The Trouble With Charlie: A Novel

The Trouble With Charlie: A Novel

4.1 7
by Merry Jones

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Elle finds the body of her soon-to-be-ex husband, Charlie on her sofa, stabbed to death with her kitchen knife. Elle's close friends stand by her through the difficult funeral, but Elle alone must face the loss of the man she'd loved. Except that the loss is not total--Charlie is still around. Elle feels his presence, smells his after shave. Hears him accuse her of…  See more details below


Elle finds the body of her soon-to-be-ex husband, Charlie on her sofa, stabbed to death with her kitchen knife. Elle's close friends stand by her through the difficult funeral, but Elle alone must face the loss of the man she'd loved. Except that the loss is not total--Charlie is still around. Elle feels his presence, smells his after shave. Hears him accuse her of killing him. And even though she doesn't believe in ghosts, she argues with him, asserting her innocence. Oddly, Elle has a gap in her memory; she can't account for her activity during the time of his murder. As she tries to clear herself by finding out how Charlie died, she discovers that she had plenty of reason to kill him. Charlie had secrets. Infidelity. Unsavory business associates. Involvement with an international organization of sex abusers. The more she learns, the more danger she faces. As unscrupulous people begin to fear she'll expose them, Elle races against time to avoid arrest, fight off attackers, solve the murder, and make peace with Charlie's spirit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jones makes the most of her plot twists in this solid stand-alone featuring Philadelphia elementary schoolteacher Elle Brooks. Elle’s marriage to Charlie Harrison is at an end, their divorce waiting to be finalized. On returning home after a night out with her girlfriends, Elle is unsettled by indications that Charlie, despite having moved out, is in the townhouse with her, including what feels like a light kiss on theback of her neck and a long-stemmed rose lying on the kitchen floor. She grabs a knife to protect herself, only to find Charlie dead, stabbed in the back. As the obvious suspect, Elle finds that clearing her name is complicated by frequent, unexplainable gaps in her memory that have even Elle doubting her own innocence. Not much depth, but the brisk prose keeps the pages turning. Agent: Rebecca Strauss, McIntosh & Otis. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Merry Jones opens some dark doors in The Trouble with Charlie. It's devious, creepy, brilliant, and wicked fun. I absolutely loved it, cover to cover."

—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Assassin's Code and Flesh & Bone

— Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Assassin's Code and Flesh & Bone

"Jones makes the most of her plot twists in this solid stand-alone featuring Philadelphia elementary schoolteacher Elle Brooks...brisk prose keeps the pages turning."
Publishers Weekly

"The characters, in The Trouble with Charlie, both living and dead are engaging and the dialog is crisp and fun to read. The running dialog in Elle's head is enough for me to recommend this book. The twist and turns of Elle's adventures gave me whiplash and I was caught up in the puzzle that was Charlie's death. This mystery thriller was a tantalizing adventure and I highly recommend it."
Literati Literature Lovers

"...great fun even though there's quite a high body count and obvious danger to our amnesiac heroine... The Trouble With Charlie is very entertaining and the structured revelations as odd pieces of memory return are elegantly handled. Overall, I conclude the book is well worth picking up as a mystery shading into a thriller when the mood takes it that way."
Thinking About Books

"The Trouble with Charlie is an absolute delight. Don't miss it. Fun reading."

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Product Details

Oceanview Publishing
Publication date:
Elle Harrison Thriller , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
2 MB

