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Take the Monkeys and Run

(Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #1)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  3,594 ratings  ·  424 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 198 pages
Published August 26th 2010 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published June 15th 2010)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,594 ratings  ·  424 reviews

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Oct 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
First of all, I believe I am required to state that I won this book in a goodreads giveaway contest. I also want to say that I was seriously impressed with how fast this book arrived in the mail. I had expected to wait at least a month for the book, especially since I'm outside the US, but a signed copy was on my doorstep in one week flat! Thanks Ms Cantwell and goodreads!

Now on to our feature presentation, Take the Monkeys and Run. I don't want to mindlessly parrot other reviewers, but truly th
May 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
I have a weakness for free cozy mysteries with punny titles. Sometimes the weakness rewards me with something great; more often it does not. This one fell somewhere in the middle.
Like other reviewers gush, it carries the day with constant humor and peppy action. The collection of suburban housewives, hot guys, and eccentric villains make for a generally fun and certainly easy read.
The thing is, I often felt like it tried too hard. I like that the heroine loved old movies. It made for some funn
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
This was the funniest action mystery I've read in a while! I loved Barb and her two friends, Peggy and Roz. They were a little more like Charlie's Angels in this book rather than my usual comparison of Nancy Drew and her pals. Who knew that ordinary housewives could accidentally get mixed up with the Mafia, FBI and...monkeys?

There really wasn't a current murder to solve, but I was too busy laughing and reading on the edge of my seat as the action started happening. I think I'll definitely be re
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Barbara Marr would have to qualify as the most inept sleuth in the world, but that’s half the charm. As she noses into the goings-on at the house next door, she finds herself involved in stuff that any sane person would avoid. Nice and light – over the top and not to be taken seriously.

A fun silly romp that is very well edited. A perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Candace Davidson
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wow, this book was really cozytastic! First time I have read her. This book was a free download.
Tammy Stathelson
Take the Monkeys and Run

Reviewed by Tammy Stathelson

Take the Monkeys and Run – A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery, a 2010 Amazon Kindle Bestseller and semi-finalist in the Amazon 2009 Breakthrough Novel Contest, is the first book by Karen Cantwell in an ongoing series about a small town Virginia housewife who has a penchant for finding trouble or rather trouble finding her.

Barbara Marr, or Barb as she is affectionately called by friends, normally spends her time at PTA meetings, but lately has stumb
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Barbara Marr is a fairly normal middle aged woman, living in a fairly normal suburban community in Northern Virginia, but when she witnesses some not so normal activity at the house next door, she can’t help her curiosity. The peculiar, abandoned house she has nicknamed “The House of Many Bones” has always been a mystery to her so when on a late night walk around her house she sees and hears bizarre activity she dives head first into her own personal investigation for some answers.

Warnings from
Grace Krispy
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery series, this book by Karen Cantwell is a hoot. Barb is zany, outlandish, and doesn't always make the best choices, so she's a lot of fun to follow. She says and does things we all think about sometimes. She's a typical mom with three girls and a bit -ok, more than a bit- of a movie fetish. Barb sees things in terms of how characters in a movie would react, which adds some nice color commentary. I found this tact to be a clever way to tie the storyline ...more
LB Gschwandtner
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another 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. An ...more
The book started good and was funny, but kind of fizzled for me when the main plot became a cliche I've seen so many times before. I've seen it enough I could pretty much guess what would happen in the book and was spot on for most of it. Kind of ruins the suspense. It's quick read and an okay book overall. I'll probably continue the series, regardless. One glaring error though: (view spoiler) ...more
Sarah Paul
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thought that this was a funny and clever book. It would be a great book for a flight or to read on vacation. There were times that I was very excited to see what would happen next and there were times that I was laughing outloud. I would greatly recommend this book as a fun read.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Marr is a suburban mother of three and a movie buff. She lives in Rustic Woods, Virginia. After her husband Howard left her, she decides to rekindle her passion for film writing and has even started working on her movie review website again. With little to do besides parenting, she’s also taken a different hobby spying on her neighbors.

Lately she’s noticed a mysterious truck pulling up into her neighbor’s driveway on Tuesday nights. She finds this odd because the house has been vacant f
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I got this book as a free download from Amazon. I’d never read this author before and frankly had little to no expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised by this cozy mystery story. The protagonist, Barb, was an average middle-aged woman with a family. At the start of the book, she seemed to be undergoing marital troubles. In order to distract herself, she got involved in some mysterious occurrences that took place in the vacant house next door. Well, the situation just got weirder and weirder as
Jules (Never enough time to read)
It was ok and I liked some parts more than others. I'm fairly certain I won't be reading any more in the series.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Quite funny and enjoyable for a freebie download, I might actually try a few more by this author. Main character is utterly unbelievable though!
Debra Martin
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this book in a contest.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ms. Cantwell has a distinctive voice that I absolutely loved. Without giving away any spoilers, I found this story to be reminiscent of a humorous, action-adventure movie made back in the nineties especially the circumstances involving the husband and his job.

Take the Monkeys and Run follows the antics of 45 year-old suburban soccer Mom, Barbara Marr. Her life is falling apart. Her husband has decided that he needs some space
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I received a copy of this book for review through the firstreads program*

What a fun book! Barbara Marr is a suburban mom living in Northern Virginia, whose husband has just decided they need to take a "break," when she finds a bunch of monkeys in her backyard. Everything goes downhill for her from there. Marr is a relatable and funny character, and her hijinks are laugh-out-loud funny (without a lot of those cringeworthy "why on earth did you think that was a good idea" scenes you sometimes see
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pre-2017
I liked the title of this book, and settled down eager to read.

