Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Review: Sucker Punch by Sammi Carter (Candy Shop Mysteries #5)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Abby, exciting climax
Cons: Pacing off in the middle of the story
The Bottom Line:
Slow in the middle
Still enjoyable as the
Candy Abby makes

Valentine's Day is Coming Yet All Abby Can Think About is Murder

It's been two years since Abby moved back to the skiing resort town of Paradise, Colorado.  She moved back when she inherited her great aunt's candy shop, Divinity.  She still maintains that it is a safe, small town.  Yet Sucker Punch is the fifth murder she's gotten involved with since she came back to town.

With Valentine's Day coming, Abby is finding her candy shop, Divinity, swamped with orders.  She's not complaining, but it does leave her little time for thinking about important things like her slowly building relationship with police detective Pine Jawarski and how she feels about him.

That's why she immediately says no when a friend asks her to be part of a play for the local playhouse.  A couple of local boys made good are coming back to help direct it.  As tempting as it sounds, Abby knows she needs to concentrate on her stop.  Still, she can't help checking out the theater.  And that's why she is present when a body is found on center stage.  One of Abby's friends is immediately labeled a person of interest, but Abby is certain he's innocent.  Can she clear his name while still fulfilling the orders at her candy store?

I've always enjoyed this series despite the flaws in them, and this one was no exception.  The plot was a bit uneven.  It started strong but fizzled somewhere around the middle.  It did finally pick up again for the climax, which was very exciting and logical.

While several series regulars appear, these appearances are more like cameos than anything else.  In fact, I think a sub-plot that actually involved them in some real way would have helped the book along.  Even Jawarski only checks in via phone calls since he's out of town.

On the other hand, the book is filled with decent characters.  They are distinct enough to keep who they are and their motives for murder straight.  I would say only one or two become real characters, but what is here works for the story.

The character that really impressed me here is Abby.  While I was frustrated at her for her indecisions about Jawarski (he's a great guy, stop playing around already!), I was impressed with the maturity she showed on several occasions.  She really has grown over the course of the series.

The writing is strong, making me feel the cold of Colorado in February.  I easy got caught up in events as things moved forward.  The book does include three candy recipes that sound awfully tempting.

Sucker Punch is an enjoyable diversion.  Yes, it's a light mystery, but if that's what you want, it will definitely hit the spot.

Looking for earlier volumes in the series?  You'll want to check out the Candy Shop Mysteries in order.

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