Plot: An unusual and entertaining mystery, Barr's narrative is built like a hedge maze, with every twist and turn suggesting additional possible outcomes. Lost in this intriguing maze, the reader is as eager to find the answers as investigative reporter Camarin Torres.
Prose: Barr's writing is packed with dry wit and tongue-in-cheek humor that adds levity and serves to balance the seriousness of the murder case. The dialogue is generally a treat to read although it can occasionally feel as if the character is performing a monologue rather than speaking naturally.
Originality: Unlike many modern mystery-thrillers, Barr ensures that her story moves beyond cliched dialogue and cheap plot devices. The strength of Barr's narrative resides in its exploration of what it means to be a modern North American woman—to grapple with the socially-conditioned pressures they face to have a "perfect body." It is this angle that gives her story such immense power.
Character development: Barr gives character and dimension to both her heroes and villains. However, Barr's abilities are most brilliantly showcased in her depiction of Camarin Torres—the protagonist's "broken beauty" giving her a depth that makes her relatable to readers.
Date Submitted: July 15, 2018
by Susan Sewell, Reader's Favorite
Filled with intrigue and suspense, Slashing Mona Lisa is a...mesmerizing story that relates the sad truth about the difficulties and heartbreak experienced by those who are ostracized for their weight challenges. The accurate depiction of the repercussions which stem from the bullying and abuse these victims receive from their own families, peers, coworkers, and the world at large is heartrending. I could almost understand the rage that fueled the murderer.
Although fat shaming may be a significant portion of the plot, the murders and Camarin's investigation balance the scales, keeping the story fresh and exciting. Fabulous characters, a suspenseful and complex plot, and a brilliant story line make this an outstanding murder mystery novel.
By Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
D.M. Barr's contemporary sleuth murder mystery novel, Slashing Mona Lisa, has marvelous characters, a mystery plot studded with red herrings, plenty of action and a romantic story that is one of the more intriguing I've come across in a while. All this, and Barr also manages to write an empathetic and compelling story about a current social ill -- fat-shaming in a culture that prizes thinness, youth and good looks over everything else.
Barr's story crackles with tension as Camarin finds common threads in murders taking place across the nation and decides to go after the story on her own. I was instantly enchanted by her Chamorro identity, her idealism and her resourcefulness. I loved the story and hated for it to end. Barr's characters had come to seem like old friends, and her investigative journalist/sleuth surely does merit a few more good mysteries to solve. Slashing Mona Lisa is most highly recommended.
Reviewed By K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite
Slashing Mona Lisa is a well conceived, well constructed murder mystery by D.M. Barr. Be prepared to be taken on an emotional journey of haters, shamers, and murder. You meet Camarin, and soon are rewarded with a deep insight into her character and motivations. The characters are as vivid as they are unique, from the cockney speaking Rachel to the sassy roommates struggling to make rent. There is no end to the thrills in this book. The investigation is beautifully scripted, creating tension, danger and urgency, with more and more bodies being discovered the deeper Camarin digs. This is one book you will not want to put down; you will find yourself wanting to see what happens next. Romance, love, danger, suspicions, murder, and mystery, all combined in one hell of a tale that also serves to make you more aware of the intolerances this world displays, and maybe, just maybe, realize the extent to which your own actions can affect others. A clear message in a gripping story.