Karen Cantwell's humorous mystery novel, Take the Monkeys and Run, is an entertaining and quick read, despite some slightly implausible plot twists. Her main character, the nosy, quirky Barbara Marr, is the kind of woman I'd like to be friends with: inquisitive and intelligent. The description of Barbara's mother was fantastic.
At the beginning of the novel, Barbara Marr’s husband has left the family home, telling Barbara that he needs some space. Barbara, who was unaware that their marriage was anything other than perfect, is confused and heartbroken. Seeking distraction from her unhappy situation, Barbara turns her attention to the house next door, an unoccupied building that has an unfriendly caretaker and mysterious late-night visitors. When the monkeys appear in Barbara’s trees, her curiosity leads her to find something she shouldn’t have.
Despite a few details that made it necessary to suspend disbelief, the exciting plot full of twists made this book a real page-turner.
In general, Ms. Cantwell’s female characters feel a lot more fleshed out than her male characters. She takes the time to give her women habits and ticks that seem real. For the most part though, the men seem straight out of central casting -- George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tom Selleck.
I believe Karen Cantwell intends to write additional books featuring this character. I look forward to reading another Barbara Marr mystery in the future.
Susan Wells Bennett
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