Sometimes when opportunity knocks, the door you open leads to a closet. That’s certainly the case for Tobi, whose weekends spent cleaning cages in her best friend’s pet shop may soon be over. She’s just landed her first big break—Zander Closet Company needs a catchy campaign slogan ASAP, and Tobi thinks she’s got the right hook to knock ’em dead: “When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place.”
But when a real dead body topples out of a showcase closet, she’s about to discover there is such a thing as bad publicity. To save her fledgling business and not get killed by the competition, Tobi takes on a new pet project: solving the murder. But with a stressed-out parrot as the only witness to the crime, Tobi will really have to wing it to put the cagey killer behind bars.
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Death in Advertising
A Tobi Tobias Mystery
By Laura Bradford
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Laura Bradford
All rights reserved.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
A cliché? Perhaps. But a cliché, after all, is a truism. Which, in layman's terms, means whoever coined the desperate measures thing knew what they were talking about.
Frankly, if you ask me, I think the girl (or guy, in the interest of being politically correct) was a genius. How else could you define someone who'd so accurately described my state of mind without ever having met me? I mean, my life was the epitome of desperate times, my recent behavior the poster child for desperate measures.
I'd tried it all:
Nail biting, check.
Increased chocolate consumption, check.
Hiding from the mailman, check.
A lit match, check.
But none of it had worked.
Wait. Let me rephrase a moment. Technically, the lit match worked (along with the smoke detector and ceiling sprinklers) but we won't go there. Besides, it was a temporary fix.
Which brings me to today's final act of desperation. Granted, it hadn't worked when I was five and trying to clean my room, but with age comes wisdom (or stupidity, as my grandfather was fond of saying).
I yanked open the top drawer of my desk and pulled out a white paper napkin left over from yesterday's brown-bag lunch. Laying it carefully atop the mountainous stack of singed envelopes, I squeezed my eyes shut and willed myself to become one with the Amazing Mumford.
"A la peanut butter sandwiches ..."
I opened my eyes slowly and looked at my paper-strewn desk, everything exactly where it had been when I dove off the deep end into insanity (with not so much as a poof of smoke for my efforts). "Damn."
Maybe a top hat would help. Or a moustache ...
"You okay, Tobi?"
I'd been so intent on running through my mental list of magic paraphernalia that I hadn't noticed JoAnna standing in the doorway. But there she was, a strange look plastered on her softly wrinkled face. I knew that look. I'd seen it a lot lately. Mostly in the mirror.
"Oh. Hey. I, um, can expl —"
JoAnna held up her hand, a knowing smile creeping across her face. "No need. I know exactly what you were doing." She strode across the room and stopped in front of my desk, her eyes soaking up the source of my shenanigans in one quick sweep. "Unfortunately, a magic spell isn't going to pay these, sweetie."
I leaned back in my chair and nibbled the inside of my cheek. She had a point. Or —
"Do you happen to have a cape I could borrow?"
She raised an eyebrow at me.
She shook her head.
"Maybe my cadence was just off."
Judging by her eye roll, I'd say cadence wasn't the issue either.
"Do you have a better suggestion?" I finally asked.
JoAnna folded her arms and lifted her chin. "As a matter of fact, I do."
It was nice to feel the twinge of hope surge through my body at those words. Maybe I hadn't resigned myself to true Eeyore status yet. "Okay, lay it on me."
"Land a campaign."
My left nostril flared, my mouth fell open. It wasn't one of my best looks, but it was all I had at the moment. I mean, land a campaign? What did she think I'd been trying to do the past six months (beyond becoming proficient at finding the minus key on my calculator)?
"Good Lord, Tobi, you can't go in with that face."
I dropped my head into my hands and searched my memory bank for different magic words that would make everything vanish. Including me.
"Okay. I give up. What are you talking about?" I knew my words were muffled, but I just didn't have the energy to pick up my head.
"Ever heard of Zander Closet Company?"
I blew a piece of hair off my forehead in a half-hearted attempt to at least appear as if I were making eye contact. "Zander who?"
"See. They need you as much as you need them."
I tried to stifle the groan before it left my lips, but I wasn't entirely successful. "You lost me, JoAnna. Any chance you could try English this time?"
"Fine. Two very attractive men from Zander Closet Company are sitting in the conference room waiting for you. They're kind of hoping you can turn their company around."
That did it. My head snapped upward and that nostril/mouth thing happened again. Only this time my eyebrow was in on the action.
"Here. Now. Waiting. For you."
"They just showed up. Said they needed to see the head of Tobias Ad Agency. And, sweetie, that's you."
I pushed back my chair and stood, my legs feeling a bit like Jell-O when you first pull it from the fridge.
"Do my eyes look okay? My hair?"
"Yes. Your eyes are beautiful. Your hair looks sensational. But —" JoAnna met me as I came from behind the desk, her hand brushing against my wrist as she plucked a piece of tricolored hair off my sleeve. "There. Now you look perfect. Not a piece of cat fur anywhere."
"Maybe they're animal lovers, and they'll hire me out of a sense of loyalty." At this point I'd take any pity job I could get, just so long as it came with a paycheck.
