Cover Image: Murder Out of Character

Murder Out of Character

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Member Reviews

Are you interested in: a cozy mystery led by a Black main character and generally Black cast set in Georgia?
How about references to the MC’s Brooklyn life as a Peach Coast transplant and how the community assigns that to her personality - in true Southern manner? The character's voice is truly charming and relatable while following a potential suspect in her investigation the MC ducks into a nearby boutique, tells the salesperson that she’s just looking then manages to keep one eye on the suspect and the other on the dresses.
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New York City transplant Marvella "Marvey" Harris works for the Peach Coast, Georgia, library as their fundraising and marketing lead. She's kind, compassionate, and has two good friends in Jolene "Jo" Gomez, bookstore owner, and Spencer Holt, journalist and businessman.

In the first book, Marvey had worked hard to clear Jo's name when Jo had been accused of murder. Here, during a fundraising event, Marvey stumbles upon a list with four people's names on it, one of whom is already dead, and another soon to be, which is unnerving, but what really sets Marvey off on her new investigation is Spencer's name is also on the list. 

Marvey works tirelessly considering possible suspects' backgrounds and motives, while trying to keep Spencer safe and her concerned parents from finding out that she's investigating again. 

Marvey is just so darned likeable. I love how much she cares for others, and feels for them when they are happy or hurting. That she would immediately jump from concern for the people whose names appeared on the list to investigating made sense, especially given how reluctant the police were to take the threat seriously. I also liked how she enlisted the help of her fellow librarians considering suspects, even while she was working hard to raise funds for the library.

As  liked this book, I'll have to check out Marvey's first adventure as a recent Peach Coast resident.

Thank you to Netgalley and to Hallmark Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my review.
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Murder Out of Character is the second book in the Peach Coast Library cozy mystery series (with cat), by Olivia Matthews. Released 23rd March 2021 by Hallmark, it's 336 pages and available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a Hallmark product. It's comfy, cozy, well written, and delivers exactly what it promises. The language is squeaky clean, nary a curse word to be seen. The violence is all off scene and without explicit gore. There's a light romance element but it's not a big focus of the book. Main character Marvey also has an adorable and irascible cat called Phoenix.

The writing is fine, the plotting and narrative arc are well controlled and the denouement and resolution are satisfying. I like that the main character is an intelligent and well written woman of color and that it's not a big deal in the book. She's a smart, competent, intelligent, honest, resourceful librarian who also happens to be black. I would recommend this one to readers of the subgenre (there's even a recipe for southern pralines at the end of the book). I'm looking forward to the next book(s) in the series. Although this is the second book, the mystery is self contained in this volume and it works perfectly well as a standalone.

The unabridged audiobook has a run time of 8 hours 13 minutes and is capably narrated by Janina Edwards. She has a rich alto voice which is soothing and not intrusive and she does a very good job with the large cast of characters. Many of the characters are from the southern US and regional accents can be quite painful to listen to, but Ms. Edwards does a very good job.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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Marvella is a librarian transplanted from New York who has a nose for sleuthing. In this, the second book of the series, she is trying to catch the killer of two people who were poisoned. Were they random victims or were they connected to a reason dating back to their days in high school? The police are not interested in further investigation. After a fund raiser Marvella comes across a list of four names - it looks like a hit list - and her friend Spencer is on the list. No way will she let anyone harm him and that means she will do what librarians do best - research. With the help of other library employees and friends, Marvella will unmask the killer.
If this series is ever made into a Hallmark Movie series I'll be watching. The setting of Peach Coast, Georgia is perfect and the cast of recurring characters had me wanting to pack my bags and go there for a vacation. The mystery itself was well developed and came to a very satisfying ending.
My thanks to the publisher Hallmark Publishing and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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A well plotted cosy mystery, Murder Out of Character is full of mystery and intrigue. I enjoyed the characters and the story and will recommend and look to read more by this author.
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This really lived up to the Hallmark Channel seal on the cover. The main character just seemed so perfect - to her detriment, for my reading preferences. I’m trying to go into this review with as much objectivity and fairness as possible. This is hard because, OMG, I can’t get over how many times I rolled my eyes.  

There has been a death in Peach Cove. And then another two weeks later… a coincidence? Maybe not, especially since Marvey, Peach Cove’s newest resident, finds a list of four names - two of which have already died under mysterious circumstances. Now Marvey has to race to find out who is behind the list and the deaths of Peach Cove’s residents before the next name on the list is killed. 

