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Nikki Bryant #1

Killer Deadline

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Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes.

197 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 23, 2020

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About the author

Lauren Carr

56 books365 followers
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 56 reviews
Profile Image for SA Krishnan.
Author 35 books152 followers
September 28, 2020
Enjoyable cosy mystery

Nikki’s story starts as she was returning home to take over the TV station after her mother decides to retire. There, Ashleigh Addison who is a cool on air personality and Nikki’s childhood nemesis, ends up dead. Just before her death, Ashleigh was to report a secret incident.
The mystery gets better because Ashleigh’s murder is connected to Nikki’s father’s death, which had occurred many years back.
The cutest character in the story is Elmo, the dog who is an internet phenomenon.
The mystery had interesting twists and turns and was enjoyable. Liked it.
Profile Image for Sherry Fundin.
1,764 reviews117 followers
May 15, 2020
With the fun cover for Killer Deadline by Lauren Carr, I was pretty sure I would have some laughs with my mystery, and she did not fail to deliver.

Nikki had left home to go to college and study journalism and never came back. It has been twenty years, and she has come back to run the TV station her family owns…and see if HE is still available.

Also, Her father’s murder has never been solved and she is on the case.

It wouldn’t be a Lauren Carr novel without a dog, and Elmo is a perfect fit. He is a social icon,a party animal, a ham. He loves to have his photo taken and has a huge following through his social media. I love this touch. So real.

Nikki is an investigative journalist. She doesn’t waste time with make up and dressing up, doesn’t care about shopping, and loves to sit down and read a good mystery. I can relate to her easily and that makes for better reading.

Trudy, the cook at the family B&B, is a real hoot and plans on fattening her up.

Ashleigh Addison was a high school rival and nothing seems to have changed about that.

AND, now we come to Ryan, who has definitely changed from the skinny, glass wearing high school nerd she had always had a crush on. He’s filled out from the military and Elmo immediately fell in love with him. It’s always been a bit creepy…considering he is her step brother. BUT, WAIT, they are not related other than through marriage, so not so creepy…right?

And, who is NerdyGuy that she has been ‘talking’ to over the internet. Even though it was easy to figure out, I loved it.

Do you need some household chores done? Elmo’s your guy. I thought his antics were hilarious and different from the normal critter antics I’ve read in novels. So much fun.

AND what are those hairless things? Will Elmo ever win them over and become friends?

Lunch at the gazebo…it’s these kind of moments that add those laughs I look for, especially in a cozy mystery.

I have read many of Lauren Carr’s novels and always prefer walking on the dark side, but I couldn’t resist that cover and laughing at the critter’s antics while walking down one misleading path after another searching for the answer.

I voluntarily reviewed and ARC of Killer Deadline by Lauren Carr.

See more at fundinmental
Profile Image for Jodie (GeauxGetLit).
556 reviews71 followers
October 12, 2022
This is my first Lauren Carr book, but it will not be my last as she has written a whip smart savvy and sassy female investigator in Nikki Bryant.

Nikki Bryant, investigative journalist and known to be a trouble magnet, and her dog, Elmo, whom is an online celebrity that gets recognized everywhere they go, is heading back to her hometown to possibly rekindle an old romance and take over the family business.

Naturally, as soon as Nikki arrives, she finds her old rival and current stations anchor dead. She reported she had new information on case and Nikki’s father was a cold case that Nikki planned to investigate further.

Will she be able to finally uncover her father’s killer and possibly her old rivals if they were linked somehow?

I really enjoyed this cozy mystery as I felt connected to the characters and it didn’t feel false like so many other cozies can be. Plus the narration on this book was great and was easily followed. I can’t wait to read book two, as we will follow Nikki, Elmo and hopefully her new love.

Thank you Ireads book tour for the complimentary audiobook. All thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Jypsy .
1,523 reviews74 followers
May 25, 2020
Thank you Iread Book Tours for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Killer Deadline
A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery
By: Lauren Carr

Lauren Carr is an author I serendipitously found one day. Since then, I have had the good fortune to read a numerous number of her works. Each one has its own merits to recommend it as a favorite, and Killer Deadline is a wonderful new addition to this ever growing list. Killer Deadline differs in that it is a cozy mystery, and the lead investigator is female. Meet Nikki Bryant-a sassy, tough, smart investigative journalist with a trouble magnet attached at all times. She and her dog, Elmo, the internet darling with an insane number of followers, return to Pine Grove, PA with the intention of rekindling an old flame. The more important aspect, however, is Nikki's running of the family business, a television station, once her mother retires. Nikki's father was murdered here long ago and is now a cold case. She has been gone from this town for nigh on twenty or so years. No sooner has Nikki rolled into town than trouble comes calling. Nikki happens to discover the body of Ashleigh Addison, her former high school rival and news anchor with her family's station, who had a potentially significant story about to break. Now, the questions rain down about what Ashleigh was investigating and if it's somehow tied to the murder of Nikki's father. While the old flame flickers in the background, Nikki uses her investigative skills and attempts to follow the trail of clues to Addison's killer and possibly gain insight into her father's death. Will Nikki solve either murder, or both, or none? This story is a wonderful reading experience. Cozy mysteries are often on the cheesy side, but Killer Deadline has the ideal balance of serious and light hearted. The story moves at a quick but steady pace that engages the reader continuously without overwhelming with too much information. Dialogue is witty and concise, and the narrative is succinctly focused on the story at hand without fluff and filler. Nikki is the perfect female lead because she's not perfect. Her characterization is warm, genuine and relatable with a hard working take no prisoners attitude. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nikki's story, and I encourage you to read this book as well. I'm looking forward to whatever is next for Nikki and Elmo!
Profile Image for Laurel-Rain.
Author 6 books228 followers
June 18, 2022
Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist.

