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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 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. Enter sexy PI Colt Baron, Barb’s ex-boyfriend who would love to be cast as new leading man, filling the role just vacated by her recently estranged husband, Howard. When Colt flies in from out of town to help Barb, events careen out of control and suddenly this mini-van driving mother of three becomes a major player in a treacherous and potentially deadly FBI undercover operation. It’s up to her now. With little time to spare, she and she alone, must summon the inner strength necessary to become a true action heroine and save the lives of those she loves. The question is can she get them out alive before the credits roll?


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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 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. Enter sexy PI Colt Baron, Barb’s ex-boyfriend who would love to be cast as new leading man, filling the role just vacated by her recently estranged husband, Howard. When Colt flies in from out of town to help Barb, events careen out of control and suddenly this mini-van driving mother of three becomes a major player in a treacherous and potentially deadly FBI undercover operation. It’s up to her now. With little time to spare, she and she alone, must summon the inner strength necessary to become a true action heroine and save the lives of those she loves. The question is can she get them out alive before the credits roll?

30 review for Take the Monkeys and Run

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    First of all, I believe I am required to state that I won this book in a goodreads giveaway contest. I also want to say that I was seriously impressed with how fast this book arrived in the mail. I had expected to wait at least a month for the book, especially since I'm outside the US, but a signed copy was on my doorstep in one week flat! Thanks Ms Cantwell and goodreads! Now on to our feature presentation, Take the Monkeys and Run. I don't want to mindlessly parrot other reviewers, but truly th First of all, I believe I am required to state that I won this book in a goodreads giveaway contest. I also want to say that I was seriously impressed with how fast this book arrived in the mail. I had expected to wait at least a month for the book, especially since I'm outside the US, but a signed copy was on my doorstep in one week flat! Thanks Ms Cantwell and goodreads! Now on to our feature presentation, Take the Monkeys and Run. I don't want to mindlessly parrot other reviewers, but truly the best way to sum up this book is that it was just SO MUCH FUN! This book was like a classic whodunnit that got over-sexed and high on a sugar rush from too much chocolate-covered popcorn. Take the Monkeys was light and funny with plenty of suspense and mystery, but not enough grit, violence or sad criminals to give it that depressing quality that so many other crime novels have. The plot was fast-paced throughout - I never once got bored while reading, and even at moments when there wasn't a ton of plot development happening there were lots of other fun little details to hold my interest and entertain me, such as Barb and her friends commenting on the butts of various suburban men or all-too familiar fantasizing about mexican food. Despite being fast-paced, it was always simple enough to follow what was going on and keep track of the various characters without taxing my thesis-worn brain cells. The writing was witty and intelligent without being overly convoluted or complex. Take the Monkeys is the kind of book that is easy to read a few pages from, put down and do the dishes, and then pick up again a few days later without feeling like you were ever away from it. Would make an excellent plane or beach read. The prose was deliciously conversational in style, so much so that it grabbed me in and made me feel like I was there talking with the characters. The setting provided a perfectly on-point depiction of contemporary north american suburbia, complete with requisite washed-up hippies, squirrels and yappy neighbourhood dogs. Sure, it was a bit over-the-top and unrealistic at times, but that was a big part of its hilarity and charm. Numerous movie references helped to keep it relevant and grounded. There were one or two movie references that went over my head, but I'm no film buff and I still got the majority of them, so I don't think the film references would be an impediment to a reader who isn't a big movie fan. Plus, what post-feminist woman doesn't secretly have a girl-crush on Officer Ripley? The best thing going for Take the Monkeys was its incredible voice. Written in first-person from the point of view of its main character, lovable housewife Barb, the sense of voice truly sucked me in and made me feel like I was best friends with Barb, sympathizing with her at every turn despite her being rather clueless and sex-crazed on occasion. Barb was self-deprecating about herself as an older woman, making cracks about her "female hormones" and the effects of "lines around the eyes", but ultimately both genders were mocked with equal opportunity, insight and hilarity. Although Barb tried to sell herself as being a bit weak, ditsy, and desperately in need of a man, as a reader I just wasn't buying it. In reality, Barb was pretty fierce and kickass, even if it took her a while to see that for herself. She was perfectly capable of thinking on her feet and saving herself, although of course it never hurt her to have a few tasty Brad Pitt/George Clooney lookalikes around to help out. My copy did have quite a few typos, some missing punctuation, words out of order, etc. There were never so many errors that it distracted from the story or that I couldn't figure out what the word was supposed to be, but it would be good to get those fixed up if more books are printed just to appease any future readers who may be grammar Nazis. I've never read a lot of self-published books, but I suppose errors are a more common occurrence when you act as your own editor, so I'm willing to be more forgiving. Plus, it obviously takes a lot of hard work, guts and caffeine to put yourself out there and publish your own book. I'm just glad that the author took that risk so that I could meet the lovely and hilarious Barb! I will definitely be interested in reading further books in the Barbara Marr series or any future writing from Karen Cantwell!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I have a weakness for free cozy mysteries with punny titles. Sometimes the weakness rewards me with something great; more often it does not. This one fell somewhere in the middle. Like other reviewers gush, it carries the day with constant humor and peppy action. The collection of suburban housewives, hot guys, and eccentric villains make for a generally fun and certainly easy read. The thing is, I often felt like it tried too hard. I like that the heroine loved old movies. It made for some funn I have a weakness for free cozy mysteries with punny titles. Sometimes the weakness rewards me with something great; more often it does not. This one fell somewhere in the middle. Like other reviewers gush, it carries the day with constant humor and peppy action. The collection of suburban housewives, hot guys, and eccentric villains make for a generally fun and certainly easy read. The thing is, I often felt like it tried too hard. I like that the heroine loved old movies. It made for some funny moments. But it also too often felt over the top. Like, 'Quick! We're slowing down. Must Insert Movie Reference Here.' Same with the quirky villains. 'Quick! We're losing momentum. Make that guy do something really weird!' And then there is a whole scene that basically is one long poop joke. It was a light, funny read and good for getting through several hours at the airport, but not a series I plan to pursue any farther. I was going to let it go but alsoooo...her husband's motivation confused me. (view spoiler)[ I like that it does not end with him moving back in and everything being hunky dory. He did, after all, lie to her for 20 years or whatever about his actual job. I just don't understand WHY he lied. The FBI might be dangerous but that is no reason not to tell your wife. It is not like he works for SHIELD or something. It is just the FBI. It then doubly did not make sense that he decided to put space between himself and his wife by moving out. Couldn't he just say he needed to go on a business trip? Why create unnecessary drama in his marriage? I feel like if he really needed to lie, and I'm not convinced he did need to, several better lies present themselves. (hide spoiler)]

