The Codebook Murders

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

The Codebook Murders is the fourth book in Leslie Nagel’s Oakwood Mystery Series.  The characters are well developed and relatable.  Each of the books in this series can easily be read as a standalone because the author provides great background information.  The storyline is strong, well plotted, and flows smoothly at a steady pace, with more than one viable suspect and plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and guessing.

Charley Carpenter lives in the quiet little town of Oakwood, Ohio with her widowed father, Bobby, who has suffered multiple strokes, and his caretaker, Lawrence Whittman.  Charley’s the owner of Old Hat New Beginnings, and looking forward to moving into the house next door with her boyfriend and ex-detective of the Oakwood Safety Department, Marc Trenault.  Charley and a member of Charley’s Park Avenue Irregulars, a group of teens who help her identify petty criminals and come to her for advice, Katie O’Malley, get caught in a storm, and, when the tornado siren goes off, they take shelter under the brick archway leading to the school’s football field.  Merritt Vance, the school janitor, finds them there and leads them down into a service tunnel that leads to the school moments before the tornado hits.  While in the tunnel, Charley finds an old backpack that contains a journal that was written in code belonging to Regan Fletcher who was murdered forty years ago.  Regan’s boyfriend, Carter Magellan, was convicted of her murder and had served almost twenty years when someone else claimed responsibility.  Three years after Carter’s release, the confession was recanted.  One of Katie’s friends, Priyesh “PJ” Konduru, helps break the journal’s code.  After Katie posted a dramatic tale of the tornado, near death, rescue, the tunnel, and finding Regan’s coded journal, Charley’s house is ransacked, and the journal is stolen from her shop.  Charley has a penchant for tripping over dead bodies and becoming involved in the investigations, so it’s no surprise when she, Marc, and the Oakwood Mystery Book Club gang start looking into things and interviewing people.  They uncover deceit, manipulation, and a blackmail scheme targeting many Oakwood residents.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
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The 4th edition in Oakwood mysteries open with a disaster that puts into the action and immediately catches your attention. Charley Carpenter finds a backpack that contains a journal that is in code and Oakwood Book Club in action. The notebook decoded shows a link to a famous murder, Regan Fletcher. Her boyfriend was convicted of her murder. Who really kill Ryan? There are more than enough suspects as Ryan's becomes clear.
Marc, Charley's boyfriend is updating the house next door and worrying about Charley getting herself in danger looking into the Fletcher case.
Charley is looking for answers before she ends up like Ryan. 

Disclosure: Thanks to Alibi for a copy through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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The Codebook Murders was the first book in the Oakwood Book Club series I've read and it won't be the last!

While renovating their first house as a couple, Charley Carpenter (owner of a vintage shop and part-time amateur sleuth) and her boyfriend and ex-police officer Marc, work to solve  the 40 year old murder of a high school student, as well as a robbery, in their quaint hometown.  Charley, Marc and the Oakwood book club confront former teachers and students to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I enjoyed Charley's spunk and determination and her love for her family, friends and hometown.  The book club  was made up of such differing personalities that it made for an entertaining group.  The mystery was complex with red herrings, which I love!

You don't have to read the books in order but I am going back and read the whole series to see how the characters developed!  

I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley for an fair and honest review of this book.
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whodunit, amateur-sleuth, law-enforcement, murder, Ohio, suspense  *****  

Some books start out slow but this one starts out in a tornado! While hiding in a tunnel, she finds a young girl's backpack with a journal written in code. Turns out that it is linked to a cold case murder from forty years ago but it's reappearance sparks new serious troubles. Let the sleuthing begin! Lots of plot twists and red herrings along with plenty of suspense make for an excellent read. 
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Random House Publishing Group-Alibi via NetGalley. Thank you!
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An unexpected storm forces Charley and her young friend, Katie, to take refuge in an underground tunnel near the town's high school. She finds a backpack and a journal, written in code, in the tunnel, and starts asking questions. She learns that the journal probably belonged to Regan Fletcher, a girl who was murdered decades ago, and that Regan's then-boyfriend went to prison for the crime, but was freed when another man confessed to the crime. Charley and her friends can't resist digging into the past to find out who really killed Regan.

