Narrator: Karen White
Series: Books By the Bay #1
Published by Berkley on June 1st 2010
Genres: Cozy, Mystery
Barnes & Noble
In the small coastal town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, you'll find plenty of characters, ne'er-do-wells, and even a few celebs trying to duck the paparazzi. But when murder joins this curious community, the Bayside Book Writers are there to get the story...
Olivia Limoges is the subject of constant gossip. Ever since she came back to town-a return as mysterious as her departure-Olivia has kept to herself, her dog, and her unfinished novel. With a little cajoling from the eminently charming writer Camden Ford, she agrees to join the Bayside Book Writers, break her writer's block, and even make a few friends...
But when townspeople start turning up dead with haiku poems left by the bodies, anyone with a flair for language is suddenly suspect. And it's up to Olivia to catch the killer before she meets her own surprise ending.
Watch a Video
I eventually enjoyed A Killer Plot, but it took a while to get to that point. The book opens with one of the info-dumpiest info-dumps I’ve ever read, and the main character, Olivia Limoges, is difficult to like. She’s independently wealthy, and seems to think that gives her the right to flaunt any laws or rules she wants to. She parks in handicapped spots, never puts her dog on a leash because she ‘refuses to subject him to the indignity of a harness’, takes the dog literally everywhere with her, including into restaurants where he sits at booths with her, and into her own restaurant where he spends quite a bit of time in the kitchen. I love dogs. I have 2 myself and have been accused of treating them better than most people do their children. They don’t belong in restaurants and they definitely DO belong on leashes. She’s also an unbearable snob, literally spitting out coffee that’s not made from Kona beans and refusing to eat or drink anything she considers beneath her, which is apparently anything not made by the French chef in her own restaurant.
I liked the town, Oyster Bay. I really like reading about small towns, though, so I may be a little bit biased. I like towns where everyone knows how your date went before you’re even home, or calls to say ‘Bless You’ when you sneeze in your own kitchen. I don’t think I’d like to live in one, but I like to read about them. I’ve never been to this part of North Carolina, but I thought Ellery Adams did a really good job setting up the town and all the characters. There was some first-book-in-a-series awkwardness, but that’s to be expected. I thought the sheriff was a little too accepting of Olivia and her book club’s ‘help’ in figuring out who the killer was, but I think we’re supposed to assume that’s because Olivia has more money than the rest of the town combined and does whatever she wants.
A few little things that stuck out at me: This book was published in 2010, so I thought it was a little strange that Camden Ford, a Perez Hilton type celebrity gossip maven, was talking about the popularity of his MySpace page. And I didn’t really understand why Laurel, a new mom in her twenties, had actual photographs of her kids in her purse that she passed around. Not professional family photos or anything, just random pics that she had taken. Like everyone else had on their phones by 2010. And at one point toward the end, Olivia receives a text message revealing the killer, but she’s never seen one before and has no idea how to open it on her phone. Again, 2010. She’s barely 40.
And this is nit-picky, but View Spoiler »her mom died when she went out into a strong storm/light hurricane because she had left Olivia’s birthday present at her office in the library. The present was a puppy. How in the world do you forget a puppy in an office over the weekend then think “Well, I guess I’ll go back and get the puppy”? « Hide Spoiler
The narration: I’ve listened to a lot of Karen White’s narration. She did all of the Animal Magnetism series by Jill Shalvis. There’s something about her narration that just… doesn’t work for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s very slow narration; I usually end up speeding it up a bit. It’s not terrible narration, there’s nothing that Karen White does specifically wrong, there’s just something about her voice and the cadence she uses that makes me want to speed the book up. But it’s certainly not enough that I don’t go the audio route if I see that she’s the narrator. Which I guess isn’t very helpful. I’d say that she’s fine as a narrator, but she’s not my favorite.
I kinda like this series but I agree that part about her mom seemed awful contrived. And yes she is unlikeable- I think that was supposed to be one of her defining traits but the funny thing is Adams doesn’t seem to stick with it- I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that she doesn’t always play that aspect up, which I thought she would (I’ve read one past this one and have #3 somewhere). Maybe just me. I do like the town and I enjoyed reading about her writing group and their works in progress- I’ll probably keep reading these off and on, depending how they go. Nice review!
Thanks so much for stopping by! I’ve moved on with the series; I’m listening to the 3rd book now, and either Olivia is mellowing or I am, because I’m more amused by her than irritated now. It’s a fun series; I hope you enjoy it, too.
I don’t think I would like Olivia either. My dog is my child. I don’t have two legged children, so I have my dog and my horses. My dog isn’t on a leash often, but if we go out in public spaces, he’s on a leash and he’s good about it. I don’t take him on walks because of an issue he has with one of his legs, but when we travel, he is on a leash for bathroom breaks etc (yes, he goes on most vacations with us). I also agree that he has no business in a restaurant, kitchen or otherwise (that’s the law in this country, unless it’s a service dog). I also checked the spoiler and completely agree. How dumb can you be? Lastly, I listen to a lot of Karen White and I really like her. I will say that I do speed up the narration, but I do that will pretty much all audiobooks. Great review.
I’m the same way with my dogs, except they’re always on leashes because they’re super easy to distract and they’re not very smart. Which is not a good combination for not running off and getting lost. 🙂
I have a weird relationship with Karen White. I have no problem listening to her, I certainly don’t avoid books she narrates, but when I’m listening to her there’s something off about it every time. Not off enough that I stop, but off enough that I notice, if that makes any sense. Speeding up the narration is a huge help. I find that the more I listen to audiobooks, the more I want them to go faster.