Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Halloween Is Murder by Carolyn Arnold – Book Review

Book Title: Halloween Is Murder
(McKinley Mysteries, Book 11)
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Published by: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Publication date: 3 October 2017


Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.

But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.

As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.


“I speak if I have something worth saying,” Meredith stated politely. “And I have nothing to do with what you all do. I leave these matters in the hands of the experts.”
“The police?” [Sean] asked. “I agree.”
Meredith winced and shook her head. “I meant the three of you.”

Halloween Is Murder by Carolyn Arnold is the eleventh book in the McKinley Mysteries, and like its predecessors, a cozy mystery standalone.

The book opens with Sara and Sean, a married couple and retired police officers, discussing their Halloween House fundraiser, and considering a Christmas one. The couple, recently turned billionaires, after the loss of a family member, love to do charity work.

As part of coverage of their fundraiser, they show news reporter Chloe Parsons around their House of Horrors for children. Later the next day when they gather to see the story on TV, they learn that Chloe has passed away.

Sara feels that Chloe has been murdered, making their investigation harder as the police are also investigating it as a 'murder'. Plus, it's just a hunch for Sara. Not long after, Chloe's sister comes to their private investigations firm and asks them to investigate her sister's death, giving Sara more momentum to carry on.

Throughout the Halloween Is Murder we see Sean act as the voice of reason, particularly as he doubts that Chloe was murdered. However, he knows it is often best to trust his wife's instincts.

"[Sean] liked to have his action plans anchored in cement."

I loved the punned Halloween-themed chapter names: "The Grim House of Horrors", "Grim Reaper Claims a Victim", "Dreading the Boo"

I liked how Sara converses with Sean simply through nods, eye movement, or minor body language.

"Susannah's gaze drifted to Sara, her eyes full of panic. Sara made eye contact with Sean and tilted her head toward Chloe."

Narrated in the third person, Halloween Is Murder has an even-to-fast pace. Even though the characters are unsure if the mystery at hand is in fact a mystery, the pace isn't slow.

It is interesting to read Halloween Is Murder, when my introduction to the cozy mystery genre was through Carolyn Arnold's Coffee Is Murder (Book 9) in the McKinley Mysteries. The books are all standalones, but it was interesting to see Arnold's writing style again, get cozy with the McKinley's and re-live the series.

"People referred to money as the almighty dollar, but she was one American who worshipped the coffee gods and the almighty bean."

I also liked Sara and Sean's humanitarian side, which made the novel all the more enjoyable.

Halloween Is Murder is light and enjoyable, with a good cast of characters, lots of humour, and a Halloweenish-edge.

Overall rating: 5 stars

(Note: I got an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) for Halloween Is Murder)

An interview with Carolyn about Halloween Is Murder can be found on her official website.

More book reviews for Carolyn Arnold on Nadaness In Motion include:
Cozy mysteries in the Mckinley Series: Coffee Is Murder and Money Is Murder, and Exercise Is Murder.
Police procedural and thrillers: On the Count of Three (Book 7 in the Brandon Fischer series), Past Deeds, and What We Bury (Madison Knight series)

About Carolyn Arnold

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.
She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online via her Website, Twitter, Facebook, and Newsletter. 

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