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The Trouble with Charlie 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
Finding a novel of suspense that delivers the goods is always a pleasure and The Trouble with Charlie is no exception. The whole idea behind suspense, for those of us who love to read mysteries, is to keep us wondering about one or more things in particular. Frequently, it’s about whether the lead character will survive but, in this case, we don’t have to worry about that; since the protagonist is the past tense narrator, she obviously does. We do get to wonder about who is going to be killed and who is going to do the deed(s) and there is no shortage of possibilities. We also get to wonder about motives and, as the story progresses, there are more and more options. What sets this book apart a bit is the author’s use of amnesia. Sometimes we mystery readers think amnesia is a much too convenient excuse but, here, Merry Jones has added the issue of a long-term psychological disorder and we’re left completely baffled by what Elle is really seeing, hearing, smelling, remembering and what is hallucination. Even the fact that she has conversations with her dead husband is puzzling—is he a ghost or is his presence all in her mind? I also have to commend Ms. Jones for her characterizations. Nearly all these people are vivid and easy to identify even when they’re in a group. Whether they’re likeable or not, you understand their essence. Unfortunately, there’s a significant TSTL factor at play and that’s a real shame because Elle is a likeable person. True, she has a lot on her mind but some of her behavior is just beyond rational explanation. I also found it puzzling that she is so very weak when it comes to standing up for herself when she’s face-to-face with people whose personalities are stronger than hers. Despite all that, I did find The Trouble with Charlie very entertaining and I kept right on reading because, well, it’s a darn good story.
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
I am grateful to be able to recommend another mystery to my readers. Mysteries have become the most difficult "good books" for me to find lately, and I was pleased that this one turned out better than I thought. I could have done without the profanity--that is honestly my only complaint. I was relieved to discover that the book ended the way it should have--too many mysteries don't that are written in this day and age.  The author is to be commended. This book is written completely from the perspective of Elle. This makes the story sometimes very confusing because her mind tends to wander in stressful situations. I found myself wondering what was real and what was not. I wondered if she was hallucinating or dreaming or what. It was this writing device that kept me reading and quite intrigued.  I am also glad to report that there was no gratuitous violence. I grow tired of mystery books that are full of blood, guts, and gore. The descriptions in this book are what you would expect from a mystery book. There is blood, but no guts and gore. And at least the "hardcore profanity" only comes from the "bad guys."  If you are looking for a mystery that will keep you hooked and possibly even a little frazzled from the beginning, I would definitely recommend this book to you. The author does an excellent job of getting into Elle's brain, and there is a good chance that you will find yourself second-guessing yourself and wondering what exactly is happening. And I believe that is what the author wants you to feel and think. I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
Sometimes exes won’t leave you alone, especially if they think you’ve killed them. When Elle Harrison comes home from a night out with friends, she finds her soon-to-be-ex-husband Charlie in her den. The big problem is Charlie has one of Elle’s kitchen knives in his back. To make matters worse Elle can’t remember what she was doing during the time he was killed. Despite Charlie being dead, he doesn’t seem to be gone from Elle’s life. She senses his presence all through the house sometimes it’s the smell of his aftershave or a gentle kiss on her neck. Then there’s the rose that moves from room to room seemingly on its own. Now Elle finds herself arguing with a shadow that appears to be accusing her of murder. While she has been diagnosed with a Dissociative disorder causing her to ‘space out’ under stress, it doesn’t prove her innocence. To find out what happened, Elle begins to really look into Charlie’s life. As she searches, Elle discovers more problems than she imaged and numerous suspects with unusual motives. Elle’s investigation puts her in danger as she becomes involved in more murders and a struggle for her own life. Meanwhile, in a strange twist Elle finally comes to understand Charlie even though he’s dead. Author Merry Jones has created a host of zany characters that you can’t help but like. They are well-developed and realistic with strengths and flaws that readers can relate to. She combines suspense, murder, humor, friendship, a touch of romance and a dash of supernatural into a well-balanced story. Narrator Tanya Eby does an excellent job bringing the numerous characters to life, providing a distinct voice for each. She conveys the various emotions of the characters throughout the story with her vocalization and cadence. The story flows at a steady pace with the right amount of twists to