Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Cat Caper by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Interesting main characters introduced in a great mystery.
Cons: "Chocolate Chats" add nothing to the book.
The Bottom Line:
Craving chocolate?
You will be after this book
Light but fun debut

The Start of the a Fun Series

While The Chocolate Cat Caper is the first in a series, I was actually introduced to these characters in a short story published about eight months before this book came out. As a result of reading that story in And the Dying is Easy, I bought this book as soon as I could and read it right away. And I loved every minute of it.

Lee McKinney is looking for a new start after her divorce. Her Aunt Nettie, a recent widow, needs someone to help with the business side of TenHuis Chocolade, a gourmet chocolate business in the resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan. It seems like a perfect situation, so Lee leaves her native Texas to return to the town where she spent a few summers as a kid.

But Lee's only been back in town for a week when famous defense lawyer Clementine Ripley is poisoned while eating one of their chocolates. Clementine was ruthless and had made lots of enemies over the years, both in her profession as among the residents of the town. Naturally, the first place the police look is Lee and Aunt Nettie. Now Lee must sort through the suspects and motives to find the real killer before she and her aunt get framed for a murder they didn't commit.

The book worked for me on every level. The characters are well developed, and I fell in love with them right away. Lee is smart and strong, actually glad to be rid of her ex-husband. She has a habit of mixing up words when she's upset or nervous, but its fun and not so overused that it becomes annoying. In fact, it makes her more human. Equally appealing is Aunt Nettie who is trying her hardest to put her life back together after her husband's unexpected death. Then there's Joe, obviously the series love interest. He's a very appealing character and it's easy to root for him and Lee to get together.

Of course, characters only get you so far. The story is equal to the characters. It's tightly plotted and moves along at a brisk pace. Maybe it just shows how dense I am, but I didn't have the killer pegged at all. Along the way we get some truly fun moments as well.

Lee narrates the story first person in a style that invites the reader into the events and makes it very hard to put down. The only thing that seems odd is the chocolate trivia scattered throughout the book. Every few chapters, there's a page of trivia. It doesn't really add anything; it's just kind of there.

I am definitely addicted to the Chocoholic Mysteries. They're like candy; you can't stop at just one. Pick up The Chocolate Cat Caper and enjoy a wonderful series.

Enjoy more delightful chocolate crime with the rest of the Chocoholic Mysteries in order.

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