So, what did you think?
One Too Many
North Bay Bohemian, by Charlie Swanson, 4/7/15
By day, Rose Leary writes murder mysteries; by night, she tends bar to pay the bills. Set in 1980s New York City, One Too Many continues the adventures of writer-turned-witness Rose Leary. First captivating readers in Jennings’ debut novel, Bartender Wanted, our witty protagonist is still struggling in all the usual ways, trying to finish a novel while dealing with new management at the bar and strained relations with detective Frank Butler.
That’s when Leary finds the body of a murdered colleague and sets off another round of mystery that escalates the action and the humor. At the heart of One Too Many is Jennings’ fully realized world of New York City. The author calls west Sonoma County home today, but in another time she was a veteran of several Manhattan dives while working as a copy writer and journalist. Here, Jennings creatively culls these real-life experiences for a vividly crafted re-creation where a simple walk down Houston Street comes alive with vendors and colors and where a “promiscuous musk scented the humid air, as if damp sheets tented the city.” It would be easy to get lost wandering these endless streets, but luckily Jennings never lets the action wander, as our heroes must confront a series of dangers and their own suspicions before time runs out.
One Too Many works well as a murder mystery with a mix of murky atmospheres and compelling characters. Leary doesn’t suffer fools, and she isn’t afraid to tell you so. Yet at the same time, Jennings achieves a subtle level of detail throughout the novel in her brief but knowing descriptions of looks and drink orders that read volumes of character development between the lines. —C.S.
Rose Is Back, by Tony Reis
The long desired second Rose Leary mystery brings proof that Rose, never Rosie, is a magnet for corpses and a driving force in solving murders, even if she has a difficult time finding time to write. As a bartender in a restaurant that Anthony Bourdain could have worked in and written about, Rose has many “characters” to fuel snappy repartee and questionable behavior. Add in a struggling love life and serve it up with extra salt to keep the regulars coming back for more. The only problem will be the wait for the next Rosie mystery.
This is the good mystery book you’re looking for!, by K. Barrett
You’ve got to love Rose Leary. She’s smart, witty, independent, and determined not to be the next victim of My World’s killer. Bartender Wanted takes you straight back to New York’s West Village restaurant scene of the 1980s, even if you’ve never experienced it. Filled with wonderful characters and dialogue, this book will keep you turning the pages as you and Rose try to figure out who is killing off the My World staff. I love a mystery that keeps me guessing until the end and that’s what Bartender Wanted did. It was great fun to read. I’m eagerly looking forward to the next Rose Leary mystery.
Mean Streets, by Susan Z. Bono
I’m one of those twisted souls who loves to torture herself with tales of lonely hearts, toxic relationships and terminal illness, but who avoids books and movies featuring hard-edged violence, especially involving women. So imagine my surprise when I practically inhaled every tension-laden page of Bartender Wanted!
Upon reflection, it’s easy to see why. Author Maureen Anne Jennings has created a narrator of such charm and wit I’d follow her anywhere–including places where very bad things happen. Jennings puts me right there with stubborn, plucky Rose Leary as she fends off creepy advances by men she encounters at her job at a bar called My World, tries to get some sleep in an apartment that suddenly does not feel safe, or decides (stupidly but entertainingly) not to bother police detective Frank Butler with more evidence that her life is in danger. Jennings’s vivid descriptions of New York City are often humorous and always evocative.
I delighted in this Rose Leary mystery for the same reason I’ve relished Raymond Chandler’s novels, because what Chandler did for 1940s Los Angeles, Maureen Anne Jennings does for 1980s New York. Let her take you there!
Funny, Smart Mystery with Literary Sensibilities, by Brian Sawyer
I’m not a huge reader of murder mysteries, but I found much to like about this book that transcends any expectations I may have had of the genre. In places funny, witty, gritty, and suspenseful, the book consistently captures dialogue and period (80s New York City) environmental details that ring true, all informed by the author’s obvious intelligent, literary background that bleeds through for a well-read reader with similar sensibilities. As I count myself among those readers, I look forward to the next installment of Rose Leary’s continued adventures.
Speak to me Rosie, by Susan Swartz
I like her sass, her hood, her style, her angst. And yes, she’s right.. gin does taste like hair spray. Wish she were in paper, too.
Can’t Wait for Next Book, by Tony Reis
“Bartender Wanted” is a fun and quick read. Perhaps, too quick, as I am wanting more. Providing a backstage look at working in a restaurant, it combines the camaraderie of “Cheers” with the grit of Anthony Bourdain and the screaming chef of “Hell’s Kitchen”, Gordon Ramsey. All this is just the background for the central mystery: Who is killing the bartenders and why? Rose Leary is a mystery writer with an active imagination. Her own work, reminds of Agatha Christie, but her imagination constantly drives her into danger, unlike Dame Agatha. Exciting, puzzling and fun, I look forward to following Rose in her next adventure.
Sequel Wanted, by Pamela G.
As you stand behind the bar in Rose’s platform shoes, or accompany her through the shadowy streets of lower Manhattan, watch out for bons mots hidden in Jennings’ deceptively simple prose. You’ll find yourself delaying the pleasure of clicking onto the next page in favor of uncovering layered witticisms that lurk in every paragraph.
In our household, we can’t wait to read what Rose will be up to next! And we’re delighted by how easy it was to read the ebook after downloading the kindle app for Mac laptop.