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life—the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder.

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father?

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer—no matter what it takes.

My Thoughts: From the very first page of Killer Deadline, I was engrossed in Nikki Bryant’s return home to Pine Grove, where she could reconnect with her long-ago love interest Ryan…and take over the television studio run by her mother before retirement.

Right away, we are thrust into trying to find who had killed Ross, Nikki’s father, many years before. Since it had happened at the TV station, there were a number of suspects there, but none of them had been considered in the original investigations.

As Nikki and others uncover clues, we get to watch the delightful antics of Nikki’s dog Elmo, an intriguing boxer that has his own social media following. Each clue kept us turning the pages until we had all the answers…and Elmo even helped in the capture of the killer. A five star read.
Profile Image for Marilyn Wilson.
Author 3 books53 followers
April 19, 2020
I am a huge fan of author Lauren Carr's books, but have often wondered why she has never had a female lead character. That's all behind me now as Carr just launched a brand new series whose main character is none other than Nikki Bryant, a smart, intelligent world class investigative journalist. YES!

When her mother decides to retire, Nikki returns home to take over running the family TV station. Soon after she arrives, Ashleigh, her childhood nemesis who is an on air personality at the station, announces she'll be breaking a major new story. Could it be the answer to who killed Nikki's father many years ago? Unfortunately, before Nikki can find out, Ashleigh is murdered. Here we go!

Carr is a master storyteller who always offers a plot full of twists and turns, a bit of humor to offset the dark, and a unique cast of characters. In Killer Deadline that cast includes - handsome Ryan, her first love (who is now her step-brother); a mysterious social media friend called Nerdy Guy; Elmo, a super smart dog, a boxer, she rescued who has become a social media star and has a penchant for cleaning; a TV station full of suspicious employees; and more.

This book is a wonderful read to pick up at the end of a long day. It truly is a "cozy murder mystery." I promise, it'll draw you in right from page one and keep you turning the pages until you reach the very last page. I can't wait for the second book in this series.
Profile Image for LAWonder10.
951 reviews738 followers
April 22, 2020
Lauren Carr has created another humorous, exciting series!
'Killer Deadline' is a "deadly serious" story about Nikki, and
her recent acquired celebrity dog, leaving a lucrative career
in a big city to return to her small home town to take over
the news station that is family owned. She is anxious
in returning to not only some unpleasant memories, but to
the "one who got away" to discover if there is still a chance
for them...

Of course, the author has included another lovable dog
with a unique and peculiar personality, along with the
usual touch of humor. The reader is always in suspense
to the end of this author's books to discover, "Who Did It?".

This new series did not disappoint me. I enjoyed the
new characters and the fast-moving story-line. The scenes
were vividly described and the reader can easily connect to
the emotions and events.

*This was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Laura Thomas.
1,311 reviews78 followers
May 15, 2020
I’ve read and loved a bunch of Lauren’s books and was excited to get my hands on this cozy mystery. I know she can bring her characters to life. I know she can sprinkle some fun romance along with those characters. I know she can give the critters in her stories as much of a role as her human ones. And I know she can give me a cast of characters to keep me on my toes and a mystery that keeps me clueless. And now she’s going to do all that with a cozy mystery series!

Nikki returns to her small home town in Pennsylvania to take over the family news station now that her mother is retiring. Her skills as an investigative reporter will come in handy as she steps into her new role. What won’t be so easy is facing the one she let get away, a nemesis with a grudge and the cold case murder of her father many years ago.

Like with most of her books, Lauren doesn’t give you just one mystery to solve, she gives you several. I had an idea who did the first murder but was caught completely by surprise when her father’s killer was revealed. Then there’s nerdyguy, someone Nikki befriended on the internet. I figured out who he was and what he was up to fairly early on and couldn’t wait to see Nikki’s reaction when she finally figured it out too.

And as with her other books, Lauren brings in a nonhuman character that easily challenges the human characters for the spotlight. Elmo, Nikki’s boxer, is famous. Everyone wants their picture taken with him. He does these incredible things. And you don’t even have to ask him. I easily pictured Elmo making the bed and loading the dishwasher. Gotta love a dog that enjoys doing housework.

From first sentence to last, I had a blast with Killer Deadline and I am excited for more in this series.

I received a complimentary copy. My review is voluntarily given.
Profile Image for Kristine Hall.
821 reviews42 followers
October 9, 2020
4.5 STARS. Audio Book Review: KILLER DEADLINE is a quick-hit cozy mystery, clocking in at just six and a half hours of listening. The short length, along with the super-cute cover and that it is written by Lauren Carr, made it a perfect choice for me in a time when I’m craving the escape of an entertaining story but don’t have a lot of time for one. When there’s precious little time to dedicate to reading for pleasure, I know that I can choose one of Carr’s books (I’ve read a bunch) and feel confident I’ll be thoroughly entertained.

