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Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill: A Novel Hardcover – June 3, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lyrical prose and Technicolor characters lift Kelby's amusing, unconventional mystery set at a gated Florida beach community plagued by murder and mayhem. The main responsibility of Brian Wilson, a security guard at Laguna Key who was kicked out of FBI training, is to protect the ethereal Sophie, blind daughter of his boss, Mr. Whit. Mr. Whit, who's buying up property to expand his small empire, is frustrated by the last holdout, ex–horror-film actress Danni Keene, owner of the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill, which has been repeatedly vandalized. Brian finds the first body, that of a homeless activist whose estranged brother, Sòlas Mackay, arrives with his traveling puppet circus and sets up camp in the Bad Girl's parking lot. Danni discovers the next, a Barry Manilow tribute artist and hit man she had hired to entertain customers. Sòlas, Danni, Brian and Sophie must battle marauding vultures, fierce weather, a devious ex-husband and the stun-gun–happy Mr. Whit. Along the way, Kelby (Whale Season) offers some unexpected wisdom. (June)
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From Booklist

Take a deep breath. Imagine a lighthearted mystery despite a fair number of corpses. It takes place in Laguna Key, in and around the bar and grill of the title. Danni, who runs the joint,  was once famous for her bloodcurdling scream in slasher movies. A circus comes to town, with the last member of the clan Macbeth and his beauteous, full-size puppets. He has vestigial wings. There’s Brian Wilson, a local, who hums a lot of Beach Boy tunes. There’s a dog that looks like Barry Manilow; a beautiful blind woman; an evil husband; a Buddhist jazz singer. And, of course, there’s a full palette of local color. The kaleidoscopic plot, such as it is, has to do with the development of lush Florida land and with familial ties gone bad. Following Whale Season (2006), this is Kelby’s second venture into the antic surreality that typifies a certain strain of the Florida crime novel, and she clearly has a flair for getting goofy in that Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey way. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (June 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307382079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307382078
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,205,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angy on August 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The jest of the book has been covered already in reviews, but I just wanted to give my take on it. I was officially sick of all the cozy mystery series that seem to have popped up lately so I grabbed this book on a whim. I ended up loving this book, cover to cover. Kelby's writing style reminds me of Christopher Moore (very quick wit and quirky)and her story lines are along the lines of Carl Hiaasen. She manages to make the wacky characters real without being cartoonish. Kelby even manages to give the vultures and shih tsu dog personalities. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zinc on March 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a very entertaining novel, filled with peculiar but likeable characters. Because they exist in what seems to be a very ordinary community makes them charmingly quirky; it kinds of makes you wonder what is "really" going on with your own neighbors. Although several reviewers have compared her writing to Hiaasen and others, be assured that Ms. Kelby has a writing style and narrative voice of her own, and she presents her cast of characters and their community in a fresh and very engaging way. The mystery involved in this book doesn't have a solution which is overly obvious, so by the time the last page of the book has ended the reader will feel that not only have they read a satisifying story, but also will admire the careful sleuthing the author creatively presented. This is another wonderful story told in the manner only Ms. Kelby can do. If you're reading this review, I encourage you read the book.
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By Mary P. Manilla on October 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love N.M. Kelby! I know she's won all sorts of awards and honors, but I love her because she's not only a great writer but has the most delightful, offbeat sense of humor and cockeyed look at this unbelievable society of offbeat and sometimes screwball characters...I say this with a certain sense of authority since I'm a committed bookaholic who still reads 4-6 books a week. But when I want to sit back with a warm, delightful friend with whom I can always share a few laughs, I go to my collection of N.M. Kelby novels. I even have an autographed copy of Whale Season!!!! (My absolute favorite)which if you haven't read, is an oversight you must correct. You owe it to yourself!...I am also proud of the fact that like Ms. Kelby I am a former journalist (NEWSDAY, cbs-tv new) now living in Sarasota. It is my dream that someday N.M. Kelby will have a book reading (in Sarasota or nearby) or a book signing and I can attend and thank her in person for brightening my life with her books. AND IF SHE DOES, FOR GOD'S SAKE WILL SOMEONE BE SURE TO TELL ME!!!! (Post it at the Selby Library because I go there once a week to stock up).
Mary Manilla
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By Debbie Seaman on December 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Kelby's books, and she is one of perhaps a handful of authors who can make me laugh out loud when I'm reading. This book is no exception.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kelli Sue Landon on November 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I had to stop reading this book in the middle somewhere between a ceremony with candles on the main character's head to when she stole hurricane shutters from an old lady's house. I must have missed the whole plot point, because it was going nowhere. I was not drawn in to the story and it had no flow to it whatsoever. It seemed to be going all over the place. I guess I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover or title, because that's why I bought the book in hardback at Barnes & Noble. A lesson learned.
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