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Show Time by Suzanne Trauth
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I read a good book recently, y'all — Show Time by Suzanne Trauth. Let me tell you a little about it.

Show Time, the first book in the Dodie O'Dell Mystery series, is a quick read with interesting, well-developed characters. My favorite character is Dodie, the main character and narrator. I especially liked reading about her reactions to all of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of Romeo and Juliet auditions and rehearsals.

Even though I correctly suspected whodunit, I still enjoyed reading about how the perp was caught. What led to the murder was a bit unusual, and interesting to read about.

The one negative for me is the flimsiness of Dodie's reasons for her sleuthing (a pet peeve of mine). I took off a Kitty from the rating because of this. If it's not something that bothers you, then add the Kitty back.

Even when Chief Bill Thompson confronts Dodie about her sleuthing,● "I can't have you snooping around playing detective while my office is coordinating an official investigation."

● "... I warned Luther."
"About —?"
"About what?" Bill said simultaneously. He whipped around to face me. "Do you mind if I do my job?"
I stepped back. "No problem."

● Bill scoffed. "You have absolutely no respect for my office, do you?"
"I have respect for you. But I don't get it. You're not curious about what I found?"
"I can't use evidence obtained illegally, Dodie," he said firmly.Dodie continues to sleuth and withhold the info she obtains. This seems rather insulting to Bill and his police department.

Show Time is a fun read, with a lot of humorous moments. Here's one of them, part of a conversation between Dodie and Stage Manager Penny."What's going on?"
"Walter is about to strangle Romeo."
Walter gesticulated broadly, than climbed up and down the ladder to demonstrate how easily one could master the steps. Romeo was having none of it. His every gesture said, "No way."
"Angoraphobia," said Penny confidently.
"Fear of rabbits?" I asked innocently.
"Heights."Author Suzanne Trauth's experience as a playwright, screenwriter, and university theater professor is evident in the theater details and realism present in Show Time. Ms Trauth has made a good start to her Dodie O'Dell Mystery series. The second book in the series, Time Out, is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be released on January 17, 2017.

I like Show Time by Suzanne Trauth, and grant it Three Stars.


Note: I received a complimentary copy of Show Time in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Originally published on my blog Jane Reads. ( )
  Jane.Reads | Jun 29, 2017 |
In Show Time, the first book in the Dodie O'Dell Mystery series, author Suzanne Trauth weaves an intriguing cozy mystery tale that easily draws the reader into following restaurant manager Dodie O'Dell's amateur sleuth adventure as she tries to uncover who murdered Jerome Angleton, a retired high school English teacher and dedicated member of the Etonville Little Theater.

Rich in detail and vivid descriptions, the story takes place in the quaint small northern New Jersey town of Etonville, nestled in the shadow of New York City. This captivating and fast-paced whodunit tale has enough quirky characters, witty humor, drama, intriguing twists and turns, and conspiracy theories that will keep you guessing.

This entertaining cozy mystery tale will keep you engaged as you turn the pages following along with Dodie's investigative adventure, and you can't help but get caught up in the drama and calamity that ensues as this sassy Jersey Girl (even though she calls herself a Jersey Shore Girl!) tries to solve the murder while rebuilding her life after Hurricane Sandy destroyed her home and the beachfront restaurant that she managed in a Jersey shore town. Dodie's story unfolds with a wonderful balance of comedy, drama, suspense, and intriguing twists and turns that easily kept me guessing, and left me wanting more.

I enjoyed how the author utilized her extensive professional theater experience to provide the reader with an intriguing look behind the curtain into the production and operation of local community theaters. I would be remiss if I also didn't mention how much I enjoyed that the author chose our shared home state to be the setting of this story. From the richly vivid description of the shore and small town settings, the reader gets a wonderful sample of what New Jersey really has to offer its residents and visitors, and gets two thumbs up from this proud Jersey Girl!

Show Time is an entertaining cozy murder mystery that will engage you to join in the crazy adventures and trials and tribulations that occur, while providing you with an intriguing mystery to solve.

