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Take the Monkeys and Run (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Karen Cantwell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (657 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“This fun if light novel’s quippy, hilarious narrator, Barbara Marr, has so much warmth and genuine gumption, you’d certainly want her on your criminal investigative team.” – Publishers Weekly

Semi-Finalist, 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest
"Barbara Marr is...perhaps the most hilarious amateur sleuth in literature....Cantwell handles her characters with flair and pizazz...blending page-turning action with those little tender moments that get you right in the gut..."

Book 1 in the bestselling Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series

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.

237 pages of laugh-out-loud fun.

“The story is fast-paced, fun and with quite a few twists all rolled into one cute adventure.” – Socrate’s Book Reviews

“It was just plain fun to read.” Red Adept Reviews

"Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell could easily become one of my favorite books of all time." -- Syria Says

“If you like a good mystery but want a refreshing new take with a bit of light fare, enough to make you laugh out loud, then Karen Cantwell's Take the Monkeys and Run will take you there.” Reviewed by Lee Libro at Literary Magic
Books in the series: Take the Monkeys and Run (#1), Citizen Insane (#2), Silenced by the Yams (#3), Saturday Night Cleaver (#4)

Books In This Series (5 Books)
Complete Series

  • Editorial Reviews

    About the Author

    Karen Cantwell lives in the wild and crazy suburbs of Northern Virginia. She has no hobbies, she can't cook or sew, she's terrible at crossword puzzles, and she can kill a houseplant in a week without breaking a sweat. Luckily, Karen can string a few words together and has a knack for making people laugh, so she chose to write humorous mysteries for a living. The Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, Take the Monkeys and Run, is her first novel, and she's thankful that people enjoyed it enough to warrant writing a second. Karen loves to hear from readers. Visit for her email address and to learn about all of her books and stories.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 511 KB
    • Print Length: 198 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B003SE7O40
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,714 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    102 of 103 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, implausible, but believable - with monkeys August 17, 2010
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    A soccer mom with three children and a just-moved-out spouse discovers monkeys in her yard, a head in unpleasant condition in the house next door, and more excitement that a soccer mom in a pleasant neighborhood should expect. There's an ex-boyfriend PI, a policeman who looks like Brad Pitt, and a really obnoxious mother. Oh, and the mafia might be involved. And somehow, it kind of makes sense.

    This was very entertaining and a quick read. I really liked Barb, and I hope to read more about her and her adventures.
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    66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Soccer Mom Goes Sleuthing June 23, 2010
    Format:Kindle Edition
    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. Bravo! I enjoyed every minute & recommend it with enthusiasm.
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    90 of 97 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars Not really that funny. January 2, 2013
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    I have read the reviews here and almost all of them say improbable, over the top etc. Since Janet Evanovich came out with Stephanie Plum we have been hit with a plethora of women getting involved with crime and blindly rushing into trouble no matter who they put in danger. The first few Plum novels were funny. After a while they became redundant. How many times can your apartment, car etc. get blown up and your gun toting Grandma get you in trouble at funeral homes? Now we have Barbara Marr. A fleece wearing suburban housewife with 3 kids. Married 17 years to the same man, she has no clue what the man does for a living!!!!!!!!!! Stumbling around in the middle of the night without a coat or shoes to see what is happening at the abandoned house next door. Since her husband left there is no one in the house with the 3 kids. Okay!!! What is wrong with this picture? As things go from bad to worse, she again leaves her kids in a hotel room and blindly rushes off to chase bad guys. How is this funny? She comes off as sarcastic and stupid at the times she should be trying to fix the mess she made. Then in the middle of a gun battle she zones out and starts thinking about how sexy her husband is instead of trying to look for a way out of the trouble. I'm sorry, I did not laugh out loud even once. All I could think of was there are several more books about this idiot. If you are looking for one more book in the overkill of books about stupid women doing stupid things, then this is the series for you.
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    51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars FUN, and funny June 22, 2010
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    This is a great little mystery with high hilarity. Yes, there are a number of improbable scenes, a couple that are Impossible-Over-The-Top, but it's all in good fun and keeps the pages turning. It was nice to read about a 45 year-old-heroine who had a lot of life and love left in her, with perhaps too great a sense of adventure and not enough sense to stay out of trouble. Karen Cantwell takes soccer mom to a whole new level. I really enjoyed the romantic aspects of this novel; they fit in seamlessly and were as much a mystery as the mystery! If you need an escape or a great beach read, this might very well be it. Highly recommended!
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    48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing June 3, 2011
    By Peri
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    This book had some potential and I think the author has some writing talent (not always present in current "idiot female detectives who won't share any information" books), but the plot was very thin, obviously linked to "True Lies" with the gorgeous man, etc., and a second half of the book almost all revolving around a completely ludicrous mafia tale. Ay yi yi. I was hoping for so much more. She had a catchy and quick beginning - I would like to see her dump this unattractive, self-centered and stupid heroine, and try a newer type of character. I also join those who don't see why the obscenities were there - not needed in this book (though sometimes they fit the plot).
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    25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars So 'light', it practically floats away. September 25, 2011
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    If you're looking for a quick, light read, this book is a good candidate.

