A Review of GIRL WITH A GUN by Kari Bovee

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

GIRL WITH A GUN is the first novel in the Annie Oakley Mystery Series by Kari Bovee. The historical mystery novel is Kari Bovee’s debut, and it will be published on June 19th 2018 by SparkPress.

Fifteen-year-old Annie Oakley has just joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, and her budding career as a female sharpshooter is not getting off to a good start. Yes, Annie is excelling at her new career, the audience in St. Louis adores her, and she is even besting Frank Butler – the man known as the best sharpshooter in the world. Annie is also taking to her newfound fame quite well. The problem is that dead bodies keep turning up in Annie’s general vicinity. First, Annie’s bunkmate, a young Indian woman, is found dead in their tent. Then Buffalo Bill’s former partner is found shot to death in the stands following one of their shows. Between investigating the mysterious deaths, practicing her tricks, and performing in the show, Annie is also trying to determine why her beloved horse keeps getting sick, figure out her potential romance with Frank Butler, and deal with a ghost from her past who is out to ruin her future. To solve the murders and the other criminal acts taking place around the campsite and arena for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Annie teams up with a local female reporter who has a suffragette agenda of her own.

I cannot even begin to describe how excited I was when I first heard about GIRL WITH A GUN. I loved the concept of a mystery novel surrounding Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It was a very anxious wait to get my hands on a copy. As a huge fan of all things related to the American West, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Annie Oakley. The real Annie Oakley might not have solved any murders – or, for all we know, maybe she was an amateur detective – but she was a very fascinating woman. Back in the 1880s, not many women had careers – especially careers in show business. Yet there was Annie Oakley outshooting the best male sharpshooters in the world in various traveling shows and acting as an inspiration to women everywhere. Kari Bovee did an excellent job bringing the characters – both real and made up – to life. And she masterfully recreated Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

GIRL WITH A GUN is a very entertaining, well-written novel. My only complaint is that there seems to be too much going on. There is the main story lies/plot and secondary storylines/subplot. None of it was hard to follow. It just got to be a little too much. Other than that, this is an amazing novel. GIRL WITH A GUN is a captivating romp back to the 1880s and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The various mysteries are intriguing, the suspects are many with solid motives, and the red herrings will keep you guessing.