"Have faith, Tobi. They're going to love you."
I felt a familiar catch in my throat as I looked at JoAnna. I'd been blessed a hundred times over since she'd walked through my door six months ago. She'd come in looking for a secretarial job and quickly became a loyal friend. Her knowledge at getting a business off the ground had allowed me to focus my attention on marketing the agency in the hopes of landing a few big campaigns. She'd done a great job with her tasks. But I'd failed to accomplish mine. Big time.
And now I was faced with the very real possibility that I would have to let JoAnna go. Sure, it would be heartbreaking. But allowing her to stay on without a paycheck was worse.
I grabbed her hand and gave it a quick squeeze. "Cross your fingers, okay?"
"I'll give you my toes too."
I looked up at the ceiling and took a long, slow breath, waiting for a moment to see if Scotty would, you know, beam me up to wherever he takes you. I counted to thirty in my head, just in case he was busy, but nothing happened. Not a big surprise when you considered Scotty's gender. After all, if I've learned anything from my broken engagement to Nick Harmon, it's that you can't count on a man.
Shaking off all sudden yet undeniable thoughts of revenge and torture, I forced myself to focus on the occupants of the room at the end of the hall.
I can do this. I know I can ...
"Here I go."
"I'll hold your calls."
Oh how I wish I could keep from snorting when I laugh. It's one of those less than stellar habits I can't seem to shake. A vice I didn't even know I had until I started moonlighting at the To Know Them Is To Love Them pet shop and Rudder Malone started mimicking the sound from atop his little metal perch.
I looked back at JoAnna. "Ah, that's right. I forgot. The president of Anheuser Busch was supposed to call today, wasn't he? Something about that million-dollar campaign he handed me on a silver platter last week ..."
"It could happen someday." JoAnna waggled her fingers at me. "But it won't if you don't get in there, talk to those men, land their campaign, and keep this place open."
"Is that all I have to do? Seriously? Why didn't you tell me this before?"
Again, with the eye roll. The woman had them down to an art form. "To-bi! Now go!"
When JoAnna syllabized my name like that, it meant she was losing patience. And when she lost that, there was hell to pay. Trust me.
"Okay, okay. I'm going."
I headed toward the conference room at the end of the hallway, but stopped just outside the bathroom door. I'd strategically placed the mirror where it could be used for a quick grooming prior to all client meetings. It wasn't used very often.
I flicked on the light and stared at myself for a moment. My blond hair shimmered in the overhead light and my Carolina Herrera outfit from the resale shop looked surprisingly new. All was good there. But my face was a different story. There wasn't much a brush and well-honed bargain radar could do for the tiny spray of freckles that danced across my cheeks. My parents always said it gave me a sweet look. Which, translated, meant I looked like a kid. And how many business executives wanted to put their company's livelihood in the hands of someone who could pass for a cheerleader minus the pompoms?
I stuck my tongue out at my reflection and then laughed. Sinking ship or not, I was still Tobi Tobias.
Was I still broke? Yes.
Was I still teetering on the edge of homelessness? Yes.
Would I be defeated? No.
At least not yet, anyway ...
I flicked off the switch and looked at the closed door that separated me from the chance to turn things around. For JoAnna. And for me.
"It's now or never."
I turned the handle, plastered a smile on my face, and pulled the door open. The rush of hushed voices inside the room grew silent as both representatives of Zander Closet Company rose to their feet.
"Good afternoon, gentlemen, I'm Tobi Tobias."
It wasn't hard to miss the look of surprise on the face of the taller, better-looking man. It was the same look I'd seen all my life.
The second man had a slightly different expression, but not one I wasn't familiar with. His had nothing to do with the masculine moniker my parents had saddled me with at birth. It did, however, have everything to do with his species' tried-and-true MO — the part that makes them scope women regardless of age or availability (hers or theirs).
Bitter? Moi? Not a chance.
Well ... maybe. Just a little.
But even if I was projecting, I was fairly certain my read on Mr. Roving Eyes wasn't too far off the mark.
While my buddy puffed out his chest to the point of near-button-poppage, the better-looking one grasped my outstretched hand.
"Ms. Tobias, thank you for seeing us without an appointment. I'm Andrew Zander and this is my brother, Gary."
Andrew Zander was a handsome man. He was a good six inches taller than me, so I figured him to be about six feet. His hair was the color of sunlit sand, his eyes an emerald green. The faint lines around his eyes deepened as he smiled, and I suddenly had that Jell-O feeling in my legs again.
"Tobi Tobias, huh?" Gary stole my hand from his brother and held it tightly. "I knew a Kitty Kitrina once."
Reluctantly, I pulled my gaze off Andrew to acknowledge his brother. It wasn't a surprise that Mr. Roving Eyes — I mean, Gary — would know a Kitty Kitrina. In fact, I was pretty sure he knew a lot of women with cutesy little names like that. They were probably all employed just over the Mississippi River in what's known in male circles throughout St. Louis as "The East Side." But it wasn't his boyishly tousled brown hair, thick gold chain, or overly charming eye contact that tipped me off. It was simply the result of a newly tuned radar — a radar that had been draped in naïveté until the day my heart was broken.
