Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jenn's Review: Devil's Food Cake

Devil's Food Cake: A Culinary MysterySummary:  It's been years since author Thom Mortenson has been back to Garrison, Colorado. As part of the committee who invited the bestselling writer to speak at the library fundraising benefit, Sadie Hoffmiller wants everything to be perfect right down to the homemade devils food cake she baked herself. Certainly, murder was not on the menu.

When Thom's manager ends up dead on stage, Sadie jumps in to offer her guidance and expertise to investigators. But when the police refuse to take her seriously, Sadie has no choice but to pursue justice on her own. After all, is Sadie to blame if she keeps stumbling over information? Can Sadie turn her back when people intricately woven into the deception keep crossing her path?

With her son, Shawn, at her side, her reputation on the line, and a full cast of suspicious characters, Sadie Hoffmiller is once again cooking her way through a case that offers far more questions than answers.

Review:  This is the third installment in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series and the most delectable so far.  Devil's Food Cake is a culinary mystery on another level.  Josi S. Kilpack has taken the 'cozy' out of culinary cozy.

Sadie started off as a bit of a caricature back in Lemon Tart, but she has developed into a character with depth.  I'm not sure she's someone I want to know, but only because people she knows have a nasty habit of being murdered.  Is she a bit of a busy body?  Perhaps, but she certainly is useful one.  An active member of her community, Sadie has personal inside knowledge of relationships and people that perhaps are not so obvious to the police force.  She's also very gutsy. (Sadie makes a murder suspect a snack in the home of a woman who just attacked her... could I?  Maybe, but would I?  No way!)  Unfortunately, because she's dating a detective on the force and she has a reputation for interfering in investigations, Sadie is ignored by the police.  But she does find a stranger to aid her investigation, one who just may crumble her relationship that is already on the rocks.

The plot is intricate and compactly woven.  The story moves without lulls and while the reader may question the validity actions of the characters, they are sure of their motivations.  As crazy as the cast is, they all mean well.  As a reader, I never found myself ahead or behind the investigation.  I was right with Sadie every step of the way, and just as shocked as she was by every turn of events.

Kilpack's writing style can go from witty to serious in an instant, and lets not forget about the delicious recipes included! The food is pulled into the story, and the recipes follow the chapter, but they are never forced. 

It is the most complete in character and plot of the three books in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series and I couldn't put it down.  Which is why I'm moving right into book four.  I can't wait to start Key Lime Pie!


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Final Take:  4.25/5

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