Ukulele of Death

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Pub Date 02 May 2023 | Archive Date 30 Apr 2023

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Meet Fran and Ken Stein - a private investigator duo who refuse to let a little thing like being not entirely human stop them from doing their jobs.

"Twisty and bonkers and fun" Multi award-winning author Catriona McPherson

After losing their parents when they were just babies, private investigators Fran and Ken Stein now specialize in helping adoptees find their birth parents. So when a client asks them for help finding her father, with her only clue a rare ukulele, the case is a little weird, sure, but it's nothing they can't handle.

But soon Fran and her brother are plunged into a world where nothing makes sense - and not just the fact that a very short (but very cute) NYPD detective keeps trying to take eternal singleton Fran out on dates.

All Fran wants to do is find the ukulele and collect their fee, but it's hard to keep your focus when you're stumbling over corpses and receiving messages that suggest your (dead) parents are very much alive.

Ukuleles aside, it's becoming clear that someone knows something they shouldn't - that Fran and Ken Stein weren't so much born, as built . . .

The Ukulele of Death is the first in a new series of light-hearted, paranormal tinged mysteries that are filled with off-beat humor, heart and the wry wisdom that's E.J. Copperman's signature style.

Meet Fran and Ken Stein - a private investigator duo who refuse to let a little thing like being not entirely human stop them from doing their jobs.

"Twisty and bonkers and fun" Multi award-winning...

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ISBN 9781448309702
PRICE $31.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 18 members

Featured Reviews

E. J. Copperman has created quite a few interesting protagonists in his multiple mystery series, but I think the first Fran and Ken Stein Mystery has the most . . . unusual . . . main characters. Siblings Fran and Ken have their own private detective agency, and their investigative skills complement each other. They have chosen to specialize in finding clients' biological parents because they lost their own mother and father at an early age. It's also worth mentioning that both are very good-looking, very tall, and capable of physical confrontation when necessary. But what really sets them apart is that while they appear human and are definitely not robots, they had been created rather than born.

Their latest client asks them to find a very rare ukulele because she thinks it will lead to her own missing father. But the twisty case quickly involves Fran and Ken in secret identities, cryptic clues, high-stakes auctions, kidnapping, and murders. And it becomes more and more obvious that their scientist parents' research might have dangerous consequences, even years after their fatal automobile accident.

I loved the often-sarcastic, snarky voice of Fran, the appealing narrator, and her reluctance to engage in a budding romance with a local cop. Sure, the reader is called on for the willing suspension of disbelief regarding the siblings' origin, but it's an engaging story with memorable characters who will surely have more to investigate about their own family if there is a second entry in the series.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.

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With an orphaned brother and sister team working as a PI team who helps adoptees find their birth parents. In this inaugural entry, they’re asked to help find a father with only an instrument as the clue. They’re falling over bodies and getting messages regarding their own parents all while trying to solve the case they’re working on. It seems this one is going to be a two for, as Fran and Ken are going to learn more about their own origins as well.

I’ve been a fan of this author’s Guest House Mystery series and really missed it once it ended…but then a few more series came out and each one has been read by yours truly. This one has a great take on the name…Fran and Ken Stein (Frankenstein)…and explains why I love the humor so much. Being a Jersey gal, we have a snarky sense of humor and I love this stuff! Looking forward to seeing where this one goes with the next entry.

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I simply adore E.J. Copperman's books. The writing is always top notch and the story line and characters never fail to pull me in. This was so good!!
I just reviewed Ukulele of Death by E. J. Copperman. #UkuleleofDeath #NetGalley
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I know - not the best reason but I just couldn't resist this title because of the title!! That said "stumbling over corpses" in the blurb is a bit of an exaggeration. It involves Fran and Ken Stein who are private investigators and specialise in finding birth parents for adoptees. The fact that they "lost" their "parents" when they were very young is irrelevant honest... Someone asks them to find their father via finding a rare ukulele - weird but that's not the only weird thing about this story!

The story follows their investigation into this case and other "things that happen" while they are doing that. Fran is the narrator and I quickly came to love the style of her inner dialogues often about her brother. Ken definitely eats Kit Kats the wrong way as far as she is concerned... Their investigation becomes complicated by events which do include the odd body.

To call Fran and Ken a little unusual would be something of an understatement. They are both rather tall and quite strong. Personally I think people should find out exactly why they are different for themselves. This is not a long book but that has the advantage that the pace is quite easily sustained. I guess I wouldn't have minded a bit more narrative however it makes for a crisp story. Equally, for me, there's a rather nice ending which leaves the option for another book. If that arrives I will be as close to the front of the queue for it as I can manage.

This is laugh out loud funny at times, quite edgy at others. There is an interesting/unusual crime story and Fran and Ken's back story is good. It takes some doing to combine crime, a dash of fantasy and humour well however Mr Copperman caries it off for me. This may well appeal to fans of Caimh McDonnell's Dublin Trilogy. Slightly more obscure maybe would be the Sam Ireland Mysteries Series by Jay Stringer; neither of these have the fantasy element but the tongue in cheek crime styles have something in common to me.

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My first read of a book by this author and I really enjoyed it. When the lead characters are named Fran & Ken Stein you know things will be fun. We find out early on that these two are human but built by their parents. Amazingly things that we find weird they never questioned (they get plugged into an electrical source every few days). But from a young age they lived with their Aunt because their parents had died in a tragic car accident. So now they have a PI agency that specializes in helping people find and reunite with their birth parents. And, lo and behold they have a client who wants to find her father and the only clue is that he once owned a valuable ukulele. It is a fun book and mystery, as dead bodies keep piling up, and Fran keeps getting asked out on dinner dates by a police detective. The clues are all there for us, but the entire plot is done in such a way that it keeps you guessing until the very end. Like a said, a fun and entertaining read. And I certainly hope there will be more books featuring these characters!

