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Publisher's Summary

Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist. 

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life - the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder. 

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father? 

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer - no matter what it takes.

©2020 Terri Lynn Zaleski (P)2020 Terri Lynn Zaleski

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What listeners say about Killer Deadline

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

What fun!

I enjoyed listening to this new Lauren Carr mystery, which, like all her books, is made more entertaining by the characters' quirky pets. In this case, the heroine's dog Elmo, who is a social media influencer, made me laugh out loud. I like escaping to the communities of friends and family that Lauren constructs for all her series, and look forward to revisiting Pine Grove again when the next installment is dropped.

Anita Alger did a great job narrating. I was especially impressed by how well she shifted to the male voices, which often can be distracting when a narrator tries too hard to sound like the opposite voice.

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

Really amazing book with a great story line

I have recently rediscovered my love of the cozy mystery (the last time being when I was 10 and reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew) and I gotta say the last few weeks (has it been months already???) I have loved reintroducing myself to the joys and love of a well written mystery that keeps you on your toes and guessing.

This was one of those mysteries. Lauren Carr is a genius with the red herrings and the misleading of your attention. She is a masterful story teller who created such vibrant characters that I fell in love with every single one of them.

I really loved the addition of a social influencing dog. It is not something I have ever read or listened to before and added a funky twist to the book that I would probably not have missed but now that I know it exists – I will be looking for in future books.

Now the narration – I am of two minds. She had an amazing voice, incredibly melodic and easy to listen to but her story telling left me feeling a bit ‘meh’. I loved little things like the tinny sound of a character’s internal thoughts or the messages between Nikki and Nerdy Guy and the sound of the GPS lady coming through when Nikki used her GPS. The characterisation was really well done in some cases – like this of Nikki’s mom, housekeeper and sister Julia but the voice of the antagonistic characters came through a bit too harsh.

All in all a really amazing book – great story line, interesting characters and amazing twists and turns.

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

Everything you love in a Lauren Carr mystery

4.5 STARS. KILLER DEADLINE is a quick-hit cozy mystery, clocking in at just six and a half hours of listening. The short length, along with the super-cute cover and that it is written by Lauren Carr, made it a perfect choice for me in a time when I’m craving the escape of an entertaining story but don’t have a lot of time for one. When there’s precious little time to dedicate to reading for pleasure, I know that I can choose one of Carr’s books (I’ve read a bunch) and feel confident I’ll be thoroughly entertained.

For those readers not familiar with Lauren Carr’s books, know that KILLER DEADLINE is the first in a new series of cozy mysteries, and it’s lighter fare than Carr’s other books. That’s not to say that it’s not entertaining or that anything is lacking. It is, and there’s not! There is of course a well plotted mystery or two, a strong and intelligent female, quirky secondary characters, a little romance, and a lot of laughs, often via a four-legged character. In KILLER DEADLINE, readers get all of the things Carr does well but in smaller doses than her usual mystery novels.

“If anyone had told me five years ago that I’d be human to a canine social media influencer, I would have told them that the world would have to go mad first. Little did I know…”

Meet Elmo, the celebrity boxer. Elmo is a remarkably talented and intelligent pup, and while he’s a happy helper to his mistress, help’s only going to happen if she’s polite about her requests. Elmo’s character and antics are a delightful counter to the more intense business of solving murders and for main character, Nikki, avoiding being a victim.

“Kristine exuded an air of flawless confidence.”

I have absolutely no reason for including this irrelevant-to-anything quote, but I don’t often hear or read my name in a book, and I most certainly haven’t heard that said about me, so I am including it because it made me giggle. (And though my guess is that in print, it’s actually “Christine” with a “C,” I’m taking this as a win.) Another random tidbit was the setting of the story is in a small town near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and I lived in a small town not far from Latrobe, Pennsylvania for about seven years. It was awesome to return there via KILLER DEADLINE and visualize my town as the fictitious Pine Grove, PA. Carr's descriptions are top-notch.

I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this cozy mystery series, and I very much hope that Anita Alger returns to narrate. All the other books I’ve listened to have been narrated by Mike Alger (I imagine there’s a relation there), and it was a nice change of pace, especially given our main character is female. Anita’s performance of the various characters was outstanding, and other than a few unnaturally long pauses between sections/transitions, she did a great job. Her pace was just a little slow at regular speed, but it was a little too fast at 1.25x, but I settled on the latter because I am impatient and want the story faster.

