Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Pirate Plot by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #10)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery, developed characters
Cons: Plot a bit scattered at the beginning
The Bottom Line
Pirates and murder
Mix in this fun mystery book
A great cozy read

Yo Ho Ho and a Murder or Two

Light mystery is the specialty of the Chocoholic Mysteries.  The books are short; the plots do have some twists, but they are always fun to unravel.  That's the case again with The Chocolate Pirate Plot, the tenth in the series.  Lee Woodyard is once again up to her eyeballs in murder that takes her away from her job as the business manager of her aunt's gourmet chocolate shop.

The entire country has gotten pirate fever since the release of Young Blackbeard, a huge blockbuster movie.  It's even found its way to the resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan.  TenHuis Chocolade is offering chocolate pirate chests, and the local theater company is ending their season with Pirates of Penzance.

There are also a group of pirates who are boarding local pleasure cruises on Lake Michigan.  Lee, Joe, and a couple of friends are the first "victims."  These pirates are harmless since all they do is put on a fun acrobatic display before leaving.  In fact, being boarded seems to be something of a status symbol this summer.  Until someone disappears while swimming and another body is found.  Could the pirates be involved?

I really had a hard time getting my finger on the pulse of this mystery at the beginning.  It seemed to introduce seemingly random plot threads that weren't really related to each other.  I've seen that before with this series, so I just held on for the ride.  My patience was rewarded because the story came together logical conclusion that tied everything together.  And even though I was expecting a solution tying everything together, I was still surprised by how it all played out.

Just because the books are short doesn't mean the characters are flat.  Lee has always been a fun lead character, and that's true again here.  Likewise, her husband Joe is wonderful.  Sadly, many of the recurring characters from the series only merit a quick mention here.  They don't even get page time in some cases.  The characters who do show up are interesting and well developed for the part they play in the story.  And Lee's tongue tangles are kept to a minimum again, which makes them a fun character quirk without being annoying.

As always, Lee's first person narration invites the reader into the story and pulls them along for the ride.  The chocolate chats this time talk about the medicinal uses of chocolate and are a nice one page break every few chapters.

The Chocolate Pirate Plot is an engaging, fun read.  It's definitely a light mystery, but it never pretended to be anything else.  Those looking for that cozy mystery will be entertained.

You can't eat one chocolate.  You can't read one in this series.  You'll be reaching for more of the Chocoholic Mysteries in order.

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