For those readers not familiar with Lauren Carr’s books, know that KILLER DEADLINE is the first in a new series of cozy mysteries, and it’s lighter fare than Carr’s other books. That’s not to say that it’s not entertaining or that anything is lacking. It is, and there’s not! There is of course a well plotted mystery or two, a strong and intelligent female, quirky secondary characters, a little romance, and a lot of laughs, often via a four-legged character. In KILLER DEADLINE, readers get all of the things Carr does well but in smaller doses than her usual mystery novels.

“If anyone had told me five years ago that I’d be human to a canine social media influencer, I would have told them that the world would have to go mad first. Little did I know…”

Meet Elmo, the celebrity boxer. Elmo is a remarkably talented and intelligent pup, and while he’s a happy helper to his mistress, help’s only going to happen if she’s polite about her requests. Elmo’s character and antics are a delightful counter to the more intense business of solving murders and for main character, Nikki, avoiding being a victim.

“Kristine exuded an air of flawless confidence.”

I have absolutely no reason for including this irrelevant-to-anything quote, but I don’t often hear or read my name in a book, and I most certainly haven’t heard that said about me, so I am including it because it made me giggle. (And though my guess is that in print, it’s actually “Christine” with a “C,” I’m taking this as a win.) Another random tidbit was the setting of the story is in a small town near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and I lived in a small town not far from Latrobe, Pennsylvania for about seven years. It was awesome to return there via KILLER DEADLINE and visualize my town as the fictitious Pine Grove, PA. Carr's descriptions are top-notch.

I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this cozy mystery series, and I very much hope that Anita Alger returns to narrate. All the other books I’ve listened to have been narrated by Mike Alger (I imagine there’s a relation there), and it was a nice change of pace, especially given our main character is female. Anita’s performance of the various characters was outstanding, and other than a few unnaturally long pauses between sections/transitions, she did a great job. Her pace was just a little slow at regular speed, but it was a little too fast at 1.25x, but I settled on the latter because I am impatient and want the story faster.

Thank you to iRead Book Tours and the author for providing me an audio code in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. This full review and more special features on Hall Ways Blog.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
948 reviews81 followers
April 24, 2020
Killer Deadline is the first book in the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery series. It follows investigative journalist Nikki Bryant as she leaves behind everything in Nevada to return to her childhood home in small-town Pennsylvania. Her mother is retiring from her job at the local news station, and Nikki is now in charge. Years before, her father, who owned the station, was murdered, but his case was never solved. Now that Nikki's back, she's determined to find out who killed her dad...before she becomes the next victim.
This is a fun little cozy mystery that I rather enjoyed. It's set in PA, which is where I live, so that's a plus. I love books set in my home state. Especially when they're small towns, since I grew up in one. And the mention of Latrobe made me excited, since I grew up about 20-30 minutes from that area.
I really liked Nikki. She was a tough cookie who didn't let anything get in her way of uncovering the mystery behind her father's death, or the mystery of another murder that happens the day after she arrives home. And her dog Elmo is pretty great too. As someone who used to have a Boxer dog, I have to agree that they are a bit ugly, but in a cute way that makes you want to squish their faces and shower them with love. This was my Brutus:


Anyway, back on track. While Nikki is pretty keen on unearthing clues and putting things together when it comes to the murder cases, the one thing she's a bit naive on is the identity of her mystery texter, NerdyGuy. I was surprised it took her as long as it did to figure out who it was.
The other characters scattered throughout the book are well-written, and they all have suspicions cast upon them as things start to unfold.
The mystery itself will keep you guessing, and while it was a little surprising to discover the person and their reason behind Nikki's dad's murder, the person who committed the other murder wasn't as shocking. I suspected them almost immediately, and then I had a few doubts, but I was almost positive they were behind it all. And I was right!
Fans of cozy mysteries will definitely want to give Killer Deadline a shot (pun intended), because it's fun, it's engaging, and it keeps you on your toes. I know I'll be continuing with the series. Can't wait to see what Nikki might have to investigate next!
4 stars!
483 reviews10 followers
April 20, 2020
I love the way that Lauren Carr writes and she does not disappoint, this book is a huge treat! I loved our strong, independent characters, the plot that was true to her style of writing and full of twists – the novel is fantastic from start to finish.

Nikki is incredible – brave, confident and strong. She is not afraid to say how she feels and go after what she wants (except for maybe that lost love of hers). She lost her Father many years ago and the murder had gone unsolved, something that she intends to change once she gets a tip from a frenemy (who she also later discovers dead!). This sets her off on a very dangerous path of lies and betrayal and a discovery in the death of her Father, while reuniting her with a lost love, her hometown and those who she thought loved her family.

There is an excellent blend of mystery and suspense with comic relief and romance throughout novel. Lauren has a great way of balancing this without taking away from the story. We have well developed characters, that you can’t help but feel a connection to. I loved Nikki’s character but also her connections to her hometown, her family and her lost love. We learn about so much history in this small town and how this ends up being connected to several murders. I loved the way the story unfolds, it kept me on my toes and constantly guessing on who actually committed the murder of her Father so many years ago. I definitely did not see the end coming!

