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Retirement Can Be Murder (A Jake Russo Mystery Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Phil Edwards
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When Jake Russo is transferred from a New York City beat to a Florida retirement community, his reporting life slows down. Instead of covering life in the big city, he's stuck writing puff pieces about bridge games and shuffleboard. His biggest challenge? Sticking to his diet.

That all changes when an older resident mysteriously dies on the beach. Jake has to figure out why and how she died. With the help of his bumbling octogenerian cameraman, Jake will have to overcome his lack of confidence and find the truth. He'll discover love, conspiracy, and surprising secrets in Florida's retirement communities.

Light as a day at the beach, this playful mystery is an early buffet of flirtation, intrigue, and senior citizens gone bad.

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

An Interview with Phil Edwards About the Book

This mystery takes a tongue in cheek look at senior communities near Sarasota. What inspired you to set a story there?

When I was a journalist (of a far inferior stripe to Jake), I had an interview subject launch into a soliloquy about his vacation home in Sarasota. I was hooked. The density of retirement homes nearby made it a great place to set a funny mystery. The dark side of senior living was the main draw, but since I was living in New Orleans when I wrote the book, I also knew what it meant to be hot all the time.

Jake is an insecure character. What parts of him do you see in yourself?

A lot. Jake is a more neurotic version of myself (and I haven't struggled with my weight like him- I think). But Jake's struggles with journalism mirrored my own- it's tough to be aggressive, to know if you're doing it right, and to know when to quit. I mined a lot of my own fears to describe his.

Mystery readers are usually meticulous ones. How did you research this book?

My focus in the book was to create a fun and memorable story, not a police procedural. There's a reason it doesn't focus on real estate law or autopsies. Readers should come in looking for a great time with new people- the mystery is just the thing that keeps you reading. That said, I did look at a lot of palm trees (which one character in the book is obsessed with).

What's next for Jake?

When they're done with this book, readers can follow Jake to New Orleans to see what happens in the restaurant world. Characters change, the plot thickens, and murder gets cooked up in Death By Gumbo. Or they can skip to Wisconsin and visit an old time radio show in Dead Air Can Kill You. If the "play's the thing," readers can try out The Show Must Go Wrong. Once they've done that, they can explore Hollywood in Lights! Camera! Murder!.

Fortunately, the books don't have to be read in order, though they can be. Each book works as part of a longer story or by itself.

About the Author

Phil Edwards has worked as a journalist, blogger, and grocery cart pusher. He can be found at, or on Twitter @PhilEdwardsInc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 597 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Harrison-Mills Media (January 31, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,515 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Sarasota: Fun Read March 8, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Murder in Sarasota (A Jake Russo Mystery) by Phil Edwards was a fun read. Jake Russo is sent down to Sarasota Florida to write for the local paper. He is sent to a senior living facility where he meets Charlotte. She enlists the help of Jake because she banned from playing bridge and someone is stalking her. The ending was pretty easy to figure out, but it didn't stop you from reading. I wanted to find out if I was right, and I was.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jake Russo, the Unlikely Hero April 2, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An old woman ends up dead on the beach in Florida. Did the bridge club do her in? Or was it eco-terrorists?

Jake Russo, a former fat guy consigned by the Times to the backwater of Sarasota to write fluff pieces, labors to solve the mystery with the help of his geriatric cameraman, Gary. Russo's the anti-hero of detective books: not too smooth with the ladies and not so great with his fists, either.

The relationship between the sometimes coherent Gary and the not always competent Jake makes for entertaining reading. These cats aren't exactly Holmes and Watson, but they'll do in a place like Sarasota.

It's a funny book--at times laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Strangely, for a novel that uses the name of the place in its title, Sarasota is not very present as a character in the book. How can one write about this area without one single mention of the fist-sized mosquitoes or the thumb-sized palmetto bugs or the church-on-every-corner zeitgeist?