keep readers on the edge of their seats. The suspense will have readers guessing did she or didn’t she until the very end. The bits of humor sprinkled throughout the story adds flavor and blends in well. THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE details a story of betrayal and blind commitment that rings true in real relationships. Elle is a protagonist that grows as the story develops to become a compelling character readers will want to visit with again and again. This is a fun read that will keep you guessing. FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this book as part of the author’s virtual book tour. An eBook copy of the book was sent to me by the tour promoter and an audio version of the book was sent to me by the publisher. Both were sent in hopes I would review them. However, receiving the complimentary copies did not influence my review.
Emmy0 More than 1 year ago
what a page turner... enjoyed this novel very much..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I will definity be reading more from this author. It wasn't what I expected, there was a movie a long time ago with Debbie Reynolds and it eas called Goodbye Charlie. I thought it was like that but it wasn't. But anyway I really liked this some humor and mystery
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
 Boy, this book was not at all what I thought it was going to be about. It is told from Elle's point of view, and with the gaps and fuzziness in her memory, you can't be sure that the information that you are getting is what is actually correct.  It really made me feel what Elle must have been feeling.  Sort of a disconnect to reality, not knowing who you can trust - or even if you can trust yourself. She has a great group of friends who support and believe her even when the police are closing in.  It helps that one of these friends is a lawyer and is able to give her counsel (even though she doesn't always follow it!)  So, she is suspect number one in the murder of her husband with even Charlie's ghost (or one of her hallucinations - she doesn't know which) accusing her.  She decides that the only way she can prove her innocence is to find out who actually killed him.  She doesn't know where to begin, but when her husband's partner Derek shows up asking lots of questions, it begins to formulate some ideas in her head. As she digs, more dead people show up, which just bring more questions. I liked the way the story was told, with us only learning things as Elle learned them. Because she wasn't even sure if she had killed Charlie, I didn't know either.  Some of the things that she found out in the end did take me by surprise, and in my mind, not all loose ends were wrapped up - so wondering if we will see more of Elle and her friends in the future.  The book was written without chapters, just breaks.  Normally this drives me nuts, but I read this book so quickly that it didn't bother me this time!
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
After ten years of marriage, Elle Harrison is divorcing her lying, cheating, inheritance stealing husband Charlie. But her chance to move forward with her life takes a traumatic setback when she comes home from a night out with best friend Becky at a local bar to discover Charlie sitting on the couch in her den stabbed to death in the back with one of her kitchen knives. Everything turns into a blur for Elle, she doesn't know why Charlie is in her house or how he was killed, she doesn't even remember portions of her day. Could it be that Elle killed Charlie? Has she "pulled an Elle" by zoning out like best friends Susan, Becky, and Jenny claims she always does, or has something more sinister occurred and Elle is the scapegoat? The Trouble With Charlie is an intriguing whodunit that engages the reader in solving the mystery all the while keeping them guessing along the way. Author Merry Jones weaves an entertaining tale of murder, mystery and suspense set in Philadelphia and written in the first person narrative with Elle Harrison taking the reader along for the ride on her zany adventure to uncover the mystery surrounding the murder of her soon-to-be ex-husband Charlie. Mixed with humor, danger, paranormal involvement, potential suspects and enough twists and turns that keeps you turning the pages until the surprising conclusion, you'll find yourself recruited as one of Elle's amateur sleuths on a quest to solve the puzzle that was Charlie's murder. The author weaves a masterful tale that takes the reader in many directions: between the murder mystery, Elle's psychological backstory, Elle's relationship with her best friends, and the paranormal activity, you can't help but try and keep up with this fast-paced riveting thriller. With a quirky cast of characters who are very entertaining: from zany Elle and her hilarious best friends Susan, Becky, and Jenny; to ghostly Charlie who communicates with Elle from beyond the grave; to a host of potential suspects who each have a motive for murder; they keep the reader on their toes wondering who really was Charlie's murderer. With witty and humorous dialogue and interactions; an intriguing storyline that takes the reader on a madcap adventure that alternates between the present with Elle's memory flashbacks to the past; and a richly detailed description of familiar Philadelphia landmarks; The Trouble With Charlie is a tantalizing whodunit that will engage your imagination to the very end!