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    This was the funniest action mystery I've read in a while! I loved Barb and her two friends, Peggy and Roz. They were a little more like Charlie's Angels in this book rather than my usual comparison of Nancy Drew and her pals. Who knew that ordinary housewives could accidentally get mixed up with the Mafia, FBI and...monkeys? There really wasn't a current murder to solve, but I was too busy laughing and reading on the edge of my seat as the action started happening. I think I'll definitely be re This was the funniest action mystery I've read in a while! I loved Barb and her two friends, Peggy and Roz. They were a little more like Charlie's Angels in this book rather than my usual comparison of Nancy Drew and her pals. Who knew that ordinary housewives could accidentally get mixed up with the Mafia, FBI and...monkeys? There really wasn't a current murder to solve, but I was too busy laughing and reading on the edge of my seat as the action started happening. I think I'll definitely be reading more in this series!

  4. 5 out of 5

    mountainmama

    Barbara Marr would have to qualify as the most inept sleuth in the world, but that’s half the charm. As she noses into the goings-on at the house next door, she finds herself involved in stuff that any sane person would avoid. Nice and light – over the top and not to be taken seriously. A fun silly romp that is very well edited. A perfect way to spend an afternoon.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Candace Davidson

    Wow, this book was really cozytastic! First time I have read her. This book was a free download.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tammy Stathelson

