– Est. 1981

The Musubi Murder written by Frankie Bow – Audiobook by Nicole Gose









This was an interesting one for me. I don't usually read crime or mystery novels but it came to me completely by accident and I just happened to be looking for a new audiobook so I decided to delve into a genre I was not very familiar with. I'm going to go a little out-of-order than I would usually do just because of the nature of the story. So let's get to it...


Frankie Bow is really good with dialogue, as is evident by the abundance of it in her first book, The Musubi Murder. The dialogue between characters is very believable and I did not have a hard time following their conversations at all. Nicole Gose did a good job making each character stand out in a book with quite a few characters that could come off as very similar. Casual listeners will be thrown off by the Hawaiian accents at first but it grows on you rather quickly.

There's only a couple of things that really stood out to me as something I didn't find entirely believable. Molly Barda likes to correct people's spoken grammar.... a few times this happens and every time I thought to myself:

"Who would actually correct someones spoken grammar?"

Because if you do that, you're a truly annoying person. In most cases I could make a case for the dialogue that seemed disconnected from the story but in this instance I feel like Frankie Bow is projecting herself into the character and allowing her own pet peeves for misspelled or misused words to show through into Molly's personality. It doesn't add anything to the story at all.. it only serves to lessen the likeability of Molly Barda, but not by much.

The other issue is that when a revelation is delivered and a major plot point is revealed the dialogue does not seem to be strong enough to represent the emotions that someone should feel at that time. I can't say too much without spoiling the book but as an unrelated example:

Murderer is revealed.

Protagonist: "Wow I need to come up with a headline."

Real Life Protagonist: "You have to be kidding me?! How did he do it?" -or something along those lines.


The plot kind of took me by surprise, maybe because I'm not accustomed to reading this genre of book? Maybe it's just Frankie Bow's writing style? I'm not sure but at first I took issue with how slow the book seemed to move, *then I realized that it was me that was the problem. 

Back to the point about dialogue that seems to be disconnected from the story or at very least loosely connected somehow, which serves to slow down the plot in spots.

The first time I really noticed our protagonist, Molly Barda going off on a tangent to the point where it was noticeable was Chapter 15 (which is very early in the book as each chapter is fairly short) where she goes on longer than I expected about her students, furniture and body odor. That being said, it's all still relatively entertaining.

Another example of the dialogue seemingly growing a little long in the tooth is around Chapter 21 where Molly and a couple of her friends are participating in a trivia night at a local restaurant or bar. The two friends go off on a tangent talking about one of the trivia questions, units of measure and human anatomy. It kind of lost me for a minute but the dialogue was interesting enough that I continued to pay attention.

All of that said, when the pieces started coming together toward the end of the story I had a couple "holy shit!" moments as I remembered some of this dialogue that appeared to be disconnected but ultimately serves the purpose of showing the reader that everything you need to know has been right in front of you the whole time.

*The problem with my original approach is that I was not listening to the book as a journey, but more so a means to an end. There's a lot of enjoyment to be had with the slowness if you just pay attention and let the story unravel.


The Musubi Murder takes place in the Hawaiian Islands, more specifically in what I visualize as a run down low-budget community college with plastic office furniture, hallways that need repainting and a dirty old coffee machine that everyone reluctantly uses. The picture is drawn for you very vividly.

Everywhere Molly goes is a well established and detailed figment of Bow's imagination that is very effectively put to paper with just enough detail to give you a mental image but not enough as to prevent your imagination from filling in the blanks.


Character development is what Frankie Bow does, its the basis for this book and ultimately why it works. The characters you're supposed to like, you do. The characters you're supposed to distrust, you do. No, it's not distrust it's mistrust. See? That made me a little less likeable didn't it? Aside from those little grammar and/or word use corrections from a couple of characters (mid conversation) I think Bow did a great job putting my emotions where they should be.

This book is basically 60% character development, 30% direct plot points and 10% "Holy shit this actually all connects somehow!"


The Musubi Murder is not a New York Times Best Seller, it's probably not high on the sales charts at all and I can tell you why... there is no tween/teen sappy love story. This story is not epic in nature and it likely will not become a Hollywood favorite. I get the impression from Frankie Bow that this was not one of her goals, anyway.

When the big reveal scene went down at the end I was brushing my teeth and looking at myself in the mirror, so I can confirm that my eyes were wide and I physically cringed.

If I had one piece of advice for you after reading this book, other than "read this book" it would be this:


The best books are not necessarily at the top of the Amazon best sellers list.


The Musubi Murder on Audible

Frankie Bow has a website, it's here!

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