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Murder With Ganache by Lucy Burdette
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Murder With Ganache is the fourth book in A Key West Food Critic Mystery series.

Another fine addition to this fun series.

Hayley Snow is busy baking wedding cupcakes for her best friend Connie and trying to work in an interview out at the Hemmingway home for Key Zest, the magazine she is also food critic for. Add to this, her father and stepmom and her mother and her boyfriend are also coming for Connie's wedding. Everyone get ready for the Jack and Jill shower and after a while, Rory, Hayley's stepbrother and a young teenager, gets bored and wants to walk Duval Street and take in the sites of Key West. Finally he gets permission and is out of there. As the shower is beginning to break, nothing has been heard from Rory or is he answering his cell phone. While the police are looking for Rory, Hayley finds a picture of Rory on Face Book. Then they find out that possibly Rory and a teenaged girl have stolen a jet-ski. The next morning, Hayley with the help of some friends starts searching the waters near where they were last seen. They first find the dead body of the girl, who was apparently strangles with a chain. They soon find Rory near by, unconscious and with a chain similar to the used to strangle the girl. Hayley knows that he's no angel, but then she doesn't think he is a killer either. She ends up visiting a shelter for runaway teens to learn more about the dead girl and to seek clues as where to look to clear her step-brother.

A great story that was both exciting and informative and with a cast of interesting characters.

A perfect book for me to read on these snow days.

I will be looking for the next book in the series. ( )
  FredYoder | May 14, 2015 |
This series and I must part ways. We are not a good match and I definitely don't feel as though my needs as a cozy reader are being fulfilled. I've tried and tried - four times over now, and though there was a brief interlude of optimism that third time, I realise now that things will never change and it's just best to make a clean break and move on.

I'm not a big fan of Haley, the MC. I don't actively dislike her but, in spite of signs of growth, she still strikes me as immature. Or shallow, I can't figure out which. There are quite a few likeable secondary characters, but most of the "permanent cast" play very small parts in this book - including the bride and groom.

I LOVE the Key West setting. Being a Florida Cracker myself, it's a little slice of home to read about Duval street, Mallory Square, Sloppy Joe's, etc. It's by far the best character in this book and it's what has kept me coming back for four books, in the vain hope that the rest would catch up.

They didn't. Now, I don't have kids of my own, so quick show of hands: how many of you would let your 15 year old son go out on their own, late(ish) at night, during Spring Break to the center of Key West? Is it just me who thinks there isn't a chance in hell? This event is central to the setup of the plot, so I was already arguing with the book before the 3rd chapter.

The plot was not done well. I knew exactly who the killer was before the damn body was found. Even though the reader was never given any clues about who he might be.

When you write a story where every major character has a specific part to play, don't suddenly give a walk-on role more dialogue than all the others. Ms. Burdette spent too much time on a single random person, and only one random person, for him to be anything but the killer.

What else? Each chapter of the book starts with a quote by either a famous chef/author or from another cozy mystery, which is cool. But then she actually quotes herself: the author used a quote from the previous book in this series as a chapter heading. It felt tacky as hell.

The investigating detective is a previous almost-romantic interest of Haley's, and I think the author is trying to make it easier on her readers by making him somewhat unlikeable. I say this to add context to the next part of my complaint, which is the following quote:

"You're probably not aware that the girl your son was seen with last night expired."

Expired?!? Really? Is she milk? An old gift certificate someone found at the bottom a drawer? Expired?!?

I'm truly sorry this series and I didn't work out. I'll miss reading about Key West. But life's too short to skip dessert or stay with bad books. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
Hayley Snow is a food critic for a magazine in Key West. As the novel opens, she is getting ready for her best friend, Connie's wedding where she is the maid of honor.

Hayley's teenage stepbrother, Rory comes to the wedding and at the rehearsal dinner asks to go into Key West by himself. When he doesn't return, Hayley spends much of the night searching for him. After questioning various people the reader learns that something happened and Rory might have been involved.

Hayley lives on a houseboat in Key West and enjoys cooking. Her visits to restaurants where she is reviewing for her magazine and her food are pleasant pauses in the tension of the situation Rory is in and that of Connie and her fiance.

Hayley is a delightful character who the author makes so real it is as if we are in the same room as she is and savoring some of her food.
The story moves well with a good blend of action, setting descriptions and recipes which the author provides.. It is a novel the reader will remember. ( )
  mikedraper | Feb 10, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 045146589X, Mass Market Paperback)

Hayley Snow, the food critic for Key Zest magazine, has her plate heaped high with restaurant reviews, doughnut and sticky bun tastings, and an article on the Hemingway cats. But this week she’s also in charge of her best friend’s wedding. And then someone adds a side of murder…

For better or worse, Hayley has agreed to bake over 200 cupcakes for her friend Connie’s wedding while still meeting her writing deadlines. The last thing she needs is family drama. But her parents come barreling down on the island like a category 3 hurricane and on their first night in town her stepbrother, Roby, disappears into the spring break party scene in Key West.

When Hayley hears that two teenagers have stolen a jet ski, she sets aside her oven mitts and goes in search of Rory. She finds him, barely conscious, but his female companion isn’t so lucky. Now Hayley has to let the cupcakes cool and assemble the sprinkles of clues to clear her stepbrother’s name—before someone else gets iced.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:51 -0400)

While baking cupcakes for a friend's wedding, Hayley, knee-deep in frosting and sprinkles, must prove her teenage stepbrother's innocence in the murder of a girl who helped him steal a jet ski.

» see all 2 descriptions

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