    Take the Monkeys and Run Reviewed by Tammy Stathelson Take the Monkeys and Run – A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, a 2010 Amazon Kindle Bestseller and semi-finalist in the Amazon 2009 Breakthrough Novel Contest, is the first book by Karen Cantwell in an ongoing series about a small town Virginia housewife who has a penchant for finding trouble or rather trouble finding her. Barbara Marr, or Barb as she is affectionately called by friends, normally spends her time at PTA meetings, but lately has stumb Take the Monkeys and Run Reviewed by Tammy Stathelson Take the Monkeys and Run – A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, a 2010 Amazon Kindle Bestseller and semi-finalist in the Amazon 2009 Breakthrough Novel Contest, is the first book by Karen Cantwell in an ongoing series about a small town Virginia housewife who has a penchant for finding trouble or rather trouble finding her. Barbara Marr, or Barb as she is affectionately called by friends, normally spends her time at PTA meetings, but lately has stumbled onto a mystery that is set to rock her quiet, nothing-ever-happens-here community. Barb leads the average life of a forty-five year-old mother with three daughters. Her husband, Howard, who recently announced he needed time to think things over and then walked out on his family continues to maintain a presence throughout the story. Barb is often aggravated and intimidated by her overbearing mother who shows up without invitation or announcement. Her closest friends, constant companions, and partners in mystery solving are her neighbors, Peggy and Roz. The only thing out of the ordinary and probably the most interesting thing that has happened in Rustic Woods, Virginia is the monkeys that seem to be multiplying swinging from the trees in Barbara Marr’s front yard. The book begins by immediately thrusting readers into the action by opening with Barb wandering around in the dark with her faithful cat, Indiana Jones, investigating a loud truck, which has pulled up in the middle of the night at a house next door that has been vacant for 29 years. She is chased back to her warm, safe home by men yelling and a half-animal, half-human type scream. The next day when the monkeys appear she decides maybe the “House of Many Bones”, as she calls it because she believes any house that has stayed vacant that long must have many skeletons hidden inside, needs to be checked out. Excitement ensues on a larger scale after Barb looks through the basement window of the “House of Many Bones” where she sees a light shining during the loud exchange between men and monkeys to find a lifeless, decomposing head. From that point on, the plot twists and turns magnificently, leaving page turning cliffhangers and questions at the end of each chapter. This hybrid comedy-mystery is told as a hilariously pure flight of fancy that could only happen in a housewife’s imagination. Cantwell creates a fictitious world that is colorfully furnished in the everyday while taking readers on a romp with outlandish mafia style bad guys – with a conscious no less, movie star handsome hunks, and a delightful entourage of equally clueless and hilarious friends. Take the Monkeys and Run is loaded with references to movies including, Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run, old television programs as well as those getting older actors. While these references cause the book to be dated, in the future that could add to its charm. It is very appealing to those getting close to being called middle-aged readers who spend their days in the real world and are looking for a witty and welcome escape. Karen Cantwell’s Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series is bound to be a delight for readers who enjoy reading for pleasure and simply for the fun of it! Take the Monkeys and Run can be purchased at these online retailers: Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – iTunes/iBooks – Google Play – Audible Audiobooks Take the Monkeys and Run Karen Cantwell Copyright 2010 Fourth Kindle Edition: 2014

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Barbara Marr is a fairly normal middle aged woman, living in a fairly normal suburban community in Northern Virginia, but when she witnesses some not so normal activity at the house next door, she can’t help her curiosity. The peculiar, abandoned house she has nicknamed “The House of Many Bones” has always been a mystery to her so when on a late night walk around her house she sees and hears bizarre activity she dives head first into her own personal investigation for some answers. Warnings from Barbara Marr is a fairly normal middle aged woman, living in a fairly normal suburban community in Northern Virginia, but when she witnesses some not so normal activity at the house next door, she can’t help her curiosity. The peculiar, abandoned house she has nicknamed “The House of Many Bones” has always been a mystery to her so when on a late night walk around her house she sees and hears bizarre activity she dives head first into her own personal investigation for some answers. Warnings from friends, neighbors and even the police are proving useless in stopping Barbara from her mission. And when two stereotypical mafia wise-guys show up and threaten her to keep her nose out of their business, she realizes that this whole situation is a lot more serious than she suspected and decides to continue her research more carefully. Now Barbara is way out of her league and eventually gets herself, her friends and even her family in a deadly situation with a dangerous group of people. Fortunately for her, her movie knowledge and quick wit keep her alive long enough to attempt an escape, but can she outwit the wise guys in time??? I was pulled into the story fairly quickly. I found myself completely entertained by the personality of the main character and her quick wit and sarcasm. The writing is quite humorous and finds a way to take odd events and make them realistic in the way everyday people would deal with them. Unfortunately the story took a more serious turn, well I should say attempted to, and it caught me off guard. As the mafia elements were introduced to the story I found it to not quite fit with the flow of the story. I had a hard time taking it serious and it became a bit cheesy and predictable. On the whole I enjoyed the writing and the characters, the storyline just seemed tough to get into to.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Grace Krispy

