business. I will say that I liked Annie's relationship with Chief Sitting Bull best, and the odd, slightly stilted way that she grows accustomed to her adoption by the venerable elder. I love how very human the author writes her characters. They all have admirable qualities but also have flaws and the idiosyncrasies that make living in tight quarters interesting.

I don't want to go too deep into the plot, the blurb does a great job of laying out the broad strokes. I will say that the reader is kept guessing right up to the very end, and that even the most unlikable person has reasons for their behavior that aren't readily understood from the outside.

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Wild West

Kari Bovee’s first in the series is a charming introduction to the life and loves of Annie Oakley’s story, of course fictionalized but in such a way as to make the star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show very real and accessible. Set in 1885, Annie is presented as just now meeting her eventual husband, Frank Butler, while the two were actually already married when they joined the show but this is, after all, a fictional account and the author has taken reasonable liberties with Annie’s history which is somewhat entangled with the tales she made up for her career.

At any rate, I enjoyed the author’s interpretation and spending time with such real people as Sitting Bull and Lillie Smith. There are several storyarcs, including Annie’s horse, Buck, being sick and the animosity of a few other show members towards the crowdpleasing Annie. Lillie is her primary rival in the shooting exhibitions and it’s fun to watch these two and Frank work out new exciting events.

Then there is the booklong mystery, the death of Annie’s friend and assistant, Kimi. Was her death natural, despite her young age, or was she murdered? If the latter, did someone hate her that much because she was an Indian or could there be some other reason? Annie suspects not all is as it seems and is determined to learn the truth. There are a variety of twists and turns but, on the whole, I felt as though the mystery took a back seat to everything else and could have been left out entirely. The other thing I want to mention is that I’ve seen reviews that pan the book for its non-PC elements such as the words used (squaw, for instance) and the apparent lack of caring for animals used in the shooting exhibitions but Ms. Bovee strikes a decent balance and I recommend that any reader remember that attitudes were very different in 1885.

The narrator, Susanna Burney, was new to me and I found her to be quite easy to listen to. Her evocation of various characters is stronger with the women than the men but that’s certainly not surprising and, when all is said and done, I think she brought the tale to life. Between her narration and the author’s imaginative story, I quite enjoyed Girl with a Gun.

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Annie Oakley is on the case!

Note: While it’s not necessary to have read the prequel, it certainly adds to the main character’s depth & explains how Annie and her beloved horse Buck first met.
This book is a such a little treasure of a find! It’s historical fiction. It’s a western. It’s Young Adult. It’s a murder mystery! And it manages to be all these things quite well. Annie is such a relatable character and it’s great to follow her around as she navigates her new life as star of a traveling show.
Annie Oakley comes from this small family from a small town, having lived most of her life on a family farm. Now she’s the main breadwinner for her family. But it’s a big complicated world full of adults that aren’t always looking out for her best interests. There’s certainly a number of people willing to use or abuse Annie for one reason or another.
Add to that a young, healthy woman (Kimi) who died unexpectedly, leaving her mixed-race baby parentless. But Annie has her suspicions. Then there’s an outright murder plus someone keeps poisoning her horse, Buck. Twila doesn’t like her at all. Lillie Smith doesn’t like anyone and is usually half drunk. Derence LeFleur wants to romance her. But Annie only has eyes for the handsome Frank Butler. Toss in the press printing ugly things about her and her ongoing legal issues with an old enemy, and Annie is besieged on so many fronts! Tho I did like that eventually she gains a few allies, like Emma Wilson, a newsreporter and Suffragette.
I do have 2 small quibbles about the story. There is some insta-luv going on between Annie and Frank. I found that a little hard to really buy into. I also wanted more time with Sitting Bull. Tho I did like that this story kept things real with how Native Americans were treated, even within the Wild Buffalo Bill Show (which was considered a bit progressive for it’s time concerning Native Americans and women). While Chief Sitting Bull had a small part, he did act as an anchor for Annie, referring to her as an adopted daughter. I’d like to see more of that relationship as the series goes forward.
The murder mystery was very interesting to follow. It had a lot of twists and turns and several suspects. The murders appear different on the surface and there doesn’t appear to be anything to connect them. Plus everyone seems to have secrets. It was a great twisty tale. I loved being surprised!
All around, it’s a really good story and I look forward to book 2. 4/5 stars.
The Narration: Susanna Burney was a great fit for this story. She makes a great teenage Annie Oakley. She also had a variety of voices for the rest of the characters, making each one distinct. I liked her soft accents for Frank (Irish) and for Sitting Bull (Native American). Burney did a great job portraying Annie’s emotions throughout the story too. Her masculine voices could use a touch more masculinity for some of the characters. The pacing was good & there were no tech issues with this recording. 4.5/5 stars.
I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own.

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Great

I personally found that Girl with a Gun (An Annie Oakley Mystery) by Kari Bovee to be a well written and well narrated audio book. This was the first one I decided to listen to from the series and I have to say that it has left me excited to read/listen to more from this author and series. I especially liked Annie Oakley as she made the book for me!

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A lot of fun!

The author fictionalized Annie as an amateur detective putting her in murder scenes she never faced in real life. While full of facts, Kari mention’s in her author’s notes that she messes with the timeline to fit the stories.
If you like historical novels, cozy mysteries, or wild west stories, I think you will like them.

