Chocolate Cupid Killings, The Hardcover – Oct 6 2009
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About the Author
JoAnna Carl is the pseudonym of a multipublished mystery writer. She spent more than twenty-five years in the newspaper business, working as a reporter, feature writer, editor and columnist. She holds a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and also studied in the OU Professional Writing Program. She lives in Oklahoma but spends much of her summer at a cottage on Lake Michigan near several communities similar to the fictional town of Warner Pier.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Pamela's husband Harold ran a chop shop that had mob connections; he released his stress by beating her up. She testified against him in court leading to his sentencing of five years in prison. Now he is free and hunting his spouse. Private Detective Derrick Valentine visited TenHuis asking for Christina; Lee lies, but also knows her ward must leave town immediately. That night Nettie finds a dead Valentine near the dumpster; the women conclude Harold is involved. Pamela leaves town escorted by another woman on the railroad, an underground conductor, but when they assume they are finished with Christina, she returns.
Readers should not taste this amateur sleuth on an empty stomach because of the mouthwatering descriptions of chocolates, which lead to snacking. The plot is cleverly constructed with false leads and intriguing twists leaving the mystery unpredictable, plausible and entertaining. JoAnna Carl provides a terrific thriller.
As is common in this series, every few chapters the author throws in some tidbits about the chocolate trade. I was somewhat disappointed in the ones provided here as they seemed somewhat elementary and maybe even repetitive. Another fixture of the series are the descriptions of the chocolates that TenHuis chocolate makes, but again, they seemed somewhat flat and not as appealing as in previous volumes. These are minor quibbles, to be sure, but they did make this story not as much fun to read as others. Lee's habit of mixing up words when she is nervous does make an appearance, but in this case it was much more subdued than in previous books. This is a good thing as on some previous books it was too distracting.
The plot revolves around two main ideas. First, there is a network of people that supports the anonymous transportation of severely abused women - a kind of modern-day "underground railroad"; and second, some major financial shenanigans involving a large corporation, whose CEO happens to own a large structure in town. I found it quite interesting to see how the two sub-plots were woven around each other and their interactions.
The writing is light and breezy and this is not a book that will take you long to go through. It's a cozy mystery after all! The plot and relationships are convoluted enough that I was not able to sass out all of the aspects of the story until it was unraveled by the author. As usual with mystery series, I am always interested to see if the characters who populate the series are believable, and if they grow in an appealing fashion. This book does not disappoint. While all the major characters are present, several supporting characters make appearances as well, in believable fashion. About the only thing that bothered me about how this plot was constructed was that Joe was again very closemouthed about his actions and disappears for large parts of the story. This has been happening in several books now and is starting to stretch the credibility of it all.
While I enjoyed the book, it was not one that I was absolutely enthralled with. Some of the actions of the "bad guys" were not completely aligned, and the motives and actions of the killer were a bit too much to swallow. So, I decided to give this book a three star rating. It's OK, it's not great; and it makes for reasonable reading when you have a few hours to kill. Hopefully the next one in this series will be better.
Detective Derrick Valentine is hot on the trail of the missing woman. When he ends up dead on their back doorstep, Aunt Nettie is holding the murder weapon. Throw in a Detroit mobster, a sneaky CEO under investigation, secretive cops and husband or two, and you will find a fascinating tale.
When another body is found, Lee turns to online research to help her figure out who everyone is and what, really, is going on around town.
Fans of this series will not be disappointed. The writing is fast-paced with plenty of characters to keep track of. In the end, the ending is pretty much a surprise, and, as many of us know, family always sticks together.
The Chocolate Cupid Killings: A Chocoholic Mystery