I kept struggling to finish this book. It should not have taken me as long as it did to finish. I could put down this book, and be ok with not picking it back up.

In regards to the characters, I’ll only discuss Marvey, the main character, because she’s the narrator, it’s told from her POV, and the other characters were pretty much one dimensional. 

Marvey is perfect. That’s the only way to describe it. I have come to realize I don’t like perfect characters, it doesn’t sit well with me. Unrealistic characters should belong in fantasy stories. If you’ve seen ANY Hallmark Channel movie, you know this seems to be some sort of requirement - they hit the mark in this sense. But this is also why I don’t watch the Hallmark Channel. 

The writing was easy to follow, however, it seemed to prolong the story at times. I feel like the story could have been shorter; the pace was slow. I do like that everyone is a suspect, and up until they are discounted, they have probable cause to be the killer. I don’t know what it was, maybe it’s my history with thrillers/mysteries, but I was able to pick out the killer in the first 25% of the book. 

I read this as an e-book, and it is listed as having 336 pages. 

I requested this book because I saw the words “cozy mystery”, and the plot seemed interesting. I looked at it and thought of the cozy mysteries I’ve read in the past (see: “Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery” series, “Murder, She Wrote”, and Agatha Christie). Where I went wrong was not noticing the Hallmark Channel seal on the cover. 

I like the idea of this book - but, no, I did not like this book. I can see how it would be perfect for someone else, but it’s not for me. 

This story is good for people who just want a super cozy mystery where you may be able to figure out who it is in the beginning, but want to stick around to find out how it plays out. If you enjoy the perfect Hallmark Channel stories, this is for you. 

Ratings
Overall: 3/5
Heaviness: 1/5


Thank you NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing for an advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.
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This was a nice, easy read. Marvey and her friends solve the mystery of who killed two people and has a hit list of two more- including her best friend. Enjoyed the setting of a small Georgia coastal town. Look forward to reading the previous book and future ones.
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“Murder Out of Character” the 2nd instalment in A Peach Coast Library Mystery series by Olivia Matthews set in the small town of Peach Coast, Georgia. What a great follow up to book one!

Marvey, a small-town librarian, finds a mysterious list of names…
and what happens next can’t be a coincidence!

I really enjoyed this story, and visiting with Marvey, Spence, Jo and the rest of the library staff again.  I love the small town charm, the hint of romance between Marvey and Spence and I really love Phoenix her grey tabby cat.

The mystery is interesting, well plotted, with just the right amount of twists and turns. Overall this was an entertaining, fun easy read.

I recommend this book to all my cozy lover friends. I am looking forward to future books in this series.

I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from Hallmark Publishing and NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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You're a librarian and Community Engagement Director for the Peach Coast Library.  You discover a list of four people, including your friend, Spencer.  Hopefully, you're looking at a fundraising list but soon you find out it may be a "death list".  What's your next step!  If you're Marvey Harris - librarian and director, you use your sleuthing skills to uncover a murderer!

What a fun mystery!  Marvey is a relatable and smart character I loved.  Her relationship with her brother, friends and parents are realistic and fun to read.  The mystery kept me guessing with red herrings galore!  I enjoyed the descriptions of small town life and the characters who live in Peach.Coast

Settle in with this small town mystery you'll love - I guarantee you'll be ready for Marvey's next mystery!
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I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher (#Netgalley #HallmarkPublishing) for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review. Marvey Harris is a librarian and the director of Community Engagement for the Peach Coast Library.  She is also an amateur sleuth.  She and several library employees host a fundraiser.  As Marvey begins cleaning up after the event, she finds a list with four names on it.  Hank Figgs, Nelle Kenton, Brittany Wilson and her best friend Spence Holt.  They find out that Hank Figgs has died of a heart attack and now Nelle Kenton has also died.  Marvey and Spence head to the police station with the list and voice their suspicions.  The police, however, do not feel that there is anything sinister happening and they dismiss their concerns.  It is later determined that both Hank and Nelle were poisoned.  Marvey is determined to find the killer before any harm comes to anyone else.  This was an excellent mystery.  The book was well written and the characters were described very well.  Marvey is a strong and determined woman and very admirable.  I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.  I will be reading more books by the author.
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I enjoyed every minute of reading (and listening) to MURDER OUT OF CHARACTER, Book #2, in Olivia Matthews' Peach Coast Library Mysteries Series. While I also enjoyed MURDER BY PAGE ONE, which created the background for this series and is a solid mystery, this addition advances and develops several elements of the series.