But I didn't have to give the guy my heart, just a pitch that would knock his socks off.
"Mr. Zander," I replied as I disengaged my hand.
"You can call me Gary."
I'd only been in the room a grand total of about two minutes, but I could already sense that the Zander brothers were about as opposite as they come. And, if I believed in gambling, I might just be willing to bet the farm on the guess that their relationship with each other was strained. Then again, if I'd had a farm, it would've been repossessed by now.
I motioned to the chairs and invited the men to sit. The dirty look Andrew shot Gary was quick but not missed by me. It was obvious that Andrew was the professional, and Gary the whatever.
"What can I do for you this afternoon?" I sat in a chair across from the two men and employed a trick I'd learned from my days at Beckler and Stanley Ad Agency: I leaned forward, my attention squarely on the prospective client.
"We've got a radio spot coming up on Tuesday, and we are without a slogan thanks to that idiot, John Beckler."
I felt my mouth start to gape at the mention of my former boss but managed to recover before anyone was the wiser.
Andrew cleared his throat and waved his right hand in the air in an obvious attempt to gain control of the conversation from his brother. "I'm sorry, Ms. Tobias, let me give you some quick background."
"Tobi, please. And, yes, background is good."
"We own Zander Closet Company. We specialize in closet organization systems. We opened about six months ago and business has been really slow. I couldn't figure it out for the longest time. I mean, we do just as good a job as these other companies and we're using better materials. Yet no one is calling." I couldn't help but notice the way his emerald-green eyes darkened as he spoke. Mood eyes. Like mine. I tried to focus on his words as he continued. "I was at my wits' end one day and so I did a search on closet companies in and around St. Louis. I figured I'd call some of our competitors and see what kind of deals they were offering. When I flipped to the section for closet companies, I got a glimpse at one of our problems."
Ah, yes, the joys of alphabetical order. A true business killer if there was one.
"It takes a while to weed through the companies who vie for the first spot, doesn't it?" I commented.
Andrew's face brightened. "Exactly. I mean, how many A's can you really put in front of a name?"
"So we need to make you stand out. Make people remember Zander Closet Company." I reached for the pad of paper I kept on the table and pulled a pen from the holder. "Now, what's this about a radio spot and John Beckler?"
"We've got what could be our first real break coming up. You've heard about next week's Home Showcase out in Chesterfield, right?"
Yeah, I'd heard about it. I'd been staring at the ads for weeks, drooling over all the business I didn't have. To Andrew, I said, "Are you one of the businesses being featured?"
"We are. It was a huge coup, but we got in. We're supposed to install one of our premier organization systems into a home owned by Preston and Mitzi Hohlbrook."
This time I was a bit slower when it came to recovering my slackened jaw. "Preston Hohlbrook? As in the Car King himself?"
"The one and the same," Gary interrupted. He drummed his hands on the table and shifted in his seat. "You ever seen those commercials he does sitting on top of the camel? Wearing a crown on his head? Comes across as this hip guy? Well, it's a farce. He's as boring as they come."
It's a good thing Andrew muttered something to his brother at this point because they were too preoccupied to hear me snort. Gary Zander really was a piece of work.
"Yes, Tobi, Preston Hohlbrook from Hohlbrook Motors," Andrew said, shooting daggers in his brother's direction.
"That's great visibility for you."
"It certainly could be. But we've got to get Zander Closet Company in people's heads before the Showcase. Otherwise they won't be looking for our work. And that's why we're here."
I nodded, my thoughts still on the name Gary had uttered earlier. As much as I wanted — no, needed — this job, I had to know if John was involved.
"You mentioned John Beckler before. Is he working on part of your campaign?"
"That lazy sack of —"
"Gary, enough," his brother said.
But for once, I wanted Mr. Roving Eyes to continue. Slimeball or not, Gary Zander obviously had a handle on the personality of my former boss. So good, in fact, that I had to wonder if I'd been a bit rash in my estimation of Andrew's brother.
"Hell, Andrew, he's that and more. We've got 'til Monday afternoon to come up with a slogan that's gonna make us stand out. That's three days. He dragged us around by the ear only to come up with zip."
Sounded like the John Beckler I knew, all right. Sit back, do nothing (or do something incredibly stupid), and then leave the task of damage control to his business partner.
"So you were working with John, but you're not now?" I could feel my cheeks pushing upward, the adrenaline coursing through my body. This was sounding a lot like a chance to show John who was best once and for all.
"We fired him," Andrew said before his brother could speak again. "We should have known better when we met with him and he kept talking about all his other clients instead of focusing on us. And the partner? Mike Stanley? He basically sat there the whole time and didn't say a word. Just kept chewing tobacco through the whole meeting —"
The first few notes of the theme from Jaws interrupted the conversation. I wasn't surprised to see it was Gary's phone. How fitting. Women beware.
Excerpted from Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford. Copyright © 2017 Laura Bradford. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved the characters every single character. Great story, loved the ending. Can't wait to read the next one.