I was lassoed and tied to the story as Annie found her assistant dead. The plot thickens as she digs deeper for facts. She seems to be the target and faces many incidents along with her beloved horse.

My biggest reason for not giving it a five is that I’m a stickler for timelines. But I appreciate the author being upfront about it at the start of the book, and the storyline was a lot of fun. Also, the narration was excellent, leaving me feeling like I was amidst the characters.

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A Fun New Mystery Series Featuring Annie Oakley!

Annie Oakley was one of the country’s most talented marksmen. In Girl with a Gun, we see a fifteen-year-old Phoebe Ann Mosey compete with the famous Frank Butler in a shooting competition. Phoebe loses, but Buffalo Bill sees her potential as a show woman. She joins Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and changes her name to Annie Oakley and becomes Chief Sitting Bull’s adopted daughter. Upon arrival, she learns that someone wants her gone from the show. The death of her servant, Kimi, only confirms Annie Oakley’s fears. Who in the show wants her dead?

I find this new historical mystery series in which Annie Oakley is an amateur detective to be very intriguing. I am delighted to say that this interesting premise does not disappoint. Annie Oakley is a remarkable heroine. She is a woman that loves shooting and her family. She is a very caring woman and cares about her friends and family. Annie’s goal throughout the audiobook is to support her struggling family back home. Annie is also very observant because she notices tiny details that others do not notice. Thus, I find her to be a fun protagonist.

Overall, this is a simple, cozy mystery. The mystery is very predictable, and it is obvious who the killer is from the beginning. Nevertheless, I enjoyed listening to how Annie solves the mystery and catches the villain. The best feature in the audiobook was the setting. It’s lush setting made the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show come alive. All the characters were very realistic, and I loved the romance between Annie Oakley and Frank Butler! Girl with a Gun is very fast-paced and will keep you invested in the story until the end! I am so delighted with this audiobook that it leaves me wanting more! I am excited to listen to the sequel! Mrs. Bovee is an author that I am eager to look out for! I recommend Girl With a Gun for fans of mysteries that feature real life historical figures like The Jane Austen Mysteries, The Brontë Series Mysteries, and The Agatha Christie Mysteries!
(Note: I received a copy of this audiobook as part of a blog tour. All opinions expressed are my own.)

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Entertaining cozy mystery

Girl With a Gun is an interesting fictional mystery story about Annie Oakley. Of course, I’ve heard of her, but didn’t really know much of her history. As the author states, she took some liberties, but nonetheless, this is a good read.

Annie is easy to connect to, but I found it more difficult to connect with the other characters. They felt more surface level at times. To say this is a fun murder mystery sounds strange, but it really is entertaining. I liked Annie’s personality, with ample doses of vivacity and strength.

This is a quick read. The audiobook narration is crisp, with a clear tone and nice inflection in voice changes without being distracting. If you enjoy cozy type mysteries with sassy heroines, you’ll enjoy this one.

Disclosure: #CoverLoverBookReview received a complimentary copy of this (audio)book.

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Yahoo! Annie joins the Wild West Show.

This was a great audiobook. The writing was excellent, as was the narration. It took me a few minutes to get into it, but then it just flew along.

This book shows a behind the scenes look at Annie Oakley, the woman sharpshooter with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. It’s informative about Annie’s home background in Ohio, how she came to join the Wild West Show, her relationship with Frank Butler and others in the show. Young Annie finds herself in the middle of several deaths and illnesses, and she digs in to learn what’s going on.

Annie is very mature for her age. She’s not afraid to take charge when necessary to get the job done. Annie worries about her family, her mother and siblings, and how they’re going to make ends meet. While her mother, a good Quaker woman, doesn’t like the idea of Annie joining the show, they need the money. Along with Annie is her faithful horse, Buck. He also gets sick, and with a little help, Annie learns why.

This was a very enjoyable audiobook. The story moves along at a good pace. I’m looking forward to listening to the next book in this series.

I received an Audible code for this book from the author. I thank her for her generosity, but it had not effect on this review. All opinions in this review reflect my true and honest reactions to reading this book.

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Fascinating blend of fact and fiction

I was intrigued by this series as soon as I heard about it--Annie Oakley is an amateur sleuth?! Sign me up! The book more than lives up to the premise--the mystery was intriguing with lots of twists and turns, characters to fall in love with, and lots of excitement. The narrator does an excellent job as well, bringing life to the story. Can't wait to listen to the next one!

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  • NicolaHancock
  • 02-02-22

Brilliant

I was so glad that this started just how I imagined it to. Annie is back with her sidekick buck. This is a really emotional one to listen to but also filled with action of shooting at the shows. You love every character that appears apart from Twyla and Lily. There was characters that appeared from the past too which made me incredibly nervous.

Frank and Annie’s friendship grows with bumps along the way and you hang on to the will they won’t they. My heart broke for Kimi. There was so many mysteries in this left to solve. What did happen to Kimi? What was happening to Buck?

I loved how the chapters started with a reference to a newspaper with the date and the time too allowing you to follow the time line. Annie is such a strong character that wants to do right by anyone and also the determination to support her family back home. I did have my heart in my throat every-time the shooting with the cards were in play. What would happen if someone missed?

These books are so fun, serious and warming and heartbreaking. It’s so easy to fall in love with the plot of the story even if it is a bit of a roller coaster. The narrator holds your attention with such a calming way. I cannot wait to finish the other audio’s to this series. I’m just glad I now know what happened as I listened to shoot with a gun first.