An hour or so later, not impressed. It started out fairly well, introduced believable, relatable characters and a plausible mystery. It all goes downhill from there. Characters do not seem fully developed and the storyline plunges from believable to a tad unrealistic to downright implausible. The novel reaches further and further to explain events, and not in a 'I-didn't-see-that-coming' way, but in a 'that-would-never-happen-in-a-mi
Amy Siggelow
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I won this book from Library Thing's Member Giveaways.

This book was so funny and quirky and I loved it! It was also a very good mystery as well. What more could you ask from a book!

This is the story of a housewife who was outside with her cat in the wee hours of the morning and saw something going on at the house next door. This wouldn't have been odd, except that the house next door had been empty for almost 30 years. She decides to go take a look and ends up getting herself and a friend who co
Oct 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell is a humorous and quite quirky cozy mystery set in fictional Rustic Woods, Virginia. Main character Barbara Marr, a serious film buff and soon-to-be movie reviewer & blogger, is a likeable and realistic 45-year-old stay-at-home mother of three daughters: Callie, Bethany, and Amber. Her husband, Howard, out-of-the-blue, recently announced that he "needs space" and has moved out. Meanwhile, Barb, needing a diversion from the frustrating and depressing mid ...more
Joanne Roberts
Not a true romance, nor a true who-dunnit, this book nevertheless included a convoluted mystery, adventure, danger, crime, and suspects which will probably appeal to some readers. The mc is dimensional if somewhat annoying, hypocritical and unsympathetic. Though she repeatedly whines about her husband's recent departure and suspected infidelity, she ogles other men and even invites an old boyfriend home with her and her children in the first week of separation. Many plot points are contrived, bu ...more
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Take the Monkeys and Run is a quirky and fun murder mystery. Barbara Marr is not your typical young, beautiful murder mystery heroine. This is a good thing! She's in her forties with two daughters and a husband who has just left her. She's broken, but not destroyed. Investigating the strange happenings next door is just what she needs to keep going.

The story has monkeys, a human skull, mobsters, and an ex-boyfriend. What more does a mystery need? Humor! There's lots of it! Barbara is sarcastic,
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it
The title of this book caught my interest right away. I would not of readout though if I was not looking for a book with a weapon on it.

It did grab my interest right away though.

Barb, who's husband just left her, stumbles across some strange happens at the house next door.

Yes it has to do with monkeys.

She calls her ex boyfriend, also her husbands ex best friend.

Barb and her friends , Roz and Peggy become the current day Charlie's Angels as they work together to solve this mystery.

I love how Ba
D.B. Henson
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 flawle
Barbara Brink
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Karen Cantwell's "Take the Monkeys and Run" is a fast paced mystery with trigger happy dialogue that has a little to do with monkeys and a lot to do with the laugh-out-loud antics of one suburbanite soccer mom/obsessed movie buff, who finds her imagination running wild when monkeys and a human head are discovered at the house next door. With the help of some neighborhood friends and an old flame from college, she unravels layers of hilarity and insanity, as well as secrets her husband has been k ...more
Ellen Peterson
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I pick up a book on a whim not knowing anything about it.
Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't... this time it worked!

And now I want to be author Karen Cantwells friend...
She has a weirdly clever mind overflowing with humor which she seamlessly rolls into her writing whish reads as if you are sitting having an easy conversation. (My favorite kind of read.)

Three times I had to stop because I couldn't see through tears of laughter.
Obviously that earns this book a 5-star ratin
Norma Huss
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
A fast read; fun, surprising, mysterious (naturally, it's a mystery), and just a bit over the top. (My kind of read, really.) There's monkeys running amok, a bodyless head, threats, neighbors who won't say a word about that house that's stood vacant for years, except for the guy who mows the lawn. Kids that want to play with the monkeys, but that could be far too dangerous. Recommended for a day when things are getting you down and you want to escape.
Oct 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. It looks like a fun read & I look forward to reading it when I receive it.

March 2011 - I did really enjoy this book. Love her writing of the main character, especially when she has a scene with her mother. Just hilarious! The plot was a bit over the top, but enjoyable if a bit far-fetched. I will definitely read more of her work.
Sibel Hodge
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Marr is in the midst of a marital crisis when she stumbles across an even bigger problem in the neighbourhood. This was a fun cozy mystery with light humor that added to the well written storyline. Can't wait for the next in the series.
Feb 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2011, kindle
Very cute, lots of fun. Quick, non-serious read.
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Karen's novel, Take the Monkeys and Run was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (under the original title of Monkeys in My Trees)and has gone on to be a Kindle bestseller on Amazon. She has written three more books in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series: Citizen Insane, Silenced by the Yams, and Saturday Night Cleaver.

When she's not writing, Karen loves gardening

Other books in the series

Barbara Marr Murder Mystery (7 books)
  • Citizen Insane (Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #2)
  • Silenced by the Yams (Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #3)
  • Saturday Night Cleaver (A Barbara Marr Murder Mystery #4)
  • Dead Man Stalking (Barbara Marr Murder #5)
  • Dial Marr for Murder (Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series Book 6)
  • Bjorn! on the Fourth of July

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