Killer Deadline is a fantastic read from start to finish – you will love the plot and characters. A definite must read.
Profile Image for Connie Saunders.
1,355 reviews91 followers
August 17, 2022
I've learned that seeing this author's name on the cover of a book guarantees a story filled with clues, twists and turns, and surprise endings. A mystery lover's dream and this book definitely fits this description! Killer Deadline introduces Nikki Bryant, her stepbrother Ryan Spaulding, and Elmo, one of the cutest and smartest dogs ever! He is in fact a social media influencer and also very accomplished in doing household chores. Elmo is definitely a major character in this book!

Nikki's return to PIne Grove, Pennsylvania is full of surprises, including becoming involved in several different death investigations. There are multiple clues. multiple suspects, and the possibility of multiple murders, and I found myself going back to check the possibilities. Were there different perpetrators or could one person be responsible? There's also a reunion with her one-time crush. Working with Ryan proves that they make a good team, but it appears that there may be more to their relationship than solving mysteries. Never fear, this is a clean romance, and they aren't truly related!

If you enjoy intriguing characters, a small-town setting, and a second-chance romance, you are going to love this cozy mystery by Lauren Carr! It's the first book in the Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery Series and I can't wait to read Nikki's next adventure!

I received a copy of this book from the author via iRead Book Tours. There was no obligation for a positive review.
Profile Image for Kayla.
773 reviews36 followers
October 17, 2020
What a super fun cozy mystery! This story had me hooked from the beginning. I mean, the story opened with a murder - who wouldn't want to know what happened? I enjoyed the addition of Elmo to the story. I had my suspicions who NerdyBoy was and I was correct! The murderers had me guessing until everything started coming together and I was like 'AH'. An entertaining weekend read!

The only recommendation I have is formatting for Kindle. The paragraph breaks were misleading so page counts/percentage read were off.

Thank you to the author for my review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Profile Image for Melyssa.
294 reviews22 followers
September 23, 2020
Read all of my reviews at bit.ly/PageBedtime

Killer Deadline by Lauren Carr is a fictional cozy mystery novel that centers around Nikki Bryant and her return to her small hometown of Pine Grove to take over management of the family's TV news station. When Nikki was a child, her father was murdered in his office at the news station. This event played a part in her career as an investigative journalist. When she returns home to take over the business from her mother, one of her employees is mysteriously killed. In trying to follow the clues of the present-day murder mystery, Nikki begins to uncover what might have happened to her father all those years ago.

The book includes a cast of some eccentric characters living in the charming town of Pine Grove. Carr creates a vivid community that brings all the characters to life, not just the primary ones. While it may seem difficult to keep up with who's who, the author provides a nice list and description at the start of the novel. I'd have to say my favorite character was Nikki's sidekick, her Boxer dog, Elmo.

At just over 200 pages, this book an engaging and quick read. Carr's writing style definitely keeps the reader turning the pages to learn the ultimate conclusion of the mystery. This book can easily be read over a long weekend or perhaps a quick road trip. It has just the right balance of elements: humor, romance, suspense and a tidy resolution.

Recommendation: If you are a fan of cozies, enjoy good, clean reading, and a strong female lead, this is just the book for you. Pick up a copy and escape reality for a few hours.

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Read all of my reviews at bit.ly/PageBedtime
Profile Image for Casia Pickering.
Author 19 books58 followers
October 2, 2022
Killer Deadline is the first book in a cozy mystery series by Laura Carr featuring an investigative reporter, her social media influencer dog, and a crime scene investigator. I listened to this audiobook for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Before I get into the book's details and audio aspects, I should first explain what a cozy mystery is. If you already know what a cozy is, move on to the next paragraph. Everyone else, hello. A cozy mystery is a sub-genre to the mystery genre umbrella. Every cozy has these aspects: a town of interesting characters, the main character is a novice investigator, and there is generally a light feel to the mystery itself. Not that the crimes are light, but the writing has a light feel. Imagine a Hallmark mystery movie. If you see this mystery as a Hallmark movie, it's more likely a cozy. You can enjoy your pumpkin spice latte under a blanket while listening to the rain and not go through an anxiety attack.

Killer Deadline's narrative is fairly light. I can see myself enjoying the story under my blanket while the rain is patting on the roof above. I can even see this book as a made-for-TV movie. But would I consider it cozy? Not really. At least not when you look at the characters and setting. The main lead isn't a novice investigator. She has a career as an investigative reporter and knows what she's doing. Nikki Bryant is a professional. As for the setting, it feels like a normal mystery setting. Sure, it's a small town in Pennsylvania, but it seems to have a certain level of prestige that separates it from the small town ma and pa setting you generally see in other cozies.

That said, it was the first thing that crossed my mind while listening to the book. If I were to label it, I would put it in the sweet spot between cozy and regular mystery. That space doesn't have a name, and I won't try to give it one, but that's where I'd put this book. You get a mystery with professionals but in a more cozy-like narrative. Which is great.

Carr's writing is easy to get into. I like the characters, and I was pulled into the mystery. Sure, there were times I wanted to yell at Nikki, but I liked her as a character. She's impulsive, intelligent, and takes charge. She just doesn't think all the time. Enter our love interest Ryan, and you have a dynamic duo. Honestly, the two of them worked great with each other and had good chemistry. There's a scene in the climax where Ryan recalls an event when they were teenagers. If Carr were to write that into its own series, I think it would be awesome.