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Fran and Ken Stein are sibling PI’s that specialize in finding lost parents. When a woman shows up in their office asking them to find a lost ukulele and her father, they take on the case only to have their client murdered, the ukulele lost, and their secret exposed. It turns out that Fran and Ken aren’t exactly normal but are definitely exactly what their parents made of them. They have to solve the murder, find the instrument, and keep the mysterious Voice from accomplishing his plan to kidnap Fran, all while looking for their own missing parents.

This was such a fun and silly story that I couldn’t help but love it. I was pleasantly surprised with this novel with two gigantic, Shelley inspired protagonists; it was witty, goofy, and absolutely entertaining. In a world of pretensions it is nice to find a book that is meant to be purely enjoyed and not taken apart for some deeper, hidden meaning. The first person narrative is fun and friendly, and really allows Fran’s personality to take center stage. Her interactions with her brother Ken are so well written that I swear I have had similar conversations with my own older brother. I’d love to see a subsequent book in this series written from Ken’s POV so we can get to know him better and to see just how well Fran knows him. The humorous nods to Frankenstein when the power goes out had me giggling and I am rooting for the romance between Fran and Mank. Overall this book was humorous with characters that may not be as smart as they are strong, has a fun story line, and it a quick read. Even if not terribly cerebral, this book was absolutely enjoyable.

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Oh my goodness this was brilliant! Ukulele of Death is part 50% cozy mystery, 50% science fiction and 100% a fun read! We follow Fran and Ken Stein, a sibling P.I team who were made - not born. The not quite human duo specialize in finding birth parents for clients who were adopted and are looking to reconnect. Everything changes when a client hires them to find a rare Ukulele, turning their lives completely upside down and sending them on a mission of self discovery and survival. Filled with Shelley worthy puns, murder, mystery, sleuthing and a side of romance this book is so fun and unique!

Check out Ukulele of Death hitting shelves May 2, 2023.

Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Setting the Scene: E. J. Copperman's new cozy mystery series Introduces Fran & Ken Stein. (Think about it.) This brother/sister duo are young, attractive, and unusually tall, with various other unique traits. Raised as orphans from a very young age by their "Aunt" Margie, the two now own a detective agency, with its own unique niche, finding birth parents for adults who were adopted. In this first-in-series, Fran and Ken are hired to find a valuable ukulele that may be the key to finding their client's birth father. However, they soon discover that nothing and no one is what they seem, and they are, in fact, faced with piecing together what a 20 year old fatal car crash, an extremely valuable missing ukulele, a murdered client; and a current fatal car crash have in common? Perhaps nothing, except Fran and Ken, themselves.

What I Thought: Mr. Copperman seems to have hit upon a creative, if somewhat bizarre, premise for his new cozy mystery series. Fran and Ken, as well as Aunt Margie, are intelligent, likeable, and quirky characters with plenty of snark and wit, especially from Fran. Their unusual circumstances create a strong bond between brother and sister, but that does not prevent plenty of sibling banter. As amusing as they are, and in spite of Ken's frat-boy tendencies, these two can take care of themselves; and neither is prone to TSTL moments. That's all very good since there is more action than normally found in cozies. The mysteries, plural, are well plotted, with plenty of red herrings and misdirection to keep things interesting, and come together nicely, for the most part. There is even a bit of a slow burn romance. While all that wit and banter can be a bit much, at times, and, yes, I had to suspend reality, here and there, I found this book refreshing and funny and look forward to more time with these characters.

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Fran and Ken Stein, the latest creations of E. J. Copperman are sibling private detectives who just happen to be manufactured humans whose parents disappeared years ago after creating them. The search for a lost ukulele that may be connected to their parents and the ensuing bodies and mysteries make for a very fun read. I certainly hope for a sequel.

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Fran and Ken Stein are sibling private investigators and specialize in finding birth parents for adoptees.
The sister and brother are not quite human but products of their scientist parents' research. Due to their
parents death in a car crash, there are many unanswered questions.
Hired to find a ukelele by a client who is convinced it will lead her to her father, the police get involved
when the client is found murdered. It is then discovered that the name she gave was false - what
was she really after? Why is their father's name popping up? Are their parents really dead? Do others
know about their origin?
Enjoyable read - look forward to Fran and Ken's next case.
#UkuleleofDeath #NetGalley

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A cozy with a new twist. Fran and Ken are siblings who are bioengineered. They are running a dectective agency that reunites birth parents with their offspring. A new twist of a cozy. Filled with humor, mystery and fun. Thanks#netgalley and #SevernHouse for the eARC in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are mine.

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Siblings Fran and Ken have an unusual backstory, they were made not born. Their scientist parents are missing, on the run and they were raised by their aunt Margie. They run a detective business together, when a client hires them to help her find her father with the one clue a Gibson ukulele it sets Fran and Ken on a journey to their own mysterious pasts and it puts them into dangerous territory. Interesting mystery, fun characters and twist on the Frankenstein story it was a great story and I can't wait to catch up with Fran, Ken and Aunt Margie again. Saying ukulele is fun.

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Fran and Ken Stein are siblings who seem like fairly normal people but like Frankenstein, they were created, not born. Now they have established a detective agency to help people find their biological parents. They are especially interested in this type of case, because they would love to find their own parents. In fact, the plot has the pair trying to find their client's father using a ukulele as a clue while following the latest leads in the case of their own missing parents. I enjoyed the plot. It had a fun mystery and interesting characters. The book is told from Fran's point of view. At times I found her voice a little over the top. Overall a fun mystery. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy in return for my honest review.

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