There is a uniqueness to the mystery plot which I found quite interesting. When Ms. Matthews’ amateur sleuth, Marvey Harris, small town librarian, finds a list of names at a fundraising event, she is immediately convinced that it is a hit list, because one of the persons on the list is dead and a second soon dies. Marvey, at first, is the only one who takes the list seriously, but is able to persuade her close friend, Spencer Holt, who is on the list, that he is in danger. At first, the local police do nothing to assist, but of course, Marvey and her ‘library’ friends, set out to discover the identity of the serial killer. What follows are some twists and turns that will satisfy lovers of the genre, even though I figured out the killer before the big reveal at the end.

The book’s sense of community is intertwined with the mystery. Like all small towns, the residents know each other, and the knowledge that one of them is a killer creates the inevitable fear and tension. Marvey is still adjusting to the quirks and quaintness of a small-town lifestyle but already feels a sense of belonging. Even the visitors to Peach Coast, like Marvey’s parents, quickly feel at home.

One of the other things I enjoyed about this book is the fact that the author’s love for libraries, books and reading is clear. The focus on books and the library setting is no coincidence but used by the author to advocate for funding for libraries and to emphasize the importance of reading. Ms. Matthews must be lauded for this.

Because this review is based on the audible version of MURDER OUT OF CHARACTER, I cannot fail to mention the excellent narration by Janina Edwards. The smoothness of her voice, with just the right amount of passion, humor and empathy, makes the listening experience a satisfying one.

MURDER OUT OF CHARACTER is an excellent cozy mystery and Ms. Matthews continues to establish herself as a vibrant voice in the genre.
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I LOVED this cozy mystery the book moved at a good pace and had thrills along the whole way!!!! I loved the setting of Peach Coast and all the eclectic townspeople were great!!!! It was very well written and kept me hooked from start to finish and I never guessed the villain in this book so it was a shocker for me a good one!!!!!

Much thanks to #netgalley and #HallmarkPublishing for selecting me to read and review this ARC 

I will also post a review in the Facebook group I created @DOMESTIC THRILLER READERS BOOK CLUB
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I received a complimentary copy from Hallmark Publishing and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Murder Out of Character is book 2 in the Peach Coast Library series and follows librarian and amateur sleuth Marvey Harris. The book starts at a fundraiser where Marvey picks up a list with four names on it -Hank , Nelle, Brittany and Spence Holt. When two people on the list die and so begins the quest to find out if the list is a murder list . With the help of the librarians she is determined to find out who is responsible for the list and the murders.

What I loved about the book: The location of the story , the characters and the way peach cobbler became everything I thought of
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Murder Out of Character is the second book in the Peach Coast Library Mysteries by Olivia Matthews.  In this series Marvella (Marvey) Harris has relocated to Peach Coast, Georgia from New York and is employed by the Peach Coast Library as the director of community engagement. 

In this installment, Marvey discovers a handwritten list of four names on the floor after an event at the library.  One of the names is that of Marvey's good friend Spence Holt an another is the name of a man who had recently passed away.   A few mornings later, Marvey reads in the newspaper  that another person on that list has died also.  She immediately takes the list to Spence and while he discounts her concerns that the list is a hit list, he does agree to accompany her to inform the police of its existence.  When the police also discount her concerns about the list, Marvey recruits her co-workers, her best friend Jolene and Spence's best friend Nolan to try to solve the mysteries and protect Spence.

Through creative scene description, character development and relationship building, this author has brought a multidimensional and intriguing series for readers to enjoy and follow.  With the addition of unique twists and motives that reach into the history of the characters involved, the reader is led in multiple directions for the culprit who ends up being a total surprise at the final revelation.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Hallmark Publishing and am leaving this review voluntarily.
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Murder Out of Character is book #2 in the Peach Coast Library Mystery series by Olivia Matthews.

Marvey is heading a big fundraising effort and during the cleanup, a list of 4 names is found. One is the name of a recently deceased community member.   Another name is Marvey’s friend, Spenser Holt.  The list soon becomes an important piece of evidence.

This is a wonderful series that would make a nice cozy mystery TV movie.  Marvey and her friends and family are likable characters.  The texts between Marvey and her brother are funny.  It’s very tense whether they’ll find the murderer in time.  I think one of the things l like is that it is so realistic regarding moving down South and getting used to the pace, the need for extensive small talk, etc.