    The first in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series, this book by Karen Cantwell is a hoot. Barb is zany, outlandish, and doesn't always make the best choices, so she's a lot of fun to follow. She says and does things we all think about sometimes. She's a typical mom with three girls and a bit -ok, more than a bit- of a movie fetish. Barb sees things in terms of how characters in a movie would react, which adds some nice color commentary. I found this tact to be a clever way to tie the storyline The first in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series, this book by Karen Cantwell is a hoot. Barb is zany, outlandish, and doesn't always make the best choices, so she's a lot of fun to follow. She says and does things we all think about sometimes. She's a typical mom with three girls and a bit -ok, more than a bit- of a movie fetish. Barb sees things in terms of how characters in a movie would react, which adds some nice color commentary. I found this tact to be a clever way to tie the storyline in with Barb's character, and it really helps you get a more developed picture of what Barb is like. It also leaves a lot of potential for future storylines. The wacky premise and kooky cast of characters is reminiscent of those found in books written by Jennifer Crusie and Jane Heller. If you prefer realistic mysteries, then this may not be your best choice. This book is pure fun and silliness, and what I consider to be complete "brain candy." I know, for me, indulging in brain candy is a really relaxing and entertaining way to spend some free time. Along the line of these types of stories, the writing style is a bit quirky, with some interesting grammar constructs. In a story of this genre, this informal and offbeat writing doesn't seem out of place. The storyline gets a little more outlandish on each new page turned. The sometimes eccentric secondary characters add color to the story, and the descriptions of each character allow you to really picture them. There is some predictability to the plot, and some of the male characters, in particular, seem cliche, but it's all in line with the genre of the story. The ending is satisfying in the way that is typical of this type of book, and it prepares you to read the next story in the series. Overall, a zany and fun adventure in which to immerse yourself! @ MotherLode blog

  9. 5 out of 5

    LB Gschwandtner

    In this funny, touching, improbable escapade in the burbs, heroine and movie buff Barbara Marr faces life's mishaps and mysteries with pluck and wit. She's not a gal to be undone by a few setbacks -- her husband has just walked out of their marriage, her mother keeps popping in unannounced, and oh yes, there's a severed head in the abandoned house next door, not to mention monkeys on the loose in the trees. It's enough to make the ordinary soccer mom want to run and hide but not this heroine. An In this funny, touching, improbable escapade in the burbs, heroine and movie buff Barbara Marr faces life's mishaps and mysteries with pluck and wit. She's not a gal to be undone by a few setbacks -- her husband has just walked out of their marriage, her mother keeps popping in unannounced, and oh yes, there's a severed head in the abandoned house next door, not to mention monkeys on the loose in the trees. It's enough to make the ordinary soccer mom want to run and hide but not this heroine. And that's what makes this first book by Karen Cantwell such a treat. She's given readers a story that shows how any woman can rise to any occasion and overcome just about any challenge. And make the reader laugh along the way. Bravo! I enjoyed every minute & recommend it with enthusiasm.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holli

    The book started good and was funny, but kind of fizzled for me when the main plot became a cliche I've seen so many times before. I've seen it enough I could pretty much guess what would happen in the book and was spot on for most of it. Kind of ruins the suspense. It's quick read and an okay book overall. I'll probably continue the series, regardless. One glaring error though: (view spoiler)[Since when is propane so tame it won't explode in a house full of it when someone fires a gun? Much les The book started good and was funny, but kind of fizzled for me when the main plot became a cliche I've seen so many times before. I've seen it enough I could pretty much guess what would happen in the book and was spot on for most of it. Kind of ruins the suspense. It's quick read and an okay book overall. I'll probably continue the series, regardless. One glaring error though: (view spoiler)[Since when is propane so tame it won't explode in a house full of it when someone fires a gun? Much less a flaming helicopter? I want that propane wrangler; he's good. (hide spoiler)] COYER: Read any type of mystery novel (cozy mystery) - 1 point

