Thursday, January 6, 2011

REVIEW - Take The Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell

I have been writing plays and short stories for many years, some of which were published in various college literary magazines. More recently, my short story "The Recollections of Rosabelle Raines," was published in the mystery anthology Chesapeake Crimes: They Had it Comin' available at

But I had always wanted to write a novel. I found that more difficult. Finally, a few years ago I became inspired to write my first novel, Take the Monkeys and Run, a comedy-mystery, inspired, to some degree by a true monkey sighting in my own neighborhood. Because I love to laugh as well as make other people laugh, I have the most fun imagineable writing the character Barbara Marr along with her friends and adversaries. When I set out to write this book, I knew I wanted to write something that readers would say, "Now that was FUN."
If you're looking for a fun, entertaining read then you really need to look no further than Take the Monkeys and Run. A die-hard mystery fan myself I wasn't sure I was going to like this. I'm normally pulled in by intrigue, suspense and thrillers that leave me on the edge of my seat or jumping when the house creaks or a dog howls. I read an excerpt from this book on twitter's samplesunday and was immediately captivated by an amazing character that I had to know more about. I totally emphasized with Barbara Marr and could relate not only to her situation, but her quirky sense of humor in dealing with it. Add to that mix two best friends trying to keep her out of trouble (I have those types of friends too), but instead find themselves pulled into the mystery and you have what I suspect is rural living in America. At least where I grew up.

Most of you who have read my reviews know I don't review on book sites like Amazon or B & N and you know my reasons for that. One it isn't allowed (although not everyone adheres to that) and two it's impossible for those reading a review to know if the authors are associated, personal friends, etcetera.

I've met Ms. Cantwell on Indie boards, Kindle Boards, Twitter and Facebook. I don’t personally know her, and the review below is my personal opinion on her book, not her personally. I am not a professional reviewer, but a reader who knows what she likes and what she doesn't. So let's get to it.

Overall Book - 5 stars

For a book to be entertaining it has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Ms. Cantwell has written a book that in my personal opinion exceeds those limits. You're immediately drawn into a story with an entertaining character and a mystery to solve, an enjoyable journey as you follow Barb, Peggy and Roz attempting to solve the mystery, and an ending that resolves those issues. The book was well written and well formatted--although I did find two typos therein. I probably found these only because I'm a professional proof reader. They did nothing to detract from the story and I've found many more in traditionally published books. Therefore I'm still giving Ms. Cantwell a 5 for the overall book.

Chacterization - 5 stars

Ms. Cantwell's characters are well developed and compliment each other. Peggy and Roz are truly women I can relate to knowing. And Barb Marr - while perhaps not your typical female, I'll bet there's a lot of men and women out there that could relate to her personality with the comment "I know somebody just like that". Which is one of the things that makes this book so entertaining. It's not just for women. I bet there are a lot of male readers out there who would love it. I know Coby thinks I'm as dingy as Barb when I'm out traipsing through graveyards or old abandoned buildings. Thank God I haven't run across any monkeys in my travels - although perhaps a few ghostly entities.

Plot - 5 stars

Combine a rural housewife, two nosey friends, an abandoned house with late night visits and you have a "I need to know" story developing. Mix that with someone yelling "No Toes" and well, you've got to know who, what, where and when as well as why. Mix in a handsome ex-boyfriend now turned private investigator, a husband not playing to form, and monkeys in the trees along with neighbors who suddenly slam doors in your face and you have an excellent plot.

It isn't often that I can't find something negative to say about a book. Heck, I can even find a few negatives about my own books, but it was difficult to find anything negative to say about Take the Monkeys and Run. There was a point where Barb's quirkiness got on my nerves just a little bit, but not so much that I didn't want to keep reading.

The next time you're looking for a fun, entertaining book for a quiet evening at home I hope you'll check out Take the Monkeys and Run. Read the sample like I did, or take my word for it and click the link below. I don't think you're going to be disappointed.

Kindle Edition - Still $.99


  1. What a great review! Ever since I read an excerpt of Take the Monkeys and Run, I've been wanting to read this. I'm definitely going to buy this today (as soon as my Kindle recharges).

  2. Edie, I think you'll love it. I bought it before it was .99 I think, but I would definitely have given more for it than that.

  3. Barbara Marr is a really funny character. She has her hands full managing her family and crime solving, but she finds a way, despite getting herself into some big trouble.