Thank you to the author, Hallmark Publishing, and NetGalley for the free copy of this book and I am voluntarily leaving a review.
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Murder Out of Character (Peach Coast Library 2)
Olivia Matthews



Marvey is a new librarian in Peach Coast, Georgia. She is a New York transplant, of only five months. Everything is still very fresh for her. Marvey while excited about her new, everything.  Is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her parents. After the Summer Solicitation Drive Cocktail library fundraiser, she finds a note. Suspicion, family, murders, and a possible romance all begin to bloom in this second library mystery!  Spencer Holt and Marvey have chemistry but are just friends so far. 

I enjoyed the storyline and main character Marvey.  It took me until the end to be sure of the murder. Ms. Matthews makes it super easy for new readers to feel welcome. Please remember this is a Hallmark Mystery, so no gratuitous murders, or foul language. This is simply a well written mystery set in a small Georgia town. I look forward to seeing where the author takes this series. 4****



Olivia Matthews is a pseudonym for author Patricia Sargeant. Ms. Sargent also writes as Regina Hart.


Olivia Matthews
    1. Murder by Page One (Peach Coast Library 1)
    2. Murder Out Of Character (Peach Coast Library 2) 09/14/2022
    3. Against the Currant (Spice Isle Bakery 1) Releasing 01/24/2023
    4. Hard Dough Homicide (Spice Isle Bakery 2) Releasing 05/23/2023
    5. Mayhem &Mass (Sister Lou 1)
    6. Peril & Prayer (Sister Lou 2)
    7. Alibis & Angels (Sister Lou 3)

Regina Hart
    1. The Anderson Family (2 books)
    2. Finding Home (5 books)


Patricia Sargeant
    1. The Brooklyn Monarchs (5 books)
    2. You Belong to Me
    3. On Fire
    4. Campaign for Her Heart
    5. Sweet Deception
    6. Heated Rivalry
    7. Meet the Bridegrooms Novella Trilogy




Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC.
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Murder Out of Character is the second book in the Peach Coast Library Mystery series. While I had read the previous book in the series, I actually didn't realize that it was in a series (or that I'd read the first book) until probably a quarter or so through the story. I think it could definitely be read as a standalone with no problems.

I love bookish stories--- and especially cozy mysteries that are bookish with punny titles. This one definitely fits that. This is certainly not the first cozy with a mystery solving librarian--- nor is it likely to be the last--- but I'm not complaining in the slightest. This story is packed full of small town charm, and enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. And just a hint at romance too, which I hope to see more of in the future books in the series.

If you enjoy a good, clean cozy mystery, this is a good one to check out.

**I received a complimentary copy for consideration. All thoughts are my own.
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I think the Peach Coast Library Mysteries will make a fantastic mystery wheel on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. There are some solid elements like the recurring characters of Marvey, Spence, and Jo, the small town setting, the library. A visual medium will better serve the details of every person, every outfit, every room, that bog down the books. It would be wonderful to see the book cover pendants that Marvey creates too.

I really want to like Marvey the librarian sleuth, but it's hard. I get that she's from Brooklyn but someone as well-read as Marvey should not be treating sweet tea and other Southern colloquilisms like a Duolingo lesson. She often comes across as very young like a teenager not someone in her late 20s/early 30s especially with her relationship with her helicopter parents and her crush on Spence, who she repeatedly compares to Batman. Also, if she was really doing 6 miles in 30 minutes during her "Sunday jog" through the trails, she'd be a world class professional runner, not a librarian checking her "Apple iWatch".

Overall, here is an awful lot of time spent describing outfits that could have been spent on the actual plot. Especially of her friend Jo who only dresses in University of Florida colors to match her wrist tattoo. It disrupts the pace of the story and detracts from the mystery of whose bumping off all these people in town and why.

*I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher and I am required to disclose that in my review in compliance with federal law.
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I really wanted to like this book more but it was a struggle for me to get through unfortunately. The storyline was sound but seemed to drag on chapter through chapter as the main character repetitively justified her investigation because her friend was in danger. Will I be tuning in for another installment of this series, probably not unfortunately.
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Really enjoyed the plot of this one. When a list of names is found and the first two are already dead, Marvey will do anything to keep the others safe. 
With the mystery/murder hitting close to home, the story got a little intense, a little more soft boiled than cozy. There were many suspects. I had a feeling of who it was but was surprised by the why. 

I really liked this book better than the first one. I enjoyed getting to know the characters better and seeing relationships developing. Looking forward to more in this series.
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