A new series by author Laura Bradford! Seven. Best. Words. Ever! I started reading DEATH IN ADVERTISING with an excited expectation. I was looking for what I have seen in every book I’ve read by Laura Bradford, clever mystery, likable characters I can connect with, and a story that would make me hate reading the last word of the last page. Well, Ms. Bradford delivered all of the aforementioned, and much, much more! My first bit of happiness with the book happened on page one with protagonist, and series namesake, Tobi Tobias. DEATH IN ADVERTISING is told from Tobi’s point of view, which lends itself to many extremely witty scenes! She’s so fun! I can see Tobi and I being great friends. My second, third…one-hundredth bit of happiness came from every page there after! Laura Bradford has seriously blown me away with this book! This was a fast moving story that held tight to my attention the whole way through. It was truly a mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat guessing at and waiting for the truth to come out. I was completely taken by surprise with the who in the dunit! No reader could ask for or expect more from the first book in a series then what Laura Bradford has accomplished with DEATH IN ADVERTISING. Simply brilliant!
Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford is the first in a new series featuring ad exec, Tobi Tobias. Tobi is slowly starving without paying clients at her fledgling ad agency when two good-looking men appear at her office with no appointment. Their mission: a slogan for their new business, which has been slow to take off. They outfit closets: Zander Closet Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Slogans are right up Tobi's alley so she accepts the gig and starts her research, which in this case is asking the people she runs into on her walk to work what they think of when she says, "closet." One of them replies, "skeleton," and she's off. She creates the perfect slogan, her clients are thrilled, the press is spotlighting her, and her client is requesting she put together a sales brochure. She's able to pay her bills and is feeling pretty good. She and her teenage photographer are at the home of the owners of the newly installed closet, when what should fall out of the ironing board door, but a dead body. In typical cozy fashion, Tobi can't leave it alone. The evening news is having a field day with the skeleton slogan and the dead body. Nothing will do except she find the murderer and redeem her flailing agency. Also, in typical cozy fashion, there is a cat, well a whole pet shop really, with a friendly and loving proprietor, Mary Fran, and Mary Fran's 15-year son, Sam, who is a prize winning photographer and Tobi taps him to take the closet photos. The cast of character is rounded out by JoAnna, the perfect secretary and friend, who seems to be a mind-reader, as well; Tobi's upstairs neighbor, Carter, who is the hairstylist at the local theatre who practices on himself and comments on Tobi's exploits by speaking in similes; Mrs. Rapple, the resident nosy old lady; and Grandpa, who rides the train four hours to help Tobi solve the murder mystery. There's also the cheating ex-fiancé we never meet but who has huge influence on how Tobi views the world. Oh, and might there be a new man, too? There are antics afoot, some predictable, some not. Tobi does, indeed, solve the murder case, and presumably saves her business. Her cohorts are full of personality and quirkiness, as is Tobi herself. As are Bradford's other heroines, Tobi Tobias seems to having the staying power to provide us with hours of reading enjoyment. I highly recommend Death in Advertising. I received this product in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Death in Advertising is a great start to Laura Bradford's new series. It is a cozy mystery with some fun characters. Tobi Tobias (main character) has started her own advertising business after becoming disillusioned with the company she was working for. The problem is, she has no clients yet and is almost broke. She works in a pet store on the weekends to make ends meet. When she is approached by Zander Closet Company to create their new slogan, she jumps at the chance. It is highly creative and successful, that is until a dead body tumbles out of a closet during a photo shoot. The slogan is now a joke and if she wants to help the closet company as well as herself, she needs to find the murderer, at least that is what she thinks. The story was a quick read, with a couple of eccentric characters (her grandfather and upstairs neighbour) as well as two gray parrots who help solve the mystery. The other characters in the story all really like Tobi and she was very grateful for all the helpful people in her life. Tobi is very creative and good at her job, but she needs clients. This is the first book so the character set-up is important. She does this well. We also meet a potential love interest and I hope we get to know him better in the next books if this relationship continues. Clues and motive for the murder were very subtle which meant I did not figure out who the murderer was, which is always good in my book. I look forward to more of this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford is the first in a new series, A Tobi Tobias Mystery. I've read other works by Ms. Bradford, and she always delivers!! I didn't figure the mystery until Tobi did, and that is always desirable in a mystery. Now, I may be slower than the average reader, but the mystery was well written, and the exploration into the characters wonderfully done throughout. The dance between Tobi and Andy was wonderful. Any reader of cozy mysteries must read this new series, and explore the others by Ms. Bradford.
Laura Bradford is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. This book kept me guessing. Enjoyed the characters especially the grandpa!
