Sunday, September 29, 2019

Exercise Is Murder by Carolyn Arnold – Book Review


Book: Exercise Is Murder
Series: McKinley Mysteries, book 12
Author: Carolyn Arnold
ISBN: 9781988353876
Publisher: Hibbert Stiles Publishing
Publication date: 24 September 2019

Synopsis:
Getting in shape isn’t an easy walk in the park…
Running junkie Katie Carpenter takes a tumble down a ravine and ends up facedown in the Hudson River. The police conclude her death was an accident, but those who were close to Katie aren’t buying that she just tripped and fell—including her pro-athlete boyfriend. But it’s Katie’s fitness trainer and friend who hires the McKinleys to investigate.
Anything but an easy case to solve, Sean and Sara will break a sweat trying to figure out who had the most to gain from the young woman’s death. Sadly for Sean most of the evidence seems stacked against Katie’s boyfriend—a man Sean idolizes. Can he put aside being starstruck long enough to view things objectively? If Katie’s killer is going to be caught, he and Sara will need to remain flexible and it might require bending the rules a bit.

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

Exercise Is Murder is the 12th installment in the McKinley Mysteries by Carolyn Arnold. The book can easily be read as a standalone, which means you don't need to read previous books in the series before picking up this one.

The book opens with Sara and Sean McKinley reviewing a number of possible client applications, potential mysteries they need to solve, until Sara's trainer arrives claiming that one of her clients, Katie Carpenter, had been murdered, while the police had ruled her death an accident.

"It turned out, badge or no badge, that solving murder was in their blood–and for whatever reason, it seemed like dead bodies fell around them."

As each book in the McKinley Mysteries begins, Arnold is sure give background info for the reader. In Exercise Is Murder, the author notes how Sara and Sean McKinley originally met and how they'd turned into millionaires overnight. They had been police officers in the Albany Police Department until Sean did "one kind deed for an elderly man who saw fit to reward them."

In Exercise Is Murder, Sean and Sara have to go by their former police officers and friends, since they'd originally ruled Katie's death an accident. So they have to rework the murder, while at the same time not step on toes, especially, the detective who was in charge of the original case and who was known to move on the next case quickly. Not to mention, both Sean and Sara found him rude and irritating.



I also liked how the McKinley's try to look at things from different perspectives, while Arnold through Sara's thoughts gave ideas and notes about police procedures.

"If they approached Katie's death from the perspective of an accident from the start, they might have missed evidence that would indicate otherwise." The most important thing in any investigation was objectivity.

In Exercise Is Murder, Sean and Sara discover that the person who's possible-murder they were investigating, was seeing a star athlete, who to Sara's surprise, Sean is a big fan of. This makes for funny scenes, where Sean is star-struck. It also makes Sean defensive of the athlete, while Sara is seen to quickly point the finger because "so often it was the spouse or the lover who was the killer. Someone close to the victim."

Then, there's Jimmy Voigt, who was once Sara's and Sean's sergeant but is now working with them full-time in their Private Investigations (PI) firm, Pay It Forward. I enjoy the scenes he stars in; he's funny and he constantly has to interact with the obnoxious medical examiner Albert Needham.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning was somewhat more appealing than returning to the dungeon of Needham."

I don't know why, but Jimmy often reminds me of Steve Schirripa, who played Detective Anthony Abetemarco in Blue Bloods. And in Exercise Is Murder has to visit Needham several times… Poor guy!



Narrated in the third person, Exercise Is Murder has several view points and I really like how Arnold seamlessly alternates between Sara and Sean. There were other chapters from Jimmy's view point too, offering humor as well as information.

"Needham…most people would rather have a tooth pulled out than be around the man. Needham was definitely better suited to keeping company with the dead. They could suffer no further."

One of the things I like about Carolyn Arnold's McKinley Mysteries is how all the chapter names tend to align with the theme of the book. For example, this one is called Exercise Is Murder, so chapter titles include: "No Pain, No Gain," "Accelerating the Heart Rate," "A Jog in the Park,"…etc.

Overall, I enjoyed Exercise Is Murder by Carolyn Arnold, there was suspense and humor, lots of police work without being part of law enforcement, and lots of questions, work-arounds, and overall a ton of fun and excitement.

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Other books and book reviews by Nadaness In Motion for the McKinley Mysteries:

Coffee Is Murder (Book 9 and my first read in the series)
Halloween Is Murder (Book 11 and my second read)
Money Is Murder (Book 3 and surprisingly my third read)



Note: I got an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Exercise Is Murder from publisher Hibbert Stiles Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review or rating in any way.

This review was meant to go up earlier but personal reasons prevented me from posting on release date.



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