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Paul

    I thought that this was a funny and clever book. It would be a great book for a flight or to read on vacation. There were times that I was very excited to see what would happen next and there were times that I was laughing outloud. I would greatly recommend this book as a fun read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Barbara Marr is a suburban mother of three and a movie buff. She lives in Rustic Woods, Virginia. After her husband Howard left her, she decides to rekindle her passion for film writing and has even started working on her movie review website again. With little to do besides parenting, she’s also taken a different hobby spying on her neighbors. Lately she’s noticed a mysterious truck pulling up into her neighbor’s driveway on Tuesday nights. She finds this odd because the house has been vacant f Barbara Marr is a suburban mother of three and a movie buff. She lives in Rustic Woods, Virginia. After her husband Howard left her, she decides to rekindle her passion for film writing and has even started working on her movie review website again. With little to do besides parenting, she’s also taken a different hobby spying on her neighbors. Lately she’s noticed a mysterious truck pulling up into her neighbor’s driveway on Tuesday nights. She finds this odd because the house has been vacant for twenty-nine years. Curious, she goes out with her cat, Indiana to see what’s up. She runs into her friend and neighbor Roz and they both head over to House of Many Bones. Midway they both double back and Roz bids Barbara goodnight and heads back to her house. Moments later, Barbara hears a piercing scream coming from the weird house. Quickly she scurries to her house for safety. The next day, while she’s on the phone with her friend, and fellow sleuth, Roz, she sights monkeys in her trees. Her neighborhood Rustic Wood is surrounded by wildlife— there’s raccoons, deer, squirrels a plenty, foxes. Why is it suddenly raining monkeys in her neighborhood? Quickly she calls the county police. She decides to go snooping around the weird house to find out the source of the noise she heard the night before. So she heads over there with her friends Roz and Peggy in tow. When Barbara finally sneaks into the house, she stumbles on a severed and decaying head on the floor in the basement. Against her better judgment, she decides to do a little digging of her own. She enlists the help of her ex-boyfriend and , Colt Baron who’s now a private investigator. Together and with the help of her friends, they unravel secrets surrounding this mysterious house.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liv

    I got this book as a free download from Amazon. I’d never read this author before and frankly had little to no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by this cozy mystery story. The protagonist, Barb, was an average middle-aged woman with a family. At the start of the book, she seemed to be undergoing marital troubles. In order to distract herself, she got involved in some mysterious occurrences that took place in the vacant house next door. Well, the situation just got weirder and weirder as I got this book as a free download from Amazon. I’d never read this author before and frankly had little to no expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by this cozy mystery story. The protagonist, Barb, was an average middle-aged woman with a family. At the start of the book, she seemed to be undergoing marital troubles. In order to distract herself, she got involved in some mysterious occurrences that took place in the vacant house next door. Well, the situation just got weirder and weirder as the story progressed, and things involved monkeys, man with toes problem, dead man, mafia and threats. Oh, and let’s throw in a couple of interested and nosy girlfriends slash neighbours and we got a team of women sleuthing on their own not knowing the danger they were in. There were some absurd moments in the book that really gave me a few good laughs. While thimgs got predictable later on, it was still an easy and enjoyable read. I’d want to comtinue with this series at some point. 3.5 Stars.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jules (Never enough time to read)

    It was ok and I liked some parts more than others. I'm fairly certain I won't be reading any more in the series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Quite funny and enjoyable for a freebie download, I might actually try a few more by this author. Main character is utterly unbelievable though!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Debra Martin