Show Time is the first book in the Dodie O'Dell Mystery Series.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2016/07/show-time-by-suzanne-trauth-bo... ( )
  JerseyGirlBookReview | Jul 29, 2016 |
Show Time by Suzanne Trauth is the first book in A Dodie O’Dell Mystery series. Dodie O’Dell is the manager of the Windjammer restaurant in Etonville, New Jersey. Dodie left the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy. Etonville is a quaint small town and Dodie made a good friend in Lola Tripper. Lola is a retired science teacher who now spends her time at the Etonville Little Theatre (ELT for short). Dodie convinced Windjammer’s owner, Henry, to start a dinner and theater affair. Dodie creates special menus (themes) to go along with each ELT production. ELT is getting ready to hold auditions for their latest play which is Romeo and Juliet. Walter Zeitzman, the director and general factotum, decided to try Shakespeare (ELT has not done works of the Bard before). Lola convinces Dodie to help out during the auditions. Walter’s assistant, Penny tends to be a little scatterbrained and disorganized. Jerome Angleton is friend of Dodie’s. Jerome is another retired teacher (English) who acts in the theater’s productions. Jerome and Dodie share a love of mystery novels. Jerome confided in Dodie that money has been disappearing from the theater, and Jerome has been looking into it. Unfortunately, Jerome is found dead on the theater’s loading dock before he concludes his investigation. Dodie wants to find out who killed her friend and sets out to get answers in between her work at Windjammer and helping out with the production of Romeo and Juliet. Chief Bill Thompson is new to the town and could use some help (Dodie cannot help but notice his handsome exterior). Bill is not privy to the gossip at ELT nor is he familiar with all the citizens of Etonville yet. It turns out that Jerome had some secrets (who doesn’t). Follow Dodie as she unravels the clues to find the killer.

Show Time has some interesting characters (Dodie, Lola, Carol), and I liked the theater aspect. However, I found the book to be slow paced (it seemed to drag at times) and the book was not holding my interest. There are many characters (and they all seem to be quirky and troubled) thrown at us in this first book as people are trying out for Romeo and Juliet. The author tried to make the mystery complicated (we are led on a merry chase), but it is actually child’s play to solve (the killer stood out like there was a flashing, neon arrow over the culprit’s head). There are way too many references to Dodie’s car which she refers to as “my metro” (I have no clue what that is). It was entertaining to read about what goes into a small town theater production. I give Show Time 3.5 out of 5 stars (It was okay, but needs some work). The series does have potential, and I will read the next book in A Dodie O’Dell Mystery series.

I received a complimentary copy of Show Time from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel. The opinions and comments expressed are strictly my own. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jul 20, 2016 |
This new series' central character Dodie has moved to a small town in NJ after her home and employment are destroyed on the Jersey shore by Hurricane Sandy. Dodie has made new friends and found a job as a restaurant manager but when a friend asks her to help at the local theater, Dodie jumps in. The theater staff want her to use her skills keeping rehearsals running on schedule, but finding another friend dead on the loading dock, has her switching priorities to find the killer.

The story started out a little slow and the characters definitely need a bit more individuality. (I had trouble keeping some of them straight mainly because they didn't have full names and backgrounds) Just a name doesn't give an idea of where a character fits in the story and if that name isn't frequently used, then you run into trouble.

I can see potential in the series. ( )
  cyderry | Jul 3, 2016 |
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Lyrical Underground (Kensington Books) in exchange for an honest review.

This is the first book that I have read by this author (I include notes like this so that readers of the review know ‘where I’m coming from’ – if it’s the 1st book I’ve read by an author my interactions with the author’s work would be different than this had been the 21st book I’ve read).

This book is a cozy mystery set in New Jersey. There is something of a romance, but not capital R romance. As far as I can tell, everyone in this book is heterosexual.

Characters
Main
Dodie O’Dell is a woman who has a degree in management and had lived her whole life on the Jersey Shore (except for an internship in Pittsburgh). Hurricane Sandy, though, has forced her to relocate – what with the restaurant that she managed damaged (there might have been something about a damaged dwelling as well, I forget now). She found another place to manage, though, in a small northern New Jersey town called Etonville. She works at Windjammer which is directly adjacent to the Etonville Little Theater (ELT) – a place that puts on plays using live actors. And a place that Dodie is talked into helping out at.

Police
Chief Bill Thompson – is the chief of police. Former NFL player. Former member of the Pittsburgh police.