The very beginning of this novel threw me for a tiny loop. It opened with a conversation between Tobi and her assistant/receptionist JoAnn. The way they were speaking in the initial set-up I thought maybe Tobi was a magician or an advertiser for a magician. Then I realized it was simply playful banner. Feeling a bit foolish, I read on to learn that Tobi is a jingle and marketing person who comes up with advertising campaigns...at least she is trying to. Her business is flailing. Her lucky break comes when she is hired by the Zander Closet Company run by a pair of brothers. One of the brothers she finds a bit attractive and the other she finds off-putting. We follow her to her second job working in a pet shop and meet some lovely animals, a parrot who right off the bat I thought would be involved with the story, and Sam, a teenage budding photographer, who is the son of the petshop owner. Once a campaign is ready to begin, she calls in Sam to help out, and we are introduced to another parrot. This parrot is stressed out. Soon after the "body" of the mystery makes its appearance, Tobi who only just was creating a buzz on the news from her wonderful slogan, the news creates bad buzz about her slogan given what happened. She realizes she needs to solve the whodunit to keep her business afloat when the two companies she had had appointments with cancel on her considering the negative press. Such a tiny thing, but oh this irritated me, happened at around the 30% mark of this novel. There is a scene is Tobi's office with one of the brothers from Zander, and it says that they were looking at pictures Tobi had framed in her office. They point out how different they are from their siblings and relate to each other about this. Okay, that makes sense. A common thing to bond over.... BUT "They "laughed for five minutes"? If this is to illustrate that they have a lot in common? No. That is not something that happens. It is unrealistic. People don't laugh together for five minutes straight unless it is the tears streaming down the face, way too funny for words type of laughter. Which this wasn't...Even in the MOST awkward of circumstances, if this was stated to show they were nervousness around each other, even then? highly improbable. I don't buy it. I know it is a little thing to fixate on, but it bothered me because the rest of the novel was pretty solid all around aside from the other fact problem I will address in a few moments... I loved that the bird "witness" was named Baboo. It made me think of the petname Sally has for Linus in the Peanuts comic strip. I also liked that the author made some good use of song choice and vehicle choice to show the different character personalities and quirks. I have a feeling at some point in the series, the fact that Tobi doesn't own her own vehicle and borrows them from her friends when needed, will play a critical role in a mystery! Onto that other fact problem: bars don't allow smoking inside anymore. So the second hand smoke comment didn't quite fit... Give it a shot, see what you yourself think. I for one know that I will be keeping my eye out for the second adventure for Tobi. Read more reviews here: http://www.sunshinerising.net
The alliterative Tobi Tobias has decided to open her own advertising agency, a dicey proposition in large cities, even more so in smaller markets. As the weeks pass without a big client, Tobi worries she'll have to close up shop. Luckily, the Zander Closet Company stops in, hoping she can deliver a quick and catchy slogan before a big home show type event occurs. Stumbling across a body while shooting a new closet configuration for the client leads Tobi to her amateur sleuthing. Tobi is such a wordsmith, I enjoyed her forays into the world of words and her quirky demeanor and acquaintances. Bradford is always very successful with writing genuine characters, and I admire how she continues to produce so many likable ones. I am looking forward to Tobi's next tale!
Cozy mystery fans, boy do I have an entertaining new series for you to read! In Death In Advertising, the first book in the Tobi Tobias Mysteries Series, author Laura Bradford weaves a thoroughly delightful cozy mystery that follows the amateur sleuth adventures of ad agency owner Tobi Tobias. Tobi has been struggling to get her advertising agency on its feet, when she finally gets her first break coming up with a campaign slogan for client Zander Closet Company. But when a dead body topples out of a showcase closet at the company, Tobi is determined to solve the murder mystery before bad publicity harms the client's business as well as her own fledgling business. Death In Advertising is an entertaining cozy whodunit filled with enough humor, drama, and intriguing twists and turns that will easily keep the reader engaged and guessing the identity of the killer. Tobi is a sassy lady who I could relate to, and I really enjoyed following her amateur sleuth adventure filled with crazy antics and trials and tribulations. With a fun cast of characters witty advertising slogans that Tobi comes up, and plenty of laugh out loud moments, Death In Advertising is an enjoyable cozy mystery that will leave the reader wanting more. I look forward to reading the next adventure in the series. Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Dollycas’s Thoughts It is always exciting to start a new series. This one introduces us to Tobi Tobias, an ad executive just starting her own firm. She also works part time at a pet store to help pay the bills until she gets more clients. She never intended to steal clients from her old firm, but when they come to her she is not going to turn them away. Zander Closet Company is in a pickle, they need a catchy slogan A.S.A.P. and she delivers a fantastic one. She then needs to put a brochure together for them. What better way than to include pictures of their fixtures in a real home? Unfortunately, she wasn’t ready for a dead body to come out of the closet during the photo shoot. This can’t be happening! Her 1st big break is now all over the news for the worst possible reasons. She needs to save her company by catching the killer and prove that there are no skeletons in her closet. She finally gets the clue she needs from a very unlikely source. This was a very entertaining read. Tobi and I would be fast friends. She loves Cocoa Puffs and has a unique laugh, I don’t actually snort the way she does, but ask my friends, when I laugh they would know from rooms away it is me. The author has surrounded her with a great group. Her friend, Mary Fran owns the pet store where she works on the weekends. Mary Fran’s teenage son also works there but his real interest is photography. Her assistant, JoAnna, always seems to be two steps ahead of her, but in a good way. She also has some unique neighbors, the victim’s wife is a little bit out there, as is one of the Zander brothers. The other brother is more down to earth and Tobi would love to know him better but she has her reasons for holding back. Tobi’s investigation of the murder gives us plenty of suspects but for some reason I zeroed in on one person right away and I was amazed when I reached the end that I was actually right, I picked up on all the clues and even knew a key thing about another character well before Tobi. This is unusual for me and I truly wasn’t sure that I had everything right until the very end. The story did try to divert me several times, nicely played, Ms. Bradford or I should say very cleverly written Ms. Bradford, very cleverly written. This is a delightful debut for this new series. The characters are very engaging and I really love this theme. I am excited for the next installment. Time to restock the Cocoa Puffs
Don’t Advertise the Body in the Closet It is always a delight to see a new series come out from a favorite author. I didn’t need to know anything about Death in Advertising other than the fact that it was written by Laura Bradford to know I had to give it a try. And the fact that I loved it wasn’t really a surprise either. This book introduces us to Tobi Tobias who is trying to open her own advertising agency in the St. Louis area. She’s having just one pesky little problem – lack of clients. That’s why she is working at a friend’s pet shop part time so she can try to pay her bills. Naturally, she is ecstatic when a potential new client walks into her office. The Zander brothers own a closet company, and they are looking for a slogan and a campaign that will stick out since they are already at the bottom of any alphabetical listings. Tobi comes up with a real winner, and it catches the city by storm. It’s looking like a win for Zander Closet Company and Tobi’s agency as well. Then the unthinkable happens. While shooting a closet for the brochure, a dead body falls out of a storage space. The media immediately connects it to Tobi’s slogan, and what looked like a win suddenly turns into a nightmare. Now, Tobi has to find the real killer to save her business. Can she do it? As motives for an amateur getting involved in a murder investigation, this one is a winner. Naturally, as Tobi begins poking around, she finds out secrets and motives, but she also finds that the victim was a sympathetic man. The author walked a fine line in making us like the victim without making the book too sad, and I appreciated that. Naturally, things come together for a logical climax. One thing you can count on in any of Laura’s books is a strong cast of characters who truly care for each other. Tobi has a wide and varied assortment of friends, neighbors, and family who all support her throughout this book. I already love this cast of characters and can’t wait to see them all again. The suspects are just as strong as the series regulars. And I wouldn’t mind if one or two of them popped up again in future books. If you are already a fan of Laura Bradford’s books, don’t hesitate; you’ll love this new series, too. And if you haven’t read one of her books yet, Death in Advertising is the perfect way to fix that. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.
a promising start to a new series DEATH IN ADVERTISING by Laura Bradford The First Tobi Tobias Mystery Tobi Tobias has started her own advertising agency, a dream she's had since childhood. That dream didn't include a struggling agency and working in a pet store to try to make ends meet, however. Tobi gets her chance to keep her business afloat and pay off some of her mounting bills when she lands the account of another struggling business, the Zander Closet Company. Tobi creates the perfect slogan and both companies begin reaping its benefits. But before the celebration begins in earnest, Tobi's slogan becomes an advertising nightmare. While her slogan didn't cause the death of the prominent Car King of St. Louis, its association is killing her new found success. Determined to save her business, along with hunky Andy Zander's closets and a grieving African Grey parrot, Tobi puts a hold on looking for catchphrases and starts looking for clues. It took me a while to warm up to Tobi. She acted a bit juvenile and her idiosyncrasies were a bit more annoying than endearing. I was also a bit worried about the pet shop. As an advocate for animals I hoped that the store was a respectable one, promoting adoptions and responsible pet ownership. The story, however, was compelling and Tobi began to grow on me. The more I read, the more I was carried away by the mystery. By the time Grandpa Stu came on the scene I was hooked. Bradford gives us plenty of interesting characters with a variety of motives. A bit of romance, some laughter, and genuine compassion between the characters add charm. DEATH IN ADVERTISING is a promising start to a new series. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford is the first book in A Tobi Tobias Mystery series. Tobi Tobias started her own advertising agency in St. Louis and called it Tobias Ad Agency. If she does not get a new client soon, though, she need to close up shop. Tobi is even working at the local pet store to help supplement her income (I am curious how she pays for the receptionist). Tobi gets her miracle when Andrew and Gary Zander walk into her office. They own and run the Zander Closet Company. They need a catchy slogan for a radio campaign that begins three days. Tobi comes up with the perfect slogan and it is an instant hit. The radio spot ties in with the Annual Home Showcase Weekend in Chesterfield. The Zander Closet Company has installed a premium closet system into Preston and Mitzi Hohlbrook’s house (they are a part of the tour). They are going to take photographs of the closet system for the website and new pamphlets. Andrew is opening a special compartment to show Tobi when Preston Hohlbrook falls out. Someone took Tobi’s slogan literally. The press have a field day using Tobi’s slogan, and Tobi’s agency is now persona non-grata. Tobi starts investigating the murder so she can clear her agencies name (or she will no longer have an agency). It is not going to be easy since the only witness to the crime is Baboo, Preston’s African grey parrot. Tobi needs to work quickly before the wrongdoer flies away (I just had to do it)! Death in Advertising is easy to read and has some interesting characters. I found the book to be more cozy than mystery. The book focused on Tobi and her life (written in the first person). I felt the author put too many quirky characters into the book. It felt like we were introduced to all of Tobi’s neighbors (and anyone she meets while walking to work) and their pets. There is, of course, the requisite annoying neighbor (seems to be a common attribute in books I have read recently). I did like Grandpa Stu and Tobi’s neighbor, Carter (I thought he was entertaining). I give Death in Advertising 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery was not the main focus of the book. I believe more time was devoted to Tobi eating her cocoa puffs cereal (she should buy it in bulk) than the murder. There are one or two clues early in the book, but the main hints are right before the reveal. I did appreciate the authors use of misdirection. The mystery can be solved before the reveal (do not fall for the diversion). I wish there had been less time devoted to Tobi’s thinking (or spacing out in front of people) and her interest in Andrew as a romantic prospect. One scene had Tobi more interested in a rogue chocolate chip than the questioning of the suspect (I wanted to yell at her to just ask for some chips from the cook instead of trying to swipe the lone chip that fell on the counter). Death in Advertising is just not the right book for me (I prefer the mystery to be more prevalent).
Death in Advertising By Laura Bradford Tobi Tobias is a perky funny young lady who is trying to make it on her own in the advertising world after having enough of bosses who were too big for their pants. She is just waiting on that one big break that will get her what she needs…to pay her bills and her one employee! In walks Andrew Zander of Zander Closet Company. They need a slogan, a good one that can catch the eyes of hundreds of people. She comes up with a brilliant one…”When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place!” Zander loves it; they advertise it on television and as they gear up for a big show; most unfortunately, the morning of the show, a skeleton really does fall out of one of their closets! Now Tobi must figure out who murdered the man in the closet before her business is sunk. Readers join her as she meets talking birds and shady characters and some really great people along the way. You also get introduced to her quirky friends who support her and help her try to salvage her advertising business. Death in Advertising is a fun book. It is cute and funny and keeps you smiling while you try to figure out who the killer is. It actually kept me wondering until the very end. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a light, happy read. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from NetGalley.
Advertising – a unique profession for an amateur sleuth! Tobi runs her own ad agency, but also works part time in a pet shop to make ends meet. When she finally lands a client and comes up with a perfect slogan, a murder threatens the reputation of both her new client and her agency. Determined to save face, Tobi starts poking around, figuring that if she can figure out who the killer is, she’ll throw attention away from herself and her client, Zander Closet Company. Death in Advertising has a fun, quirky set of characters (including a couple of African Gray parrots) and a story-line that kept me guessing. This is a great start to a new series from Laura Bradford.
New series, another winner for Laura Bradford! Outstanding and warm characters highlighted this wonderful cozy mystery. From the first laughs to the final sigh, Laura Bradford had me in the palm of her hand. I felt for Tobi’s struggles and cheered for her triumphs and wanted to hug her, her friends and her grandfather throughout the books. While there was one clue that I wanted badly for her to catch, I think the circumstances made it perfectly reasonable for her to miss it until several things came together. I did feel that she was blind to who was having an affair longer than she should have but again the circumstances she was working under were far from where I was sitting. Neither issue kept me from loving the book. My next sentence may be a spoiler but it matters for me, she didn’t just trip over the killer, using the clues that were available she figured out what had happened. I look forward to reading book two in the new Tobi Tobias Mystery series. I requested an advanced readers copy of this book via NetGalley and was thrilled to receive it. The review is completely voluntary and the opinion is all mine. I always review books that I love.
Death In Advertising is the first book in the Tobi Tobias Mystery series. Another delightful series from Laura Bradford. Tobi Tobias, having had enough of being overworked and underpaid and not really appreciated at Beckler and Stanley Ad Agency has formed her own agency. She is about to give up on her venture when Andrew and Gary Zander. They own Zander Closet Company, a manufacturer of closet organization systems. They are visiting Tobia’s as they weren’t happy with the campaign that Beckler had come up with. The Zander company is going to install their product in the home of Preston and Mitzi Hohlbrook as part of the Home Showcase and need an advertising slogan to endear their name to the public. Gary is one to be rather brash and somewhat uncouth, so Tobi is not sure about this particular job, but Andrew more than makes up for his brother and agrees to come up with a winning campaign for them. Saturday comes and Tobi is off to the pet store that her friend Mary Fran owns, along the way she asks friends and neighbor along the way for what they first think when they hear the word closet, but sticks until she gets to the pet store and Mary Jane’s 15 year-old son, Sam says skeleton. And Tobi comes up with a slogan: Zander Closet Company. When we’re done, even your skeletons will have a place.” When she present the slogan and the advertising materials the brothers are excited and sure they having a winning campaign. Andrew suggests that Tobi gets some shots of the closet that is being installed at the Hohlbrook house for use in brochures to be handed out at the Home Showcase. As Sam starts to take pictures of the closet installation, the body of Mr. Hohlbrook is found between some of the shelving units. Publicity like this could prove disastrous for the Zander Company and Tobi would hate to see that happen as her ad slogan would forever be attached to the event. I think Bradford has another winning series in the works. A wonderfully plotted story with a believable cast of character. A real hoot is Ms. Rapple, Tobi’s nosy neighbor and her dog Gertrude who have to get into everybody’s business. Then there is Carter, another neighbor, who is a make-up and hair guru at a local community theater. One never knows the what hair style he will have or what color it will be and of course Grandpa Stu and his clothes from the past and his quick wit. Will be watching for the next book in this new series.
While the advertising business can be cutthroat, I never thought that it can be murder…literally. The first novel in Laura Bradford’s “A Tobi Tobias Mystery” series, ‘Death in Advertising’ is a fabulous, delightful, and intriguing first-in-series for cozy mystery lovers who enjoy servings of a lovable protagonist, humor, pets, and romance. Tobi Tobias has her own advertising agency, but she had hoped for at least a couple accounts to make the first six months worthwhile. She perseveres, but that doesn’t pay for groceries, rent, or payroll for her top-notch admin and friend, JoAnna. She has a fun part-time job at a pet store, working for friend Mary Fran and her talented and friendly son, Sam. Gary and Andrew Zander, brothers and owners of the Zander Closet Company, are desperate for a catchy ad to save their company. The company where Tobi used to work hadn’t come up with anything for them, and Zander has radio time scheduled before the Home Show starts. They installed custom closet organizers for the wealthy and respected Car King, Preston, and his bride, Mitzi, and need the exposure to secure their company. Tobi does it! She has the perfect ad with a radio script and ideas for their new color brochure, and her young friend Sam who would excels at photography. The radio spots are successful and the Car King’s neighbors are jealous of the notoriety his home gets. Tobi, Sam, and Andy Zander arrive to take photos of the beautifully organized closets at Preston and Mitzi’s. All was goes well until the dead body of the Car King fell out of a closet cubby, at their feet. Tobi becomes the pariah of the advertising industry. Who would have thought her catchy slogan would be a precursor to murder? In an attempt to save her company and by virtue save the Zanders’ company, Tobi puts all her energy into finding the murderer. I like Tobi; the author gives us a lovable protagonist who readers can empathize with. A woman who snorts when she laughs, is intelligent, hardworking, and a loyal friend. Tobi is an open book with friends who would do anything for her, who we learn about through her eyes, their actions and words. JoAnna is the elusive species of the excellent admin support, one who is a friend as well as employee. Carter is one of my favorites; he is a colorful and exotic rare species of loyal friend, as is Mary Fran. Sam is the very rare, endangered species of responsible and trusted teen. Grandpa Stu is the bestest of grandpas and friends, someone who loves a good mystery yet allows Tobi the opportunity to find out who the murderer is while being a good sounding board. Andy – the genuinely good guy who is smart, a gentleman, easy to get along with – but darn, he has that new roommate… The reader gets to know Tobi and her friends before the murder occurs, which I think is perfect. One does not spend precious time learning about the good guys while trying to vet potential suspects. The plot twists kept the novel interesting even as it changes the course of the mystery; I followed one of the red herrings all the way until the real bad guy/ gal is revealed. The plot is so tightly planned and executed that I did not ever consider the ‘real’ bad guy as a suspect! I highly recommend ‘Death in Advertising’! Fans of Laura Bradford won’t want to miss this new series opener! From a grateful heart: I received this eBook from NetGalley and this is my honest review.
Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford was a fun cozy mystery to read. Tobi Tobias has opened her own ad agency that isn't doing well - at all. She works part time at a friend's pet shop to supplement her income. She's smart but hasn't been able to find any customers that will give her fledgling company a chance. Then she gets a break with Zander Closet Company. This company is also a new business that got a lucky break and will be featured at a big home show but they need a campaign slogan ASAP. Unfortunately neither Tobi or the Zanders could know that murder would derail both of their plans. A smoothly plotted mystery with well developed characters made this an easy read. There were just enough clues and twists to keep me guessing and turning the pages. The secondary characters added so much to the story. I especially enjoyed Grandpa Stu and Sam, Tobi's teenaged photographer. I'll definitely be planning on reading the next one in this series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Lyrical Underground via NetGalley.
Ms. Bradford has done it again with her new Tobi Tobias series. I loved it, Tobi is not Ms. Bradford's usual character, she is quirky, snorts, a klutz at times and loves Cocoa Puffs, she is outright fun and lovable, someone I could sit and have some laughs with. The secondary characters are just as fun, with Joanna who seems to read her mind, Carter who is always happy, Mary Fran strong likable and raising her teenage son who I loved, not your usually surly teen that seem to be in so many books. The mystery was excellent, I pieced it together along with Tobi, the clues are there and placed perfectly to lead you along and had me turning the pages quickly as I was nearing the end. I cannot wait for the next in this series. *I was lucky enough to have received an early copy of this book and this is my honest opinion.
Ok read. The story was a little light and typical of this's kind of mystery/romance. It has all the elements-- interesting heroine, hunky guy etc. just a bit smarmy for my jaundiced taste. For me the book didn't quite make it as believable. I would have given it two stars but it was better than that but not quite three stars.