    Personally, I like cozy mysteries where the protagonist actually shows some intelligence. The heroine of this book does not qualify. She doesn't 'solve' anything, she simply stumbles into the answers. She actually has no idea of what's going on until the 'evil villain' captures her and - surprise!! - lays out the whole nefarious plot.

    The fact that she's been married for 17 years and doesn't even know what her husband does for a living strains credulity a bit too far.
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    21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Comedic Mystery September 27, 2010
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    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.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, with a suspenceful story!
    This was a good read! Some LOL parts, which I really like. And some fun characters.
    Published 19 hours ago by Amazon Customer
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    Plot wanders around too much and was not believable.
    Published 4 days ago by Patricia Gates
    3.0 out of 5 stars Take the monkeys and run
    I mostly enjoyed this book. I can relate to Barb, she is getting older, has kids and a husband, is a little quippy and mouths off too much for her own good. Read more
    Published 5 days ago by Carrie Garner
    5.0 out of 5 stars Take th he Monkeys and Run
    Th his was a short story. Barbara was great always getting deeper in trouble at every turn. She sounds like the a sexy soccer mom who happens to not know when to back off when told... Read more
    Published 7 days ago by Tim Burke
    5.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking adventure
    I actually laughed out loud while reading this book. A fun and funny adventure that drew me in and made me wish I were a part of it all.
    Published 8 days ago by maryellen
    4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully entertaining
    Fast paced, amusing believable plot. Would be a great screenplay. This book is a read from beginning to end without putting down quality. Thoroughly entertaining.
    Published 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
    4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, wick pace mystery
    It was a slow start for me as the author set up the situation. Once I got through the opening information sequence I did not want to put the book down. Read more
    Published 11 days ago by BB
    3.0 out of 5 stars Lighter than usual mystery about suburbia. Some interesting twists ...
    Lighter than usual mystery about suburbia. Some interesting twists and turns in the plot that made it interesting and a tone to the writing that makes the story go fast.
    Published 13 days ago by B. Morris
    5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
    A great murder mystery story that is very entertaining to read. Lots of twists and turns. It makes a great rainy day read.
    Published 21 days ago by Dugan
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Published 23 days ago by dorothy l peters
    Search Customer Reviews

    More About the Author


    I'm so glad and honored that you have visited my author page.

    I have been writing plays and short stories for many years, some of which are published in short story collections.

    My first novel, TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN, is 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 great fun writing the characters Barbara Marr, her friends and her adversaries. When I set out to write this book, I knew I wanted to write something that readers would say, "Now that was FUN." I HOPE I have achieved that goal. And if I did, please feel free to drop me a line at and let me know! I love to hear from readers. (especially if they LIKE the book!)

    Books in the Barbara Marr series are: TAKE THE MONKEYS AND RUN (#1), CITIZEN INSANE (#2), AND SILENCED BY THE YAMS (#3), and SATURDAY NIGHT CLEAVER (#4). The fifth book, DEAD MAN STALKING, will be released September of 2014. You can also enjoy a Barbara Marr short story collection, THE CHRONICLES OF MARR-NIA, as well two holiday short stories, IT'S A DUNDER-BULL WIFE and BJORN!ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. All are available on Amazon for Kindle.

    Again, thank you for stopping by!


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