Suki Shung – is a police officer (and possibly only non-white person in the entire town).

Ralph Ostrowski – is a police officer (and lazy).

Edna May – is the police dispatcher (and actress at ELT).

Townspeople/Others
Lola Tripper – is a former high school teacher who is connected to Walter and acts in ELT productions.

Carol – hairdresser and mother of Pauli. Pauli is a computer geek who helps set up a website for Dodie’s restaurant.

Henry – owner and chef at Windjammer. Is tense because a newish restaurant, La Famiglia has opened up in the town, and Henry has always been the best restaurant in town.

Benny – works at Windjammer.

Elliot Schenk – former and current member of ELT. Works or worked in finance (‘on wall street’).

Penny Ossinging - incompetent stage manager.

Morty and Marshall Wendover – work many businesses, including authentification of documents.

Random mix of others – there are others mentioned, some with lines, some without, but who play a small enough role I can shove them here in others. Without naming.

Murder Victim
Jerome Angleton is an older man, a retired high school teacher, who worked in the box office at ELT, and, at times, acted on stage.

Romance
There are at least four or more romantic relationships mentioned in this book, not counting the part where the play Romeo & Juliet is being staged for a performance by a small theatre. Most are learned along the way, one or more would be kind of spoiler-y to mention now. The only one I can mention directly would be the one that is ongoing when the book opens – that of Lola and Walter. Lola’s Dodie’s friend, and Walter is the director at the Etonville Little Theater.

One of the romantic entanglements plays a key role in the book, but most are ‘just there’ in passing. And one, the only one that shows bits of Romance (i.e., getting lost in someone’s eyes, etc.), is not actually at the official dating stage.

Plot
Dodie, who has relocated from Jersey Shore to Etonville, works as a manager in a restaurant. Her first day . . . either working at Windjammer, or in Etonville, she meets Lola who becomes something like her best friend. Which leads, as such things can do, to a friend asking a friend for help. Or, in this case, Lola asking Dodie to help out in the Etonville Little Theater – they are attempting to stage Romeo and Juliet and they could use all the help they can get.

So, Dodie works in the restaurant and over at the theater. Occasionally meets up with other friends, including Carol, the hairdresser, and Jerome, someone who has a tendency to come over to sit with Dodie during her evening break.

One thing leads to another, and things begin falling apart at the restaurant (not really, just some delivery issues) and at the theater (numerous conflicts/clashes of personalities/death).

Naturally, when death rears its head, Dodie decides to investigate, especially since it involves her something-like-a-friend Jerome. Involves as in he’s dead now. Murdered.

Both Dodie and the police investigate. The police, in the form of Chief Bill, has an odd relationship with Dodie in a ‘thanks for the information’, ‘don’t get in our way’ way. Also the police seem more incompetent than I’d expect. In a – certain things turn up the police should have seen, or found out in routine investigation, but strangely didn’t. I’d say more incompetent than I’d expect, because they have the feeling of being competent people, other than lazy Ralph, yet they keep doing certain things wrongly. *shrugs*

Overall
I liked the book, though there were a few areas I found annoying. Dodie’s experience and knowledge base seemed to fluctuate. Like how she just loves libraries, but has never visited Etonville’s library and acts quite shocked at the idea that libraries might have computers. Then, after one visit, bluntly states that she knows the whole layout of the library. Or how she’s an acquaintance of Jerome’s but acts shocked that the guy would have any interests beyond mysteries (she knows he likes mysteries because he shares his books with her; per chance he knows she likes mysteries so hasn’t mentioned liking other things? Hmms?).

Then there’s the part wherein, already so overwhelmed by the responsibilities heaped upon her that she becomes ill during the course of the book, she still believes that she is better able to handle investigating murder. Than the police. But then this is a cozy mystery involving an amateur detective, or in other words I already knew this issue before going in. And, the police did kind of ask for her help (more of a ‘if you hear anything’ and less of a ‘please investigate’).

But still, despite those few moments of discomfort on my part, I enjoyed the book. Would recommend it. Probably something I’d rate somewhere between 3.8 and 4.2 stars.

May 12 2016
( )
  Lexxi | Jun 26, 2016 |
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