I did find the pacing to be a little off. There wasn't much suspense which made the story quick. There were moments in the book where I had to suspend disbelief when revelations were made. But I chalked all this up as what I like to call "first book nerves," where the first book is more as a setup for the main characters and the setting, not the mystery.

All in all, I found the book enjoyable.
Profile Image for Angel Martin.
437 reviews13 followers
May 20, 2020
I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. The cover threw me off at first, but the blurb had me hooked immediately. In this case, I'm glad I ignored the fact that the cover doesn't look like something I'd enjoy. The book was the perfect mix of mystery and humor.

With most murder mysteries, it's quite easy to guess the killer. However, with this book, I couldn't figure it out no matter how hard I tried. It got even more difficult when a second murder was revealed, and through most of the book, I found myself attempting to connect them along with the characters. When the true murderer was revealed, I was completely shocked.

Besides the murders, the book also focused on Nikki's crush on her stepbrother, Ryan. This was a bit odd to me at first, but after a while, I began to warm up to the whole idea. By the end of the book, I still hadn't figured out how I truly felt about their relationship.

The book also brings up Nikki's online friendship with a stranger under the name "NerdyGuy." This storyline has some stalker-type vibes, and I was expecting another murder at some point, or at the very least an attack. About halfway through I began to notice a few clues to lead me to the true identity of her friend, but again, by the time it was truly revealed, I was a little shocked.

I actually really liked almost every character. Some of them were amazing. Others, however, were annoying and obnoxious, but since it helped add to the story and move it along, I ultimately loved them as well. Lauren Carr did a wonderful job at creating their personalities.

One of the best parts about this book was the dog, Elmo. He was a boxer who was trained to quite literally do almost anything a human can do. While the main focus was on the murders and relationships, in the background, Elmo would just go about cleaning everything up. In addition to housekeeping, he's also really good at catching murderers and humiliating them.

If you like purely clean mysteries with a mix of romance, I'd absolutely suggest you read this book. The only thing stopping me from rating it with five stars is the confusion with Nikki's relationship with Ryan. Otherwise, the characters were lovable - or at the very least amusingly obnoxious. Plus, there's a really smart dog who helps solve murders; how could you resist that?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via iRead Book Tours and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Leila.
560 reviews7 followers
May 12, 2020
I have really struggled with the desire to want to read right now, but the second I saw this was a Lauren Carr book; I put all things aside and said “let’s do this!” And, of course, I have zero regrets. (I haven’t read a book this fast in months! I could not put it down!)

Many of Lauren’s mysteries have men as the main character. We have Jessica, but the other series feature Mac, Chris, and Josh. It was nice to have another mystery with a female lead.

Another bonus of Lauren’s books is that they always have at least one, if not a few, great mysteries intertwined; a little romance; a little humor; some furry friends who make it all the more enjoyable; and I have yet – even now – to 100% correctly identify the suspect before the book.

Killer Deadline had all of the above and was amazing! I had no doubts that it would be!!

Elmo reminds me a ton of Gnarly, but in a non-trouble making way! He definitely takes first place for character, second place for overall story – I love a good mystery!

I really don’t want to share too much because there is so much in this book that I just loved and could totally gush about!

Nikki returns home after 15 years to try and reunite with her one love. She is taking over the family news station now that her mom is retiring, but being back in the station brings back the memories of her father’s murder at the same news station.

Of course, Nikki’s childhood rival wants to ruin all things positive for Nikki and lands herself in some hot water that takes on so much more!

I loved the secrets, the mystery, the romance, the humor – all of it! I had everyone pegged for the murder the same as Nikki and Ryan, but I’ll be when the real murderer was revealed. And the other twist that was revealed!? (Or should I say two twists – one I realized long before it was every revealed and the other, I was just as shocked as everyone else!)

If you like a good mystery with a little humor and romance mixed in; a mystery that leaves you guessing until the very end – this promises to be a great start of an amazing new series!
1,520 reviews17 followers
June 11, 2020

I love a good cozy mystery so I was excited to read this one. This is the first book I have read from Lauren Carr, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly delighted to read and review Killer Deadline. Ms. Carr has written and exceptionally great cozy mystery read.

When Nikki and her Boxer friend Elmo move back to her small hometown of Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, she had her work cut out for her. Her fathers murder is her priority, even though she has to take over her moms job at their TV station. But when her co-worker ends up murdered as well, this is just too suspicious. Who will be next? Nikki? Her mom? And does this have anything to do with he dad’s death, even though his murder was years before?

I love this cozy mystery! It is full of suspense, action packed, fast pace with that small town feeling. I love the characters, I have to admit, I fell in love with Elmo on the spot! I loved Nikki’s spunk and determination. She keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire book! And I usually try to pick up all if the clues and figure out whodunnit but this story kept taking twist and turns that I was surprised. This is just the cozy mysteries I love to read. And I see this is the first book in Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery Series and I can’t wait for the next book in this series. I know Nikki Bryant will have more investigations up her sleeve that will keep us guessing! I highly recommend this book to those who loves a good cozy mystery!! Oh and I forgot to mention how much I love the book cover. It has that mysterious look to it, it is pink, and is very inviting to readers. This will be the first cozy mystery that is snatched off the shelf!