I recommend this book to people who want to pass a pleasant weekend without hurting their heads. I'll definitely read the next Russo, but wouldn't consider MURDER IN SARASOTA a must-read.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Sarasota March 21, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very disappointed read. This book barely held my attention and was predictable from page 1. Luckily I was able to purchase this book for a very cheap price otherwise it would have been money thrown away....Unfortunately it was just a boring and tedious book. I did read from cover to cover hoping it would get better but it just stayed even keeled with no excitement.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It kept me reading, but... March 20, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read the whole book. So that's actually saying something. I didn't give up, I didn't quit. I kept reading and hoping it would get better. Another reviewer said it was a nice break from a James Patterson blood fest. Funny, but that's exactly why I picked this book up. But it just never got hold of me. It just never took off. It just sat there. The characters were poorly drawn and the scenes barely illuminated. I'm going back to the Women's Murder Club, and the Dean Man series. Jake Russo wasn't quite my cup o' tea.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jake is different March 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jake is definitely not your usual protagonist. Unsure of himself, but driven to find answers to questions other dismiss, he is a very likeable guy. Gary, his antiquated photographer sidekick adds significant comic relief. This was an enjoyable, light read.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's in a plot? Plenty! April 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The plot of Retirement Can Be Murder (A Jake Russo Mystery) is strong and the characters are realistic, for the most part. Unfortunately, for me, I figured out who the "bad guy" was before the middle of the book. In the beginning of the book, English was so badly used that I thought a couple of characters had foreign accents. Because I don't like to stop reading a book without finishing it, I continued. Some characters made great foils. The most enjoyable part of the book was character development. There is much better, low-priced, reading available for the Kindle. The author didn't do minimal research; Sarasots is not on the ocean side of Florida; it is one the Gulf.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing book April 22, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A who-dunnit that doesn't do it for me. Irritating characters like Gary and Thompson. They are the attempted humor, but instead you end up just disliking their stupidity. Stilted dialog and thoughts that try to be funny, but barely manages to bring a smile to your face. I figured out the plot about half way through, before the main character even had a clue that there really had been a murder (and I'm not really that good at figuring out plots). I realized before that why I disliked the book so much. Envision Jake Russo looking and talking like Woody Allen, and picture Mel looking like Diane Keaton, and there you have it. If you like Woody's movies, you'll like this book. If you can't stand him (like most normal people), then you'll hate this book. The only real surprise in the book was the hiding place (won't give it away for those of you who still want to read it), and what ended up being in there. Even the sexy neighbor wasn't a twist, just patently obvious. If I could have rated the book lower than 1, it would get a -2. As one of the characters keeps saying: Ech! I read it to the end, but it was excruciating, and then end didn't bring any relief.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written March 20, 2011
By Clewis
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Poorly written. Unengaging. The character struck me as a rather slow and dull character. Rarely have a I started a book that I could not finish, however I've yet to make it through this book. The plot itself wasn't too bad, but the characters were shallow, vague, irritating and unbelievable. I felt like I was on some sort of slow motion, confusion causing drug. I would have to be paid to read this book beginning to end. Definitely not worth paying for (as rude and harsh as this sounds).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Starts slowly, halfway through you cannot put it down ...
Starts slowly, halfway through you cannot put it down! A few stretches, but they can be ignored. A very enjoyable experience.
Published 2 months ago by Hal Pfingsten
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring. I never finished it
Boring. I never finished it.
Published 5 months ago by Mary Crosby
4.0 out of 5 stars Jake proves that old folks can solve crimes, too
This is a cute story; it is a little hard to follow at times, but I enjoyed it. It also drags in a few places. The book had nice humor in parts and romance scenes were done well. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cathy Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 months ago by austinsweetie389
5.0 out of 5 stars good
this is a well written book and has a great plot. it kept my interest the whole while i was reading this book.
Published 11 months ago by Mary
3.0 out of 5 stars easy read, appeared to be 1st book in series so felt good one to...
While not a nail biter, interesting enough to finish. Felt this being the 1st in a series good to learn the main characters. Anticipate next book will be better. I'll bite.
Published 11 months ago by Mark
3.0 out of 5 stars What can I say?
I'm amazed I actually finished it!
The characters were incredibly stupid and inept but the story was good! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jilmaye
3.0 out of 5 stars I can relate!
As a retiree living in a retirement community, the story line was not too far fetched. I would encourage you to read it if you don't have anything better to do.
Published 12 months ago by Loraine H. McKeever
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I love to read mysteries and this one is interesting. I believe that most readers who love mysteries will find this compelling to read to the last words.
Published 12 months ago by Patricia Eroh
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun...
Read this immediately after I retired. Had no idea what I would be doing with my time, so it was a delightful 'who dun it'. Fast, easy read. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Sooz
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More About the Author

Phil Edwards has worked as a journalist, blogger, and grocery cart pusher. He can be found at, or on Twitter @PhilEdwardsInc.

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