This is the fourth book in this series, and I have come to like each one a bit more than the previous book. By now, the reader has gotten to know the regularly appearing characters, and I have enjoyed watching the various relationships develop as the series progresses. It is refreshing to find a cozy mystery sleuth who actually works *with the police, rather than forging ahead on her own, although I doubt any police department would be open to this much civilian involvement. 

There were several potential suspects, and I kept changing my mind as more facts and clues were uncovered over the course of the book. I did suspect the person who turned out to be the culprit, along with one or two other possibilities, but the motive took me completely by surprise. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
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First time I have read this author, but never felt lost with what was going on. The mystery kept me guessing. I enjoyed both the mystery, the characters and the town setting. I look forward to more in this series and will try to find the previous books in the series.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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What an exciting addition to the fantastic series.
I became so involved in the plot that I truly forgot I was reading a book. I can’t wait to read more.
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I really enjoy this series and by golly right from page one you are in the thick of things with a tornado getting ready to hit.  Luckily Charley and Katie are spared as they are at the local high school and the resident janitor takes them into the tunnels that run under the property as the storm passes over.  

While down there, Charley comes across an old backpack and finds a journal written in code.  This ends up being tied to a cold case from forty years ago and sets off a whole new look at things.  But first the code has to be cracked and that means lot of red herrings, twists and turns along the way along with a current murder that ties in as well.

I was quite surprised and pleased with the outcome of this cold case.  It was well written and kept me engaged the entire time.  An enjoyable book to add to your summer reading list!
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A new to me series, I've always been fascinated by code breakers' war time stories, this book definitely plays into that element. An old case with an intriguing story with plenty of twists and turns, who could resist?
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This book had a solid whodunit with twists and turns that left me guessing.
I was very glad to see the profanity found in previous books in the series was not found in this latest offering.
I do find the protagonist irritating and the premise that she appears to be the lead investigator (as opposed to the police, and even the police allow her to be involved), a big leap to believe.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
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I enjoy this series and look forward to each new book.  This installment had a few elements that I found interesting.  The first chapter hooked me right from the start.   Charley Carpenter finds herself in the middle of a tornado and when the school maintenance supervisor finds her and her young charge and helps them to safety, Charley finds a notebook that sets off a new murder for the book club to solve.  The journal is written in code and as the story unfolds the plot dealing with code breaking was interesting.  I also liked how the murder had elements that played into the Agatha Christie book being read by the book club.  It has a nice touch.  The mystery kept me guessing with a number of really good suspect that had plausible motives.  There was a twist or two I didn't see coming which always keeps me on my toes.

I am looking forward to more to come in the series and will be back for the next installment.
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The code breaking element was really interesting. I enjoyed the parallels drawn between Agatha Christi's novel and the plot of the current cold case.
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I was captivated with this story from the very beginning.  When Charley Carpenter and her young friend Katie are trapped near the high school during a tornado, they are rescued by Merritt Vance, the school janitor who leads them to safety in the basement tunnel.  While they are down there Charley finds a long abandoned back pack with a journal from 1974 written in code within the bag.  When it turns out to have belonged to Regan Fletcher, a local girl who was murdered forty years earlier, Charlie asks Katie and her friend PJ to decode it.  When her home is broken into and the journal is stolen from her shop, Charley and her boyfriend Marc, along with journalist Berkely Dye and the members of the Oakwood Mystery Book Club embark upon an investigation of the long ago crime for a chance to find answers to the story that have eluded everyone for years.  This is a fast paced cozy mystery with interesting characters and a well developed plot.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am looking forward to Charlie's next adventure.
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The Codebook Murders is part of a series by Leslie Nagel’. The Oakwood Mystery novels can be enjoyed together or separately:

I was hooked from the beginning. 

While escaping a tornado amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter is walking through a tunnel and stumbles upon a journal written in code. It turns out it belongs to Reagan, the small town’s most infamous cold case murdered student.
Regan’s boyfriend, Carter, did time for the crime, but after serving time someone else confesses. However, he recants just before he dies. So who really killed Reagan? 
Well I can tell you one thing for certain - you will not guess the identity of  the culprit. A must read.

I really enjoyed this whodunnit and highly recommend this book. Can’t wait until the next book!
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The codebook murders is a very intriguing story surrounding a cold case that's 49 years old. Interesting characters that will keep you guessing almost until the end.. A real page turner, that you'll enjoy.
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