A special thanks to the author/publisher for a copy of this book. I am not required to write a positive review, the opinions here are mine alone. I am disclosing this with my review in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Profile Image for Kameron.
Author 8 books80 followers
August 3, 2022

I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

Move over Scooby-Doo, Elmo has now been crowned the coolest canine in town! Elmo, a canine influencer, can complete many chores with great precision: making a bed, running a vacuum, putting laundry in the wash, and loading a dishwasher. If only he could do windows…

Elmo is not here just to do stunts for our amusement; he is a vital character in the book from start to finish.

Killer Deadline had three deaths being investigated simultaneously. Was their one murderer? Two? Three? Oh, I can’t tell you that. You must read the story to find how who did what and why. I think you’ll love being an amateur detective and trying to solve these mysteries before Nikki and Ryan do.

Speaking of the dynamic duo, they are into each other—big time. Yes, they are step-siblings, but they are not blood-related, so it’s not that creepy. I mean, I wouldn’t date my step-sibling, but many would. There’s a genre surrounding this sort of coupling, and it makes bank for many authors.

Ryan and Nikki were a fun duo, past and present. I loved their childhood reminiscing stories. Some of their exchanges reminded me of one of my favorite comedic movies, You’ve Got Mail. Both Nikki and Kathleen Kelly (from the movie) were a bit slow on the uptake, but everything worked out for them in the end.

Special note: Killer Deadline (A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery Book 1) is rated G for everyone! So, share this book with your teen and see who can solve the mysteries first. You or your teen!

(Find more reviews/ratings at www.superkambrook.com)

Profile Image for BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books).
1,385 reviews102 followers
May 3, 2020
What I Loved:
I have so enjoyed this book! I loved the mix of humor and mystery. It has a wonderful collection of characters that make you feel right at home with the story!

How I Felt:
Killer Deadline introduces Nikki our strong, confident heroine, as she is leaving behind her successful career to return to her hometown and take over the family TV station. With her return to her hometown, Nikki is determined to uncover the mystery around her father’s unsolved murder. Just when she thinks another reporter is about to reveal valuable information about her father’s death, that reporter is murdered too! Nikki must solve this murder before she becomes the next target!

This story was filled with fabulous twists and turns that I’ve come to love from Lauren Carr. I was pulled into Killer Deadline from the first page and couldn’t put it down until the last. Carr has written an excellent, captivating cozy mystery that is the start of a great-looking series!

I really enjoyed the characters in Killer Deadline. Elmo, the social media star dog was a fun side-kick in this story, and Nikki has this strong, don’t-give-up kind of attitude that was amazing. I love that Lauren Carr adds these bright personalities to her characters. They add such color to her books and make the people seem like friends.

To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend Killer Deadline for readers that enjoy a cozy murder mystery with a strong female lead! If you enjoy a series, this is the first in the series, so you can look forward to additional stories from these characters!

I was provided an advanced reader's copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

My full review of this book will post to my blog on 4/5/20. All of my reviews can be found at https://shejustlovesbooks.com/all-boo...
Profile Image for Meagan Myhren-Bennett.
Author 12 books22 followers
October 4, 2020
Killer Deadline
A Nikki Bryant Cozy Mystery #1
By Lauren Carr
Narrated by Anita Alger

Nikki Bryant is returning home to take over the family's television station in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. After years of honing her skills as an investigative journalist, it is time to return home to her family and to her first love. Though there is that awkward situation of now Ryan being her step-brother. But, hey, a girl can hope, right?

Nikki is determined to get to the truth of her father's murder all those years ago. But are her investigative skills up to the challenge of a cold case that hits close to home? And when another murder hits the station Nikki can't help but wonder if they are related.

This was a fun read and I really loved Elmo - who couldn't love a rescued boxer with a social media following most influencers would die for? Let's just say Elmo totally rivals Lauren Carr's other canine creations (if you've read her other books) but Elmo is the perfect housekeeper!

Nicki's an intense individual who makes the perfect investigative journalist. She wants answers yesterday and she is willing to dig in to get them. She might get it wrong at the beginning but with the help of her family and close friends, she'll get the answers she wants and needs. And all this while trying to figure out how to let The One know that he is the one for her, with somewhat humorous results, I might add.

The narrative by Anita Alger is perfect for this book. She keeps the story moving at a good pace and presents Nikki well. At just over 6 hours and 30 minutes, it is a good length for commuting to work or for doing chores around the house. Or you could double the enjoyment and read along with the audio.

This is the start of a new series starring Nicki, Elmo, Ryan, and the rest of Pine Grove, PA! If you love cozy mysteries this one is for you.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Lelia Taylor.
872 reviews16 followers
October 7, 2020
Lauren Carr has several popular series and releases numerous books every year but, apparently, she isn’t busy enough because here she is starting another one 😉 I love those other series that are what I consider traditional mysteries with various elements of law enforcement and, although Killer Deadline is very different, being a true cozy, I do believe Ms. Carr has come up with another fun series.

There are two things I can always expect from a Lauren Carr book, a good deal of humor and one or more very appealing pets, and Killer Deadline has both; surely Elmo the boxer has established himself as one of my favorites and the author’s brand of humor is unforced and understated with none of the silliness often found in cozies. Nikki is a sleuth who comes by it naturally, being an investigative journalist from a big city, and she’s drawn to looking into her own father’s murder years before, especially when an old rival is murdered soon after Nikki comes home. Everything seems to revolve around the local TV station owned by Nikki’s family and both deaths, including the new one, are rooted in the past.

