"Murder Off the Books" By Tamara Berry: Review/Giveaway

Review by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Her involvement in real-life murder investigations may have garnered Tess Harrow a bit of a reputation as both a Black Widow and a Murder Mary in the town of Winthrop, but it also inspired the bestselling thriller writer’s new 400-plus page mystery, Fury Under the Floorboards. Its release coincides with the opening of her bookstore the Paper Trail, a ceremony unceremoniously overshadowed by the appearance of both an immensely popular murder podcaster and Tess’s own mother, Bernadette Springer. One definitely is linked to the other, as the thrice-married attorney is toting along a new young boyfriend, the handsome Levi Parker. That Levi has been implicated – but not convicted - in the deaths of three wealthy widows doesn’t seem to bother Bernadette, but it has Tess and her too-wise-for-her-age 15-year-old daughter Gertie ready to launch their own pre-emptive investigation. It turns out that “Bee” (do not call her Grandma) wasn’t the one in danger though, with Levi dropping dead just after his arrival. When Sheriff Victor Boyd, who eerily resembles Tess’s fictional Detective Gabriel Gonzales, declares Levi’s death to be a murder, it quickly becomes apparent that Bernadette is rising to the top of the suspect list for both law enforcement and the podcaster Neptune Jones.

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Image Source Poisoned Pen Press
While Gertie is thrilled to have the glamorous podcaster and her 35 million listeners in town, Tess is less enthusiastic; especially when Neptune ends up being housed in Boyd’s home while recording an episode that uses Bee as a way of tying up Levi’s storyline. It’s also not the best time for a journalist to be staying with Tess while ostensibly writing about her life as an author, but Tess is hoping to redeem herself in the eyes of the public and the upstate Washington town. That two undercover FBI agents have also settled in Winthrop and become a part of her undeniably unconventional life is both appropriate and convenient, and their skills are added to her growing resources that even include an ethically-challenged but talented hacker.

This is the third in the series and delivers so many unexpected, laugh-out-loud moments that it’s impossible to not be engaged from start to finish. The introduction of Bernadette Springer at first seems to fall into the trope of the heroine dealing with an overbearing, narcissistic mother, but the motives behind her actions reveal her to be an extraordinarily fun and compelling character. Gertie continues to be the absolute best as she helms her mother’s PR and organizes morally questionable promotions, frequently proving herself to be the most mature one in the family. 

Hot FBI agent/handyman Jared Wilson isn’t shy about expressing his interest and feelings for the (slightly) older Tess, throwing off the equilibrium of both her and the equally interested but far more hesitant sheriff. The interactions between the three generations of women are the highlight of this mystery, and the banter and quips that often hide their genuine emotions are clever and endlessly entertaining. The depiction of true crime podcasting is biting and all-too-believable, making this an exhilarating read for mystery and podcasting fans. This is another winner by an outstanding writer.

To enter to win a copy of Murder Off the Books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "off the books,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 12, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up last week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
 Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds like a fun read. Lots of action.

  2. This sounds like a good read. I especially love the cover and title. Thank you for the chance to win. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  3. Great series and I'm looking forward to this book.

  4. Another great series. Also looking forward to reading the book.

  5. New author for me, sounds good! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. I really want to read this sounds like fun. Usersns8800@aol.com

  7. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham

  8. "Murder Off the Books" by Tamara Berry sounds like a very bookish mystery!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com


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