Publication Date: October 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Jenn McKinlay on the WEB: website, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Death by the Dozen
Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are determined to win the challenge to the chefs at this years Scottsdale Food Festival. Taking home first prize will be great publicity for their Fairy Tale Cupcakes bakery - and beating rival Olivia Puckett will be the cherry on top.
Mel's mentor from culinary school, Vic Mazzotta - now a Food Channel celebrity chef - is one of the judges, but Mel and Angie will have to win fair and square by whipping up delicious cupcakes with a mystery ingredient.
Though the real mystery is who put Vic Mazzotta on ice, literally - when his dead body is found inside a freezer truck. Mel and Angie will need to use their best judgement to find the cold-blooded killer who iced Vic, or they may lose more than the contest - they may lose their lives...
Jenn McKinlay returns readers to the Fairy Tale Cupcake Bakery in her third book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, Death by the Dozen. This a cozy that will appeal to many different kinds of readers including those with a sweet tooth. McKinlay plays on the increasing popularity of the Food Network and shows like Master Chef and Chopped to bring readers not only a challenging mystery, but a food competition that adds another dimension to the story.
McKinlay's ability to set the scene in this series is both authentic and realistic. Setting the series in her own hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona has allowed McKinlay to add details that outsiders may not be familiar with. It gives her writing credibility and allows readers who are from the area to feel nostalgic as they read. Death by the Dozen is set against the backdrop of the Scottsdale Food Festival and readers will be drawn in by the competitive nature of the chefs and their rivals and when Vic Mazzotta ends up dead, it doesn't seem too far fetched to believe someone wanted one of judges put on ice.
Returning heroine's Mel and Angie are once again the center of attention as they prepare to show off their culinary chops at the festival. McKinlay continues to develop her characters by bits and pieces. Mel's relationship with Joe is continuing to progress and we see more of both Mel and Angie's family and friends in this one. I liked the addition of Oz, the new apprentice baker in the Fairy Tale Cupcake Bakery and I look forward to seeing where McKinlay leads this cast of characters. With each addition to the series she strengths the bonds and draws the reader further into the lives of this group of people.
The mystery aspect of the book was well written and kept the interest and tension high. Vic's murder is definitely center stage, but the food competition also allows the reader a second hook, something else to hinge their interest on. I thought McKinlay did a fantastic job of adding just enough 'red herrings' to keep the reader off track on figuring out the killer before the end. There were plenty of suspects and their motives were fresh and believable. McKinlay's ability to plant clues to the murder in plain sight without coming off as pretentious was amazing. Mel and Angie have their hands full with this one and readers will be on the edge of their seats all the way through.
Death by the Dozen is a great addition to the series. Readers will love the sneak peek at the next book in the series, Red Velvet Revenge and they'll probably be spending hours in the kitchen trying out the recipes in the back of the book. I recommend this one to cozy mystery fans. McKinlay's Cupcake Bakery series is one of my favorites and I'm sure it will become one of yours.
Death by the Dozen is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Jenn McKinlay has baked and frosted cupcakes into the shapes of cats, mice, and outer space aliens, to name just a few. Writing a mystery series based on one of her favorite food groups (dessert) is as enjoyable as licking the beaters, and she can't wait to whip up the next one. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her family.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay.
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