Elmo, meanwhile, is busy being a social media icon and Nikki is second guessing her decision to move back home and run the TV station but, at least, there’s potential for a romance with her old crush, Ryan. Add in investigating murders, running a top-rated TV station and coping with the eccentricities of a small town and Nikki is a very busy lady. I’m looking forward to more of her adventures.

This was also my introduction to Anita Alger as a narrator and I thought she did it well, with good tone and pacing. Her male vocalizations were a bit lacking but I think she’s fairly new at this and reading in the other gender isn’t easy. I’m sure she’ll continue to strengthen that aspect of her narrations.
Profile Image for Angela Thompson.
391 reviews11 followers
April 29, 2020
Cozy, Small Town Mystery with Engaging Characters to Love. The author begins this book with a cast of characters--and, while the list may seem a bit long--readers will quickly learn that every character (no matter the size of their role) plays a part in the mysteries at hand. If you have read the author's other series, expect this new mystery to be much more cozy mystery like without the high ranking police involvement, and big city feel of her other series. As always, the author puts together an odd, eclectic mix of characters for readers to love, hate, and suspect throughout the book!

Killer Deadline Offers More than One Mystery--and Twists and Turns to Create Doubts. Killer Deadline offered mysteries that were a little faster/easier to solve than some of Carr's previous novels--but the characters and their interactions kept readers doubting and guessing until the stories fully unfolded. If you enjoy cozy mysteries with some side stories and secrets playing into the mix--the is a fun series opener.

Would I Recommend Killer Deadline by Lauren Carr? The author makes me smile from the first few pages of every one of her books. She can randomly interject some real-world thoughts and sarcasm into murderous plots and investigations--and that makes this cozy mystery novel so fun to read. I loved Nikki--and, of course, her dog, Elmo--and I will undoubtedly be waiting to read Nikki's next adventure. If you enjoy light cozy mysteries with a little humor and a host of characters to love--Killer Deadline is a fun one to add to your reading list.

I received a copy of this book from the author or publisher for use in a blog review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Meagan Myhren-Bennett.
Author 12 books22 followers
May 23, 2020
Killer Deadline
By Lauren Carr

Nicki Bryant blew it years ago with her first love - the one she always thought was THE ONE. But she left home following her career dreams and to not see The One fall for someone else. But now she's heading home and who knows what the future holds for reconnecting with Ryan.

But before she can figure out just where she and Ryan stand a murder rocks her world and Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. Nicki finds the body of her childhood rival and naturally, that looks just a tad suspicious. But why would anyone kill Ashley Addison? Could she truly have discovered who was responsible for Nicki's father's murder? Or was Ashley's big scoop something else? Nicki is determined to find out before someone else at the station ends up dead.

This was a fun read and I really loved Elmo - who couldn't love a rescued boxer with a social media following most influencers would die for? Let's just say Elmo totally rivals Lauren Carr's other canine creations (if you've read her other books) but Elmo is the perfect housekeeper!

Nicki's an intense individual who makes the perfect investigative journalist. She wants answers yesterday and she is willing to dig in to get them. She might get it wrong at the beginning but with the help of her family and close friends, she'll get the answers she wants and needs. And all this while trying to figure out how to let The One know that he is the one for her, with somewhat humorous results, I might add.

Hoping that this is the start of a new series starring Nicki, Elmo, Ryan, and the rest of Pine Grove, PA! If you love cozy mysteries this one is for you.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Jessica Bronder.
2,014 reviews22 followers
May 21, 2020
Nikki Bryant is a killer investigative journalist living in Las Vegas with her rescue dog Elmo. When she learns that her mother is retiring from the television station Nikki decides to return to her small hometown, Pine Grove, Pennsylvania.

When Nikki gets into town she learns that her first love has now become her step brother and her nemesis, Ashleigh Addison is a reporter that teases about a huge scoop she has. Nikki thinks that the story may be related to her father’s cold case. But Ashleigh ends up dead before she can reveal her story.

Nikki is a top notch journalist that is determined to find out who killed Ashleigh and her father. She also has to come to terms with her relationship with Ryan, the whole step brother thing is a bit creepy and all. Then you have NerdyGuy. I had some guesses about him and I was very curious about the reveal of him.

But Nikki is determined to find out who the killers are. She is strong willed and unstoppable, my kind of lady. But I have to say it, Elmo stole the show. Animals and kids will always be the shining star. I wish my cats could take after him and start cleaning up after themselves.

This is a fantastic start to a new mystery series for Lauren Carr. I loved the other books but this is a whole new world and I am excited to see where we will go from here. I strongly recommend any mystery lover check out any of Lauren Carr’s books.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
1,578 reviews
May 19, 2020
A new cozy mystery series by author Carr? Yep, I am going to definitely read that. And so I did and what a fun read it was. If you like mysteries you will like this one. A murder has happened and it may or may not be linked to other crimes. But like with other author Carr books, the answers are not so easily seen or gotten. Twists and turns and more abound in this little mystery of a woman who is coming back to her hometown for a second chance at love and business.

Nikki Bryant and her family have seen loss up close and personal, and unfortunately that loss has had no closure. Neither has she ever found anyone who might sweep her off her feet like her first love, Ryan did. Now through marriage- her mom's and his dad's- their second chance seems forbidden. But this story is not all about romance, no there is a murder mystery that needs to be solved before anyone can put the past behind them.