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

Better than the usual cozy mystery

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I had read this book previously and liked it, so I was happy to listen to it as well.

In Killer Deadline, a Nikki Bryant returns home to take over her family’s TV station. She has also decided (with a nudge from an online friend) that it’s time to reconnect with her first and only true love, her former boyfriend and stepbrother.

The first thing that happens when Nikki arrives back home is a murder of the evening anchor for the station. Unfortunately, she’s the one who finds the body which makes her a suspect. The murder also causes her father’s murder, a cold case, to be looked at again. Will they find the murderer(s) this time?

The narrator did a good job with enunciation and timing as well the different voices. Her voice is a little soft for this particular book, but I was able to get past that.

I definitely recommend Killer Deadline. It has a little more substance than some of the cozy mysteries I’ve read. Just like I like it!

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

A New Series

Lauren Carr has several popular series and releases numerous books every year but, apparently, she isn’t busy enough because here she is starting another one 😉 I love those other series that are what I consider traditional mysteries with various elements of law enforcement and, although Killer Deadline is very different, being a true cozy, I do believe Ms. Carr has come up with another fun series.

There are two things I can always expect from a Lauren Carr book, a good deal of humor and one or more very appealing pets, and Killer Deadline has both; surely Elmo the boxer has established himself as one of my favorites and the author’s brand of humor is unforced and understated with none of the silliness often found in cozies. Nikki is a sleuth who comes by it naturally, being an investigative journalist from a big city, and she’s drawn to looking into her own father’s murder years before, especially when an old rival is murdered soon after Nikki comes home. Everything seems to revolve around the local TV station owned by Nikki’s family and both deaths, including the new one, are rooted in the past.

Elmo, meanwhile, is busy being a social media icon and Nikki is second guessing her decision to move back home and run the TV station but, at least, there’s potential for a romance with her old crush, Ryan. Add in investigating murders, running a top-rated TV station and coping with the eccentricities of a small town and Nikki is a very busy lady. I’m looking forward to more of her adventures.

This was also my introduction to Anita Alger as a narrator and I thought she did it well, with good tone and pacing. Her male vocalizations were a bit lacking but I think she’s fairly new at this and reading in the other gender isn’t easy. I’m sure she’ll continue to strengthen that aspect of her narrations.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tonight's breaking news is a Killer Deadline

Killer Deadline
A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery #1
By Lauren Carr
Narrated by Anita Alger

Nikki Bryant is returning home to take over the family's television station in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. After years of honing her skills as an investigative journalist, it is time to return home to her family and to her first love. Though there is that awkward situation of now Ryan being her step-brother. But, hey, a girl can hope, right?

Nikki is determined to get to the truth of her father's murder all those years ago. But are her investigative skills up to the challenge of a cold case that hits close to home? And when another murder hits the station Nikki can't help but wonder if they are related.

This was a fun read and I really loved Elmo - who couldn't love a rescued boxer with a social media following most influencers would die for? Let's just say Elmo totally rivals Lauren Carr's other canine creations (if you've read her other books) but Elmo is the perfect housekeeper!

Nicki's an intense individual who makes the perfect investigative journalist. She wants answers yesterday and she is willing to dig in to get them. She might get it wrong at the beginning but with the help of her family and close friends, she'll get the answers she wants and needs. And all this while trying to figure out how to let The One know that he is the one for her, with somewhat humorous results, I might add.

The narrative by Anita Alger is perfect for this book. She keeps the story moving at a good pace and presents Nikki well. At just over 6 hours and 30 minutes, it is a good length for commuting to work or for doing chores around the house. Or you could double the enjoyment and read along with the audio.

This is the start of a new series starring Nicki, Elmo, Ryan, and the rest of Pine Grove, PA! If you love cozy mysteries this one is for you.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

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

Pure clean fun!

I rarely read cozy mysteries. My usual genres are historical, time-slip, Christian, and women’s fiction, but every now and then I stretch into something different. In this case I’m glad I did, and I hope to delve into more fun-to-read cozy mysteries in the near future.

