“Death in Advertising” by Laura Bradford

The very beginning of this novel threw me for a tiny loop. It opened with a conversation between Tobi and her assistant/receptionist JoAnn. The way they were speaking in the initial set-up I thought maybe Tobi was a magician or an advertiser for a magician. Then I realized it was simply playful banner. Feeling a bit foolish, I read on to learn that Tobi is a jingle and marketing person who comes up with advertising campaigns…at least she is trying to. Her business is flailing.
Her lucky break comes when she is hired by the Zander Closet Company run by a pair of brothers. One of the brothers she finds a bit attractive and the other she finds off-putting.
We follow her to her second job working in a pet shop and meet some lovely animals, a parrot who right off the bat I thought would be involved with the story, and Sam, a teenage budding photographer, who is the son of the petshop owner.
Once a campaign is ready to begin, she calls in Sam to help out, and we are introduced to another parrot. This parrot is stressed out.
Soon after the “body” of the mystery makes its appearance, Tobi who only just was creating a buzz on the news from her wonderful slogan, the news creates bad buzz about her slogan given what happened. She realizes she needs to solve the whodunit to keep her business afloat when the two companies she had had appointments with cancel on her considering the negative press.
Such a tiny thing, but oh this irritated me, happened at around the 30% mark of this novel. There is a scene is Tobi’s office with one of the brothers from Zander, and it says that they were looking at pictures Tobi had framed in her office. They point out how different they are from their siblings and relate to each other about this. Okay, that makes sense. A common thing to bond over…. BUT “They “laughed for five minutes”?
If this is to illustrate that they have a lot in common? No. That is not something that happens. It is unrealistic. People don’t laugh together for five minutes straight unless it is the tears streaming down the face, way too funny for words type of laughter. Which this wasn’t…Even in the MOST awkward of circumstances, if this was stated to show they were nervousness around each other, even then? highly improbable. I don’t buy it.
I know it is a little thing to fixate on, but it bothered me because the rest of the novel was pretty solid all around aside from the other fact problem I will address in a few moments…
Once Tobi speaks with the housekeeper ( and the next door neighbors housekeeper) she is left with several possible suspects and motivations. After she makes her way past rumor, she learns of some past vendettas that may have some present ramifications.
I loved that the bird “witness” was named Baboo. It made me think of the pet name Sally has for Linus in the Peanuts comic strip.
I also liked that the author made some good use of song choice and vehicle choice to show the different character personalities and quirks. I have a feeling at some point in the series, the fact that Tobi doesn’t own her own vehicle and borrows them from her friends when needed will play a critical role in a mystery!
Onto that other fact problem: bars don’t allow smoking inside anymore. So the second-hand smoke comment didn’t quite fit…then again, “The Car Crash” bar IS supposed to be a dive bar, so perhaps they still allow smoking supposedly? Or she was just thinking about lying to her grandfather so he wouldn’t tag along thinking HE wouldn’t know that smoking was banned? Either way, I’ll let that one slide…even though the description of the bar scene did not come across like that much of a dive to me.
About five pages before the big reveal, I am happy to note that I did figure out the whodunnit.
I, of course, won’t reveal more because it is a worthwhile and fun romp of a read and a great set-up for a series overall. Lots of quirky characters, intrigue, an easy to relate to type of main female character with a bit of a past who happens to be smart, but not too perfect (her diet is terrible for example). It is also neat in a way that this series is being released only in eBook format, not getting a print run. I think that speaks a bit for their target market audience.
Give it a shot, see what you yourself think. I for one know that I will be keeping my eye out for the second adventure for Tobi.
Quick Facts:
Ebook Format

PRICE WILL BE: $3.99 (USD)

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

Expected Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Kensington Books Lyrical Underground
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services

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