    I won a copy of this book in a contest. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Cantwell has a distinctive voice that I absolutely loved. Without giving away any spoilers, I found this story to be reminiscent of a humorous, action-adventure movie made back in the nineties especially the circumstances involving the husband and his job. Take the Monkeys and Run follows the antics of 45 year-old suburban soccer Mom, Barbara Marr. Her life is falling apart. Her husband has decided that he needs some space I won a copy of this book in a contest. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Cantwell has a distinctive voice that I absolutely loved. Without giving away any spoilers, I found this story to be reminiscent of a humorous, action-adventure movie made back in the nineties especially the circumstances involving the husband and his job. Take the Monkeys and Run follows the antics of 45 year-old suburban soccer Mom, Barbara Marr. Her life is falling apart. Her husband has decided that he needs some space and has moved out. Barbara wavers between falling apart and dissolving into tears or being stoic like her idol, Lt. Ripley, from the Alien movies. Her life becomes more complicated when she finds monkeys in the trees on her property. Barbara decides that she needs some distraction from her marital woes and decides to do some detective work and find out where those monkeys came from. She involves two of her girlfriends in the mystery and an old boyfriend from her past shows up to lend her a helping hand and that doesn’t sit too well with her husband, Howard. Ms. Cantwell has a flair for dialogue and there were many laugh out loud moments with Barbara. Of course, things go from bad to worse and Barbara finds herself thrown into unlikely situations with some unsavory characters. This book is predictable, but that doesn’t take away any of the enjoyment of reading it. Take the Monkeys and Run is an absolute delight and I hope that Ms. Cantwell plans on writing many more adventures for our heroine, Barbara Marr. Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    *I received a copy of this book for review through the firstreads program* What a fun book! Barbara Marr is a suburban mom living in Northern Virginia, whose husband has just decided they need to take a "break," when she finds a bunch of monkeys in her backyard. Everything goes downhill for her from there. Marr is a relatable and funny character, and her hijinks are laugh-out-loud funny (without a lot of those cringeworthy "why on earth did you think that was a good idea" scenes you sometimes see *I received a copy of this book for review through the firstreads program* What a fun book! Barbara Marr is a suburban mom living in Northern Virginia, whose husband has just decided they need to take a "break," when she finds a bunch of monkeys in her backyard. Everything goes downhill for her from there. Marr is a relatable and funny character, and her hijinks are laugh-out-loud funny (without a lot of those cringeworthy "why on earth did you think that was a good idea" scenes you sometimes see in books like these). The supporting cast of characters are tons of fun too, in particular her mother, who's an amalgamation of every irritating thing that all mothers do. Personally, I had a lot of fun reading this book because it's based in Fairfax County where I grew up. Despite the huge amount of people that live there, it's not often picked for book settings. On the other hand, it may have tipped me to part of the ending, which I guessed at least in part. There were some things I definitely did not see coming. My copy came with a signed note from the author saying "Have Fun!" I most certainly had fun reading "Take the Monkeys and Run," and I can't wait to read more books in this series and the author's other books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    I liked the title of this book, and settled down eager to read. An hour or so later, not impressed. It started out fairly well, introduced believable, relatable characters and a plausible mystery. It all goes downhill from there. Characters do not seem fully developed and the storyline plunges from believable to a tad unrealistic to downright implausible. The novel reaches further and further to explain events, and not in a 'I-didn't-see-that-coming' way, but in a 'that-would-never-happen-in-a-mi I liked the title of this book, and settled down eager to read. An hour or so later, not impressed. It started out fairly well, introduced believable, relatable characters and a plausible mystery. It all goes downhill from there. Characters do not seem fully developed and the storyline plunges from believable to a tad unrealistic to downright implausible. The novel reaches further and further to explain events, and not in a 'I-didn't-see-that-coming' way, but in a 'that-would-never-happen-in-a-million-years' kind of way. It became The Unfinished Book. The book I had still to finish, the book I pulled out at the doctors surgery, while waiting on the bus, while at a loss of anything else to do really. I was constantly stopping and starting it, due to a lack of interest, and that probably added to the books lack of coherency and appeal. There were a few solid characters, if unoriginal - the busybody, pushy mother of a thirty something woman (think Bridget Jones), the handsome cop turning up in unlikely places (think any number of books), the dastardly ex-husband. The main feeling I felt when I finished this novel was relief.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Siggelow

    I won this book from Library Thing's Member Giveaways. This book was so funny and quirky and I loved it! It was also a very good mystery as well. What more could you ask from a book! This is the story of a housewife who was outside with her cat in the wee hours of the morning and saw something going on at the house next door. This wouldn't have been odd, except that the house next door had been empty for almost 30 years. She decides to go take a look and ends up getting herself and a friend who co I won this book from Library Thing's Member Giveaways. This book was so funny and quirky and I loved it! It was also a very good mystery as well. What more could you ask from a book! This is the story of a housewife who was outside with her cat in the wee hours of the morning and saw something going on at the house next door. This wouldn't have been odd, except that the house next door had been empty for almost 30 years. She decides to go take a look and ends up getting herself and a friend who comes out to help into heaps of trouble by some pretty shady people. This happens the week after her husband of almost 20 years leaves her out of the blue, claiming that he needed space and leaves her to deal with their 3 children by herself. She calls in a friend from California who jumps onto the next flight to help her with her mystery. This is a very quick, interesting and funny book, that I immensely enjoyed in 2 days. I liked how Ms Cantwell tied the beginning to the ending in a very smooth, methodical way. I would recommend this book to anybody...very cute book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    ☺Trish

    Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell is a humorous and quite quirky cozy mystery set in fictional Rustic Woods, Virginia. Main character Barbara Marr, a serious film buff and soon-to-be movie reviewer & blogger, is a likeable and realistic 45-year-old stay-at-home mother of three daughters: Callie, Bethany, and Amber. Her husband, Howard, out-of-the-blue, recently announced that he "needs space" and has moved out. Meanwhile, Barb, needing a diversion from the frustrating and depressing mid Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell is a humorous and quite quirky cozy mystery set in fictional Rustic Woods, Virginia. Main character Barbara Marr, a serious film buff and soon-to-be movie reviewer & blogger, is a likeable and realistic 45-year-old stay-at-home mother of three daughters: Callie, Bethany, and Amber. Her husband, Howard, out-of-the-blue, recently announced that he "needs space" and has moved out. Meanwhile, Barb, needing a diversion from the frustrating and depressing mid-life crumbling-marriage drama, gets involved in investigating the bizarre goings on at the house next door with some help from her friends Roz and Peggy (as well as from her hunky ex-boyfriend, now a PI, Colt Baron). Hilarity and hijinks ensue as the plot twists and turns and goes way over the top, but all in good fun! I look forward to reading more about the life and adventures of Barbara Marr and company!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Take the Monkeys and Run is a quirky and fun murder mystery. Barbara Marr is not your typical young, beautiful murder mystery heroine. This is a good thing! She's in her forties with two daughters and a husband who has just left her. She's broken, but not destroyed. Investigating the strange happenings next door is just what she needs to keep going. The story has monkeys, a human skull, mobsters, and an ex-boyfriend. What more does a mystery need? Humor! There's lots of it! Barbara is sarcastic, Take the Monkeys and Run is a quirky and fun murder mystery. Barbara Marr is not your typical young, beautiful murder mystery heroine. This is a good thing! She's in her forties with two daughters and a husband who has just left her. She's broken, but not destroyed. Investigating the strange happenings next door is just what she needs to keep going. The story has monkeys, a human skull, mobsters, and an ex-boyfriend. What more does a mystery need? Humor! There's lots of it! Barbara is sarcastic, with a self-deprecating wit. The mobsters are so dumb, they are hysterical! The author, Karen Cantwell, even managed to make the ending full of suspense, terror, and mirth. I laughed my way to the end. Read it and you will, too!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    The title of this book caught my interest right away. I would not of readout though if I was not looking for a book with a weapon on it. It did grab my interest right away though. Barb, who's husband just left her, stumbles across some strange happens at the house next door. Yes it has to do with monkeys. She calls her ex boyfriend, also her husbands ex best friend. Barb and her friends , Roz and Peggy become the current day Charlie's Angels as they work together to solve this mystery. I love how Ba The title of this book caught my interest right away. I would not of readout though if I was not looking for a book with a weapon on it. It did grab my interest right away though. Barb, who's husband just left her, stumbles across some strange happens at the house next door. Yes it has to do with monkeys. She calls her ex boyfriend, also her husbands ex best friend. Barb and her friends , Roz and Peggy become the current day Charlie's Angels as they work together to solve this mystery. I love how Barbs mom keeps popping up. Lots of humor, twists and officer Brad. My complaint would e language , there isn't as much as it some books but I never think the use of the 'F' word improves anything. Books, conversations, etc

  23. 4 out of 5

    D.B. Henson

    I absolutely loved Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery). Barbara Marr is an average suburban soccer mom with three kids and a husband who has decided he "needs space". When five monkeys show up in the trees in Barbara's back yard, she decides to find out how they got there. When she makes a gruesome discovery in the basement of the vacant house next door, things really get interesting. Karen Cantwell's novel is one of the best comedic mysteries I've read. Her writing is flawle I absolutely loved Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery). Barbara Marr is an average suburban soccer mom with three kids and a husband who has decided he "needs space". When five monkeys show up in the trees in Barbara's back yard, she decides to find out how they got there. When she makes a gruesome discovery in the basement of the vacant house next door, things really get interesting. Karen Cantwell's novel is one of the best comedic mysteries I've read. Her writing is flawless and her heroine is quirky and endearing. I'm really looking forward to another Barbara Marr mystery.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Brink

    Karen Cantwell's "Take the Monkeys and Run" is a fast paced mystery with trigger happy dialogue that has a little to do with monkeys and a lot to do with the laugh-out-loud antics of one suburbanite soccer mom/obsessed movie buff, who finds her imagination running wild when monkeys and a human head are discovered at the house next door. With the help of some neighborhood friends and an old flame from college, she unravels layers of hilarity and insanity, as well as secrets her husband has been k Karen Cantwell's "Take the Monkeys and Run" is a fast paced mystery with trigger happy dialogue that has a little to do with monkeys and a lot to do with the laugh-out-loud antics of one suburbanite soccer mom/obsessed movie buff, who finds her imagination running wild when monkeys and a human head are discovered at the house next door. With the help of some neighborhood friends and an old flame from college, she unravels layers of hilarity and insanity, as well as secrets her husband has been keeping for their entire marriage. If you're in the dumps, this book will certainly brighten your day!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Peterson

    Sometimes I pick up a book on a whim not knowing anything about it. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't... this time it worked! And now I want to be author Karen Cantwells friend... She has a weirdly clever mind overflowing with humor which she seamlessly rolls into her writing whish reads as if you are sitting having an easy conversation. (My favorite kind of read.) Three times I had to stop because I couldn't see through tears of laughter. Obviously that earns this book a 5-star ratin Sometimes I pick up a book on a whim not knowing anything about it. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't... this time it worked! And now I want to be author Karen Cantwells friend... She has a weirdly clever mind overflowing with humor which she seamlessly rolls into her writing whish reads as if you are sitting having an easy conversation. (My favorite kind of read.) Three times I had to stop because I couldn't see through tears of laughter. Obviously that earns this book a 5-star rating.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Norma Huss

    A fast read; fun, surprising, mysterious (naturally, it's a mystery), and just a bit over the top. (My kind of read, really.) There's monkeys running amok, a bodyless head, threats, neighbors who won't say a word about that house that's stood vacant for years, except for the guy who mows the lawn. Kids that want to play with the monkeys, but that could be far too dangerous. Recommended for a day when things are getting you down and you want to escape.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. It looks like a fun read & I look forward to reading it when I receive it. March 2011 - I did really enjoy this book. Love her writing of the main character, especially when she has a scene with her mother. Just hilarious! The plot was a bit over the top, but enjoyable if a bit far-fetched. I will definitely read more of her work. I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. It looks like a fun read & I look forward to reading it when I receive it. March 2011 - I did really enjoy this book. Love her writing of the main character, especially when she has a scene with her mother. Just hilarious! The plot was a bit over the top, but enjoyable if a bit far-fetched. I will definitely read more of her work.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sibel Hodge

    Barbara Marr is in the midst of a marital crisis when she stumbles across an even bigger problem in the neighbourhood. This was a fun cozy mystery with light humor that added to the well written storyline. Can't wait for the next in the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Very cute, lots of fun. Quick, non-serious read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    In enjoyed this book it kept ed me interested through most of the book, it was hard to put down some of the time.

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