I am excited for this new series. I am looking forward to seeing Nikki and her work as an investigative journalist following the clues and solving the crimes. And with a trace of humor and romance, I also am looking forward to the rekindling of hers and Ryan's. And the cover is super cute too, and as always the critters get a prominant secondary role.

I was provided a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positvie review and all views and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Fee (Ebook Addicts).
1,388 reviews35 followers
May 20, 2020
Nikki Bryant has returned home to Pine Grove to take over the reigns of the families TV station, but before she can even settle in she stumbles upon the body of Ashleigh Addison - who is not only the local newscaster but her childhood rivial! It appears that Ashleigh had gotten a hold of a great story that she was going to tell but her untimely death put that story to rest along with her, or did it? Nikki thinks that the story was a possible cold case lead into the death of her father all those years ago and she begins to suspect that Ashleigh's death now may also be connected. It all seemed so coincidental that Nikki should return home just as Ashleigh was getting intel on a big story that may have to do with Nikki's father, but she puts her investigative journalist skill to use that takes her on a journey of lies and betrayal.

I loved this book, and it is the first I have read from Lauren Carr - she has done a great job with the start of this series, and Elmo that dog was just a great addition to this novel. the characters were well written and likeable though I was little surprised at how naive Nikki was towards the identity of her online friend NerdyGuy, but then again sometimes you cant see what is right in front of you. Teh mystery keep my engrossed and I loved the light hearted comedic humour Elmo brought to the story. I cant wait to see what is on store for Nikki and Elmo next!

4 stars
Profile Image for Angelique.
319 reviews16 followers
October 14, 2020
I have recently rediscovered my love of the cozy mystery (the last time being when I was 10 and reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew) and I gotta say the last few weeks (has it been months already???) I have loved reintroducing myself to the joys and love of a well written mystery that keeps you on your toes and guessing.

This was one of those mysteries. Lauren Carr is a genius with the red herrings and the misleading of your attention. She is a masterful story teller who created such vibrant characters that I fell in love with every single one of them.

I really loved the addition of a social influencing dog. It is not something I have ever read or listened to before and added a funky twist to the book that I would probably not have missed but now that I know it exists – I will be looking for in future books.

Now the narration – I am of two minds. She had an amazing voice, incredibly melodic and easy to listen to but her story telling left me feeling a bit ‘meh’. I loved little things like the tinny sound of a character’s internal thoughts or the messages between Nikki and Nerdy Guy and the sound of the GPS lady coming through when Nikki used her GPS. The characterisation was really well done in some cases – like this of Nikki’s mom, housekeeper and sister Julia but the voice of the antagonistic characters came through a bit too harsh.

All in all a really amazing book – great story line, interesting characters and amazing twists and turns.
Profile Image for books are love.
3,131 reviews24 followers
August 24, 2022
I thought this was a fun book. I fell in love with Elmo. That dog is a hoot with his cleaning and how he gets upset at those who say he is ugly and his attitude is just a hoot. Ryan I loved that story and how they finally got past everything and got together but also how he was there for Nikki and supported her before that.

Nikki is no nonsense. She is good at her job and doesn’t mess around. She works hard and when her mind is set on something she is dogged in finding the truth and here it was to clear herself of suspicion and solve her dad’s murder.

The victim Ashleigh was a piece of work. Not a fan of hers but still didn’t deserve to die. She was the one in school you wanted to stay away from and not get on the bad side of. Girl is a real piece of work.

The story was fun and serious when needed to be. You followed along like a game of clue and smiled along the way. every character added a special touch to the plot and made you feel more at home in the book. You got just enough plot twists to keep you going and the story of Nikki and Ryan was just the right type of romance for the book. The writing immerses you into the character’s days and danger. You watch as Nikki works on why Ashleigh died and who killed her father, along the way to finding this out she uncovers and finds out the truth about some mysteries in the past. Elmo adds so much brevity and just has you fall in love with him as well. Overall a fun mystery that just has you smile and want more.
Profile Image for Gina  Mitchell.
893 reviews56 followers
October 4, 2022
Nikki Bryant stars in Killer Deadline from Lauren Carr.

Nikki comes home to Pine Grove after many years of building her name and career in media journalism. With Mom retiring from the family-owned television station, Nikki is ready to take over the reins. Even if it means working from the office her father was murdered in and dealing with her arch-rival from high school, Ashleigh. When you add in her ex-boyfriend, who unfortunately is now her step-brother, her life is about to take a serious jump on the crazy meter.

In typical Lauren Carr fashion, murder, mystery, and mayhem set the tone. With sparks flying, Nikki sets out to solve murders, past and present.

The pace is excellent, keeping you turning the pages (or listening non-stop to the audiobook). The characters are well-developed. Nikki and Ryan put off lots of steam without slipping into over-the-top sexy. In other words, this is a clean read with a little spice. The mystery and resolution are believable.

While I understand that Nikki is the focus of this tale, Elmo steals the show for me. I need a social media influencer dog that's OCD and cleans up after everyone. Put the toys away, pick up the dirty laundry, make the bed, super dog, Elmo does it all! Lauren writes the most fabulous dog characters I've ever read.


I received a copy of the book for an iRead Book Tour but had previously read a Kindle Unlimited edition. This review is my honest, unbiased opinion
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