Series: Spice Shop Mystery #2
Format Read: print ARC
Reading Challenges: Cruisin' Through the Cozies 2015, goodreads 2015
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: December 16, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble |
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Blurb from goodreads:
Kill 'Em with Cayenne, a brand new finger-lickin’ good mystery from Gail Oust, featuring small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott, a smart and spunky amateur sleuth.
Spices are flying off the shelves of Spice It Up!, and Piper Prescott couldn’t be happier. It’s that time of year again—time for the annual Brandywine Creek Barbecue Festival. Soon contestants and BBQ aficionados from all over the Southeast will converge on the town. Many of Brandywine Creek’s citizens plan to participate in the week-long festivities and are busily concocting savory rubs and sassy sauces. Among the locals vying for the grand prize are Becca Dapkins and Maybelle Humphries. The women have been arch enemies ever since Buzz Oliver dumped Maybelle after a thirteen-year courtship and started seeing Becca.
When Becca’s body is found near one of the festival booths, bludgeoned by a brisket, Maybelle becomes one of Chief Wyatt McBride’s top suspects. Determined to help clear her friend’s name, Piper begins her own investigation, much to McBride’s consternation. As the festival draws closer, will Piper and Reba Mae be able to find the real killer and clear Maybelle’s name? Will Piper make it to the annual shag contest with Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been seeing? And, who will win the BBQ cook-off?
I'm not a spice person myself, I prefer my food mild to moderate, and I'm allergic to some spices. But the blurb was interesting and I like stories set in small towns so I requested this one.
Oust avoided the trap of idealizing small town life and also of turning it into a Peyton Place. Brandywine Creek feels like a real town and the people are real, as is, for the most part, the dialogue. Another blogger and I were discussing how so many authors mess up Southern dialects and slang and how annoying it was. But Oust lives in the South, in the same state where her series is set, and she gets it right.
Piper started her spice store after her divorce. She's supporting herself and her teenage children, has recently become involved with a local veterinarian, and is looking forward to the upcoming barbecue festival. The festival is good for her business as well as the town's economy. When a former resident comes to town to film the festival for her cable TV show, tensions bubble up. Before long, one of the town residents is dead, her body found by Piper and her dog. Suspicion falls on a friend of Piper's and soon Piper is nosing around, asking questions, and annoying the police chief, McBride. There's sexual tension between Piper and McBride and it simmers along nicely, adding tension to all of their scenes. I didn't feel the heat between Doug and Piper though Doug seems like a perfectly good fellow - kind, humorous, sweet, thoughtful. I wasn't thrilled about the hints of a love triangle but I definitely think there's more heat between Piper and McBride than between Piper and Doug. Sorry Doug!
The mystery was well done, with several viable candidates. Piper's investigation made sense as she tried to help her friend Maybelle. Piper and another friend Reba Mae work together to find clues and figure out who the real killer is. She bumbles about, and bumps heads with McBride who doesn't conveniently share every detail with her. Along the way, there's a new romance for Reba Mae, problems with Piper's daughter, and the discovery of new facets to Piper's ex-mother-in-law.
The pacing was a little slow at times and I really could have used less attention paid to what Piper wore. Oust never missed a chance to tell us what Piper was wearing, or other characters either, even when it was irrelevant. At times I felt as if I were reading a fashion magazine. It got to where I'd skim over those descriptions and look for the next part of the scene.
"Kill 'Em with Cayenne" is a slightly misleading title but the story is full of smart and fun characters believably working to solve a mystery or just live their lives. It was a nice slice of life with a touch of quirk and a solid mystery.
About the Author ~
Friends accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner. It wasn’t until after she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. Hearing the words “maybe it’s a dead body” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series published by NAL. Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries published by Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press. Kill ‘em with Cayenne, the second in the series, was released December 2014. Her interests include reading, travel, golf, and spending time with friends and family.
Find Gail Online:
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