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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    49
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gaele
  • Atlanta, GA
  • 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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dianne
  • Dallas, TX, United States
  • 03-06-14

Hilarious Entertainment!

Other reviews have already outlined the plot, so I will just give my opinion of the book.
I read the book and liked it so much that now a couple years later, I listened to the audio book. The writing is very well crafted and the plot leads you on a rollercoaster ride of hilarious escapades. Throw in a soccer mom, an estranged husband that looks like George Clooney, an ex-boyfriend and some mafia characters and you are in for an entertaining ride!
I have already read book 2 and plan to read the rest in the series and anxiously wait for more!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JER
  • Philly burbs
  • 03-26-14

Wonderfully quirky mystery!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This murder mystery is exciting, kooky and fun. A wild ride that you don't want to get off of. I laughed out loud and sat on the edge of my seat.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The reader is brought along with the main character on her crazy adventures by exciting and colorful details.

What about Nan McNamara’s performance did you like?

Nan McNamara was an artist! Her talent brought all of the characters to life.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Monkeys, murder & mayhem!

Any additional comments?

I will be enjoying all of Barbara Marr's adventures!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Great Clean Title to Listen to in Mixed Company

Would you listen to Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #1) again? Why?

I would absolutely listen to this again. It's funny, the performance was engaging, it's safe to listen to with others around. In other words, it wasn't a story that I would feel that I would have to turn off if someone walked into the room.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I loved this plot, although it reminded me somewhat of the movies that Barbara Marr is so fond of. Not a bad thing. It was a fun, engaging listen.

Any additional comments?

Narrators can make or break an audio book. Nan McNamara did an outstanding job. I could picture every character in my head as I fell in love with the entire motley crew!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Cute

Cute. A bit over the top, but in good fun. Glad it's first in a series, looking forward to the next.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Beatrice
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 10-21-14

Quick and light

This is a quick and light cozy mystery. I laughed out loud a couple of times. It closely resembled a movie in which a famous governor starred in but that was okay. It helped pass the time while cleaning and doing errands.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Cute story

Karen Cantwell has written a nice first book in a new series. Nan McNamara did a good job of bringing the characters to life. If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, you won't want to miss this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Fun Mystery

would have given a 5 except it went from a hilarious well written mystery to a unnecessary foul mouth house wife . Plot was great and could have been a clean spectacular mystery for all to read or listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

A really fun murder mystery

Barbara Marr has her hands full of life as mother of three girls in Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell. Then one night she hears noises at the House of Many Bones, a house in their local community in Rustic Woods, VA, that has been unoccupied for 30 years. After initially investigating the screams and shouts of "No toes!" Barbara goes back inside and back to bed, knowing she isn't the action hero of her favorite movies. She gets stuck sleeping alone, since her husband, Howard, walked out on her inexplicably a few days earlier. Then the next morning, the youngest of her three daughters excitedly chatters about monkeys. Sure enough, there are four, no, five monkeys hanging in the trees outside their home! The 911 dispatcher almost hangs up on Barbara, but she manages to convince the woman to send someone to her house.

More wild events occur, with Barbara's continually running into "Officer Brad," so called that privately because of his resemblance to Brad Pitt. And Barbara's mother keeps popping up, creating unusual situations, especially because she doesn't know Howard has left. And all the situations, especially in the last third of the book, show fun and creativity. And we never cease to see Barbara's love of action movies playing out through the course of the book.

Initially, I was unsure about Take the Monkeys and Run, and I thought the book seemed to be contrived. However, because the book came highly recommended from people who love the same types of books as I love, I stuck with the book, and I'm glad I did. What seemed like silly additions that actually fit well into the plot's details. I found myself surprised by several details as they transpired. The plot became so exciting that I found it hard to put the book down.

The characters in the book are truly delightful. Barbara's inner life of action movies adds a fun flavor to the book. Her two best friends, Roz and Peggy, help to add energy. Barbara's mother, who, despite being busy training for a marathon and earning her black belt in taikwondo, never is too busy to poke her nose into Barbara's business. The names used for the bad guys add humor as well. We have Elvis, No Toes, and Pug Mug, among others.

The audio edition of this book is narrated by Nan McNamara, who does a good job of making this book believable under conditions that could be otherwise ridiculous. She does a great job of using strong inflections and timing. I really appreciated the job she does in her performance.

Take the Monkeys and Run turned out to be a fun book that I really enjoyed. It has some fun lines, such as this one: "Don't get fresh with me. I'm menopausal. And I've got a gun." It has great characters, and the second half of the book was a lot of fun. I liked the book enough that I already bought the second book in the series. I give this book five stars.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jenny Eley
  • 04-16-18

Great enjoyable

I really enjoyed this book, it had a good storyline without the blood and gore. it was funny at times but I'm going to find the next in the series

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie
  • 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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful