Review: Killer Deadline by Laura Carr

Folks in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania, claim that where Nikki Bryant goes, trouble is not far behind. Her refusal to back down from a challenge has made Nikki Bryant a top investigative journalist. 

When an online friend nudges her to join him in a pact to reconnect with their first loves, Nikki and her boxer dog Elmo leave the bright lights of Las Vegas for the charming town of Pine Grove. There, she must face the biggest challenges in her career and life – the first love she had left behind and her father’s unsolved murder. 

But before she has time to unpack her car, Nikki stumbles upon the dead body of local news anchor, Ashleigh Addison, her childhood rival. Could Ashleigh’s death be connected to an explosive news story that she had teased about airing live? Did that explosive story have anything to do with the murder of Nikki’s father? 

With the clues in her father’s cold case hot again, Nikki intends to chase down the story of her life until she catches his killer – no matter what it takes.


Killer Deadline is the first book in a cozy mystery series by Laura Carr featuring an investigative reporter, her social media influencer dog, and a crime scene investigator. I listened to this audiobook for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.

Before I get into the book’s details and audio aspects, I should first explain what a cozy mystery is. If you already know what a cozy is, move on to the next paragraph. Everyone else, hello. A cozy mystery is a sub-genre to the mystery genre umbrella. Every cozy has these aspects: a town of interesting characters, the main character is a novice investigator, and there is generally a light feel to the mystery itself. Not that the crimes are light, but the writing has a light feel. Imagine a Hallmark mystery movie. If you see this mystery as a Hallmark movie, it’s more likely a cozy. You can enjoy your pumpkin spice latte under a blanket while listening to the rain and not go through an anxiety attack.

Killer Deadline’s narrative is fairly light. I can see myself enjoying the story under my blanket while the rain is patting on the roof above. I can even see this book as a made-for-TV movie. But would I consider it cozy? Not really. At least not when you look at the characters and setting. The main lead isn’t a novice investigator. She has a career as an investigative reporter and knows what she’s doing. Nikki Bryant is a professional. As for the setting, it feels like a normal mystery setting. Sure, it’s a small town in Pennsylvania, but it seems to have a certain level of prestige that separates it from the small town ma and pa setting you generally see in other cozies.

That said, it was the first thing that crossed my mind while listening to the book. If I were to label it, I would put it in the sweet spot between cozy and regular mystery. That space doesn’t have a name, and I won’t try to give it one, but that’s where I’d put this book. You get a mystery with professionals but in a more cozy-like narrative. Which is great.

Carr’s writing is easy to get into. I like the characters, and I was pulled into the mystery. Sure, there were times I wanted to yell at Nikki, but I liked her as a character. She’s impulsive, intelligent, and takes charge. She just doesn’t think all the time. Enter our love interest Ryan, and you have a dynamic duo. Honestly, the two of them worked great with each other and had good chemistry. There’s a scene in the climax where Ryan recalls an event when they were teenagers. If Carr were to write that into its own series, I think it would be awesome.

I did find the pacing to be a little off. There wasn’t much suspense which made the story quick. There were moments in the book where I had to suspend disbelief when revelations were made. But I chalked all this up as what I like to call “first book nerves,” where the first book is more as a setup for the main characters and the setting, not the mystery.

All in all, I found the book enjoyable. I plan on listening to the second book and will have that review up next Friday.

8 thoughts on “Review: Killer Deadline by Laura Carr”

  1. Thank you for sharing your review of the Killer Deadline audiobook, this sounds like a good story and I am looking forward to reading it myself

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