Fantastic whodunnit, by MaineRed
Bartender Wanted provides a terrific view into New York City in the 80s. Gritty and sarcastic but smart and soulful (in the way The Village once was) the storytelling in this book will keep you riveted and wondering who the murderer is, but more importantly why. I am a voracious reader of everything, but especially mysteries and I didn’t guess whodunnit until the final chapters!
A real page turner, by S. Chappell
‘Bartender Wanted’ is cleverly written with a strong cast of characters & keeps you guessing until the very end.
Also a great insight into nocturnal bar life in NY in the 1980’s – Looking forward to discovering what’s next in store for Rose Leary.
Next book, please!, by Betsy Waliszewski
Bartender Wanted is a fun-to-read, well-written crime novel. The main character, Rose Leary, has an edge to her, which I love. The plot was complicated enough that I had to keep track of each character and what part they played in the story, without being confusing. I didn’t guess who-done-it until the very end. I definitely recommend Bartender Wanted to anyone who enjoys detective novels. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.
Sweet Mystery, by Brownie
Jennings is an excellent writer and the mistress of suspense. Anyone who likes mysteries, especially murder mysteries, should really enjoy this book. The characters are compelling!
Great read!, by Graham Cameron
A compelling murder mystery set in NY city which in parts was more thriller! Looking forward to the next in the series.
Murder in the Village, by Charlotte Darwin
Rose Leary of Bartender Wanted is a mystery writer who moonlights as a bartender in a place called Our World in the Village in the 1980s. The previous bartender, a woman, has just been murdered in a way that seems to mimic one of Rose’s own plot elements. When Rose happens on a second body, also a woman who tends bar at Our World, found stabbed in the shower, the story takes off and Rose sets out to discover who the killer is. The action is brisk and the dialogue smart and funny. The Village of the 80s is beautifully evoked. There’s even more than a hint of romance as Rose and the handsome Detective Butler bounce theories off each other as they and connect in a satisfying way. I’ll take my place in line to read the next book in the Rose Leary series.
Loved it!, by Kilomike
Bartender Wanted is a smart, witty, and intriguing mystery. Sharp, sardonic Rose Leary is immensely likable and relatable; someone I’d love to have as a friend. NYC in the 80s is the perfect setting, and the book is delightfully replete with cultural, period, and culinary (!) details. The writing is engaging and enjoyable, and often laugh-out-loud funny. I couldn’t wait to finish it, and recommended it to my husband as soon as I was done so we could talk about it together. And for less than the price of a latte – what a find! I’m already looking forward to the next in the series.
Perfect book to read on a flight, by Ann Spencer
I read this book on flight from SF to Boston. The combination of the sassy lead and fast-paced storyline helped me forget that I was on a bumpy plane ride. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Looking Forward to Next Mystery, by Suzy
I love a good murder mystery, and “Bartender Wanted” didn’t disappoint. The characters were interesting and the storyline kept you guessing.
Looking forward to the next mystery!
Wonderful Weekend Read, by R.Endsley
I bought this book to read while I was snowed in over the weekend and really enjoyed it (even stayed up late because I couldn’t put it down). I love it when I can’t figure out “who done it” before the end of the book. If you’d like a fun, affordable mystery to indulge in, check out Bartender Wanted. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.
Authentic Fun, by Marylou Capes
Bartender Wanted is my first purchase, ever, of an Amazon-published book, and I’m happy to say that my daring was rewarded. Within the first two paragraphs we learn there’s a killer on the loose in 1980s New York City, and we meet a tough-minded woman who’s a bartender-plus-mystery writer as well as an articulate wiseass with a wicked sense of humor. As someone who lived in Manhattan throughout the eighties, I can vouch for the book’s authenticity and flavor; as a reader of mystery novels, I can admire the cleverness of the plot and the sympathetic characters. There’s danger, fun, genuine surprise, and even an engaging romance.
I can recommend Bartender Wanted wholeheartedly.
Bartender Wanted, by Barbara Baer
I’ve just gotten hold of Bartender Wanted via recommendation and it’s terrific. Such a great read I couldn’t put it down and get to sleep. Wanted to know who was going to survive the rash of murders, and how Rose, who’s so savvy and sexy it’s fun just to listen to her, how she was going to do the sleuthing and not get herself done in. Then there was the slow-building romance between two tough people who didn’t want to show sentiment but knew they were becoming entranced. That’s always good. Glad I read ahead of the summary because who wants to know, you want to turn those kindle pages barely able not to skip ahead. I loved the restaurant and bar scene, the feel of the Village that’s really no more but should always be evoked in literature. Couldn’t recommend more highly to anyone loving good mysteries and above all good writing, because Jennings is tops.
Gotta Have the Grit!, by Amy Eden
Remarkably, I was able to feel as if I was sitting right in the scenes while reading this book — Jennings brought the bar-as-world to life. Her descriptions were a big part of that, and the dialogue, too, played a huge role in creating the feeling of the obscure, other-dimension/reality type of bar feeling. These kinds of mysteries — modern, gritty, and in which the city itself is a character — are approachable for people who might not consider themselves longtime mystery readers. “Bartender Wanted” is well-done, it’s readable because the main character is so honest, so real — this book will get the unsuspecting reader hooked on crime!