Nikki is an interesting personality and is easy to connect with. But I must admit, Elmo (the dog) and Ryan stole the show for me. :) Pine Grove is a wonderful setting and I feel like I've now been there.

Audio Narration: Anita Alger, the narrator, has a pleasant voice and inflection fluctuates nicely with the various characters. Her voice is feminine, soft and lilting, so initially it was a tiny bit off-putting when she spoke her male voice interpretations, but soon the story flowed seamlessly, and I didn't pay any more attention to it. She did a wonderful job of making Nikki come to life.

Overall Opinion: Overall, this story is pure clean fun! I enjoyed the setting, the characters, the adventure, the mystery, and certainly the humor. I'm so happy this is the first book in the series, and plan to visit Pine Grove again!

I received a complimentary copy of this book via iRead Book Tours.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This is an exciting new series by Lauren Carr!

I love Lauren Carr's writing and now I get to listen to the audio books as well! It is so enjoyable listening to her books I have read in audio form! It is a wonderful "refresher" to my mind of stories I only partially remembered. Her writing is the type one can listen to/read more than once and still enjoy!

Killer Deadline is a great title for this particular book. The Cover image is a great choice, too!

The human and non human characters and the background scenes are fantastic! It is so easy to lose oneself into the story. As always, Lauren Carr has added much humor and outrageous antics corresponding with adventure, mystery and suspense.

This book is about an individual who walked away from her one true love because of unique conditions. Years later, she is a successful newsperson who must now decide whether she should leave her success to return home to take over the small town news media station which has been in her family for years. Is her love still single? She is urged by her email friend to "give it a shot". The email "pal" challenged her to face her dilemma and he would face his as well.

In the meantime, she is determined to solve a past murder. As she pursues this, other individuals start expiring.

The Narrator, .Anita Alger, did a very good job with her voice fluctuation and enunciation, but her voice was too delicate and "airy" for the "manly" main character which slightly annoyed me. Other than that, I totally enjoyed this audio.

I offer a Four and a Half Stars rating.
This was gifted me with absolutely no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.

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

Kept my Interest

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery in which the author had me totally guessing at who the culprit was. It wasn't easy to figure out! The characters were quite entertaining, my favorite being the handsome Ryan, who always seemed to have a level head on his shoulder and played the part of the male hero well. Of course Nikki, the protagonist, was a interesting character to follow too, along with her dog who was quite popular on social media. Who knew animals had social media accounts. (I told my daughter, No! Her dog could not have a social media account. Apparently, one of her friends dogs does....) Well, that was unrelated to the review, but was something that came up at our house, after I finished reading about Elmo being so popular and increasing the popularity of local residents and businesses when they had their pictures made with him. The dog, may have honestly been my second favorite character as he was smart enough to clean house, and do quite a few other helpful things. (Why don't our dogs do that?)

I enjoyed the plot and how the two mysteries were woven together. The author did a fantastic job of pulling the reader in and making you feel like part of the people and the town. I was really excited to have the chance to review this as an audio book. The narration was well done, and easy to listen to. I was gifted with an audio copy of this book courtesy of ireadsbooktours.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing Cozy Mystery

My THOUGHTS ON THIS BOOK

I love this cozy mystery by Lauren Carr! Nicki is returning home and determined to find her father’s murderer, even though it has been years. And she realizes it is not going to be easy! Then when another murder happens, she wonders if it is all connected.

This is a mystery that kept me listening until the book was finished. The story is full of interesting characters that grip your heart. Nicki is strong willed and determined to go after what she believes in, but I have to say Elmo is my favorite. I loved that boxer and his part in the story. This is a true Cosy Mystery and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

This is my first audiobook I have listened to and I must say I am impressed. It took me a while to get use to the narrator, Anita Alger’s voice but after a while it was great. And Ms. Alger does an excellent job with changing her voice with each character. Her expressions throughout the story made the book interesting and easy to listen to. And the audio quality was very clear, no distractions that I heard. I was surprised at how fast the book goes while I am doing other things while listening. I will sure be listening to more book in the near future!

Thanks to the author for a copy of the audio book to listen to in order to write this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts and opinions here are mine alone!