Sunday, November 20, 2016

US Cozy Review: a triplet of reviewlets

Welcome to the latest entry in my irregular feature: US cozy review. My latest Cozy reads range from old to new(ish), with publication dates from 1991 to 2013!

In publication order:

1. All the Great Pretenders by Deborah Adams #1 Jesus Creek series (1991)

I bought this in 1996 from Uncle Edgars when I went to my first Bouchercon which was in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. A mere twenty years later I got round to reading it.

Set in the small town of Jesus Creek in Tennessee, this introductory novel revolves around the Inn and the temporary Innkeeper Kate Yancy. A young heiress has disappeared from the Inn and her family have hired a psychic, who comes to stay at the Inn. The press are there too and an announcement that the psychic knows where the girl is, doesn't bode well for the psychic. The mystery aspect is fine but it it is Kate's wry humour and the unusual inhabitants of Jesus Creek which are the stars. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed All the Great Pretenders. The next book, All the Great Winters, revolves around the library and a library volunteer - so right up my street.

If you can't get hold of print copies then the ebooks are currently very good value.

2. Death in Daytime by Eileen Davidson & Robert J Randisi #1 Soap Opera series (2008)

Whereas All the Great Pretenders was pre-internet and almost pre-personal computers, soap star Alexis Peterson has a mobile phone which she thinks can get the internet but she would rather rely on the teenage son of a friend for help. Alexis is one of the main stars of daytime soap opera The Yearning Tide however her new boss Marcy bears a grudge against her and is trying to down-size Alexis's role and is withholding scripts and suchlike. So when Marcy is killed, and Alexis finds the body, Alexis becomes the prime suspect. So naturally Alexis tries to find the real killer, putting herself in danger and annoying the cops enormously.

I love behind the (tv/film) scene settings so I was predisposed to like this one, which I did. I was mis-directed nicely and didn't guess whodunnit at all. Though the cover looks like a cozy there is some strong language at times. I've got the final book (#4) in my tbr and will be purchasing the other two, probably on ebook. [I only had this one 4 years before reading it...]

3. Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J Parra #1 Baker's Treat series (2013)

I bought this in August and read it in October which is probably a record for me to turn around a book that quickly after buying!

Gluten for Punishment is the first in a short series of three, set in Oiltop, Kansas. Toni Holmes has returned home to Oiltop where she has inherited her mother's large house and she opens up a gluten-free bakery in a town surrounded by wheat fields. The official opening of the store is marred by heckling from a wheat farmer and soon after the heckler's dead body is found outside the store. Toni has motive and opportunity and is soon a 'person of interest'. She does some sleuthing, assisted by her eccentric family and friends. This is a solid introduction to the series and I already own the other two books. I did get a bit lost with her extensive family of siblings and who was who. Though sworn off men, there are two gorgeous men vying for her attention, so it'll be interesting to see who she chooses, if either.

Gluten-intolerance runs in my mother's side of the family so I was particularly interested to read a cozy revolving around a gluten-free bakery and I did learn a few things. There are some recipes in the back, if you like to bake.

NB. There is one quite violent scene towards the end.

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