Friday, May 31, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Topped Chef

Topped Chef (Key West Food Critic Mystery - Book 3) by Lucy Burdette

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0451239709
ISBN-13: 978-0451239709

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Lucy Burdette on the WEB: WebpageTwitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Books in the Series:

An Appetite for Murder (2012), Death in Four Courses (2012), Topped Chef (2013)

Coverart: Click on the image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from Topped Chef, courtesy of Amazon


Hayley Snow loves her job as the food critic for Key Zest magazine, tasting the offerings from Key West's most innovative restaurants. She'd rate her life four stars, until she's forced into the spotlight...and another murder investigation.

Hoping for some good publicity, Hayley's boss signs her up to help judge the Key West Topped Chef contest. Stakes are high as the winner could be the next cooking-show superstar. Hayley shows up for the filming nervous but excited, until she sees who's on the judging panel with her: Sam Rizzoli, big shot businessman - and owner of the restaurant she just panned in her first negative review.

When Rizzoli turns up dead, the police assume his killer is one of his business rivals. But Hayley wonders whether someone is taking the contest a little too seriously. With the police following the wrong recipe, it's up to Hayley to find the killer before she's eliminated from the show...permanently.


Once again author Lucy Burdette brings to life, the work of a food critic and how reviews positively or negatively affect the services or products they are meant to promote. Topped Chef is the third book in the Key West Food Critic series. Burdette's sense of place and atmosphere is both interesting and full of potential. Readers who are looking for a cozy series that is just a little different will find Topped Chef right in their wheelhouse!

One of the things that I love about this series and especially this book is the parallel between the food critic biz and book blogging. Reviews are important to both. Food critic, Hayley Snow has to decide whether to praise or trash the food she samples in the local Key West restaurants and now she's been asked to judge a food competition against a restaurant owner she gave a less than favorable review. As with any review, her opinion like that of a book blogger, with either positively encourage people to eat the food or negatively persuade them to avoid it. Just as a good review from me may cause someone to buy a book or to by pass it altogether. I find the parallel interesting. 

Let's face the facts. I don't know about you, but I love to eat, LOL. I love to watch food television shows and look at cookbooks and see the wonderful dishes my family members make and I absolutely love the great ideas I find on many of the awesome food blogs that I read frequently. So this series is especially fun for me to read. Not only do you have a great mystery, but the mystery is typically food related. The characters are chefs or food enthusiasts or local growers or fisherman. It all adds up to a yummy series.

Another thing that I like about this series is the locale. Setting the series in Key West, Florida gives it a lot of local flavor and attitude. Things are just a bit more laid back that far down south. You are off the grid almost and the ideals and ways of doing things are a little different than in the big city. I like the way Burdette writes about the people and the community. The atmosphere is just relaxed and fun, except when it comes to murder...

This is a great series and this particular book has a strong plot, with lots of great clues for readers to discover. I liked the fact that Burdette chose to make the victim someone that Hayley actually trounced a bit in her review. That gave it a sense of hitting close to home. I thought it was a good touch. The suspects were believable and motives were realistic. A great addition to the series.

Topped Chef is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series, launching in January 2012 with AN APPETITE FOR MURDER (NAL.)

Lucy's alter-ego, clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib, has published eight mysteries including the golf lover's mystery series and the advice column mysteries. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She's a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime, and a past-president of Sisters in Crime.

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Topped Chef by Lucy Burdette.

~You must be a GFC follower or Email subscriber to participate.
~US addresses only (publisher request)
~The deadline for entering this giveaway is Midnight EST, June 14th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation to the author on this post.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


Linda Kish said...

It sounds like you really liked it. I've never been to Florida but someday, maybe. I love the plot line for this story and look forward to reading it.

KMichelleC87 said...

this sounds like a great read


Brooke Showalter said...

I really liked reading your review. I have heard of this series and have been wanting to read it, and after your review, I definitely need to check it out! It sounds like a wonderful read and a really enjoyable series.

holdenj said...

I read the first one, and definitely agree about the locale and the food! Would love to catch up with Hayley! Thanks so much for the chance to win!

Carol M said...

This would be a new author for me. I'd love to start reading this series. It sounds good!

Susan S said...

Sounds like a good book; have just started reading cozy mystery genre.

Unknown said...

Being (primarily) a food blogger, a mystery involving food sounds like fun!

Theresa N. said...

I'm a foodie person, can't turn any of it down.
Theresa N

Mary V. said...

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and am looking forward to catching up w/books 2 & 3. Thanks for the contest!

Angela - Bookaunt said...

This sounds lie a great book to read. Thank you for the chance to win it.

bn100 said...

Cute title

lag123 said...

I absolutely love Key Weat and find this series very appealing.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Madonna said...

I like the food mystery type series.

Sue Farrell said...

Food and a great location like Key West---what can be better for a good cozy? Thanks for the contest.

Wendy Newcomb said...

My daughter loves cozy mystery's, thank you for the chance to win her a new book.


ann said...

I love cozy mysteries and I love food and cooking. So this will be a great read for me.
thanks so much

Tea said...

I love cozies that have something to do with cooking.