Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Cupid Killings by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #9)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters.  Enjoyable, fast paced mystery
Cons: Two plot points left dangling
The Bottom Line:
Unresolved plot points
Ruin an otherwise fun book
Don't start series here

Secrets, Secrets, and More Secrets

The Chocolate Cupid Killings in the ninth entry in the Chocoholic Mystery series.  It focuses on Lee Woodyard who works as the business manager at her aunt's gourmet chocolate shop, TenHuis Chocolade.  While I enjoyed the book while I was reading it, it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Lee and her aunt are helping "Pamela" get on her feet after she left her abusive husband.  Pamela is working under an assumed name as she tries to figure out what to do next.  A detective shows up in town trying to find Pamela under her real name.  When the detective is murdered outside TenHuis Chocolade, Lee and her aunt must decide whether to tell the police who the man was really looking for.

Meanwhile, Lee's husband Joe seems to have secrets of his own.  First, there's the mysterious meeting he was part of in the police chief's office.  An old friend from his law firm days shows up, but Joe doesn't want to spend any time with him.  And Joe is holding secret meetings with other friends.  Can Lee figure any of this out?

As always, this book was a fast, fun read.  The characters are charming and feel like old friends at this point.  Lee's habit of mixing up her words when she is nervous is used just enough to be charming without annoying us here.  The rest of the rather large cast of characters are well developed again.  The new characters are developed enough to be interesting, although they don't get enough time to become full characters.

When you realize there are only 230 pages, it's no surprise the pace of the book is fast and furious.  Believe me, not one word is wasted as you travel from one important scene to another.  I didn't want to put the book down.

And it is very well written.  It's quite easy to fly through these pages without even realizing it.

Instead of recipes, these books include trivia about chocolate.  This time around, the "Chocolate Chats" give us some insight into the growing and processing of chocolate to turn it into the candy we love to eat.

So what was my problem with the book?  None, while I was reading it.  But after I was finished, I realized that two plot points, one of them rather major, as never resolved.  I can guess at one of them, but the second is still leaving me mystified.  Frankly, the ending felt rushed, like the author bit off one too many sub-plots and was suddenly in a rush to resolve everything in her allotted words.  But someone should have caught that no solution is ever given to these particular elements.

Despite this disappointing turn of events, I will be back to see where things go in the next book.  Fans will still enjoy The Chocolate Cupid Killings, even if it is the weakest entry in the series.

Since the rest of the series was better, you'll want to read the Chocoholic Mysteries in order.

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