Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review: The Chocolate Falcon Fraud by JoAnna Carl (Chocoholic Mysteries #15)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fast paced and fun mystery fill with wonderful characters
Cons: A timeline issue (extremely minor)
The Bottom Line:
A disappearance
Thrusts Lee into Falcon case
Always delicious




The Mystery of the Vanishing Stepson

While there are obviously many cozy mystery series I read and love, there are some that are like coming home for me.  I love the setting and the characters and can’t wait to revisit them each time another book comes out.  The Chocolate Falcon Fraud gave me the chance to revisit Warner Pier, Michigan, one of those favorite places.  I’m pleased to say that this was another wonderful trip to the resort town on the shores of Lake Erie.

Lee Woodyard is shocked when Jeff Godfrey walks into TenHuis Chocolade one day.  Jeff is her ex-stepson, and the two haven’t seen each other in years.  Now a young man, Jeff is in town for the annual film festival, this year themed around noir movies, a love that Lee and Jeff share.  Jeff is looking forward to catching up with Lee, and invites her, her husband Joe, her Aunt Nettie, and Nettie’s second husband, Hogan, out to dinner that night.

Only when the four arrive at the restaurant for dinner, Jeff never shows.  When he doesn’t answer his cell phone, Lee starts to worry.  Has something happened to the young man?  Can she find him?

You want to know just how quickly this book starts?  I’ve only summarized the first chapter in my plot teaser above.  Yes, the mystery starts that quickly, and it never really lets up.  When we get an answer, it just gives us more questions.  Everything comes together for a great climax, and things do make sense at the end.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Jeff in this series.  The first time he showed up was in book two, published all the way back in 2002.  No, I didn’t go back and reread it, and I only have a vague memory of the story, but there is more than enough information here to bring us back up to speed.

Because Jeff is from Lee’s life before the series started, I felt that we got some real character development with her, which I loved.  Her tongue tangles are kept to a minimum in this book as well, always a plus.  Joe, Aunt Nettie, and Hogan, who also happens to be the sheriff, are all still strong characters.  I do still wish we’d see more of their circle of friends in town, but that’s a minor complaint.  Jeff and the new cast members were equally compelling.  I especially enjoyed seeing how she handled Jeff.  I felt like he was a very believable, maturing 22-year-old who still isn’t quite as adult as he thinks he is.

About the only real stumble with the book is a timeline error.  Yes, that is one of my biggest pet peeves, and it happened here.  The worst part is, it was a self-inflicted error since it came about because of a foreshadowing sentence.  It’s truly a minor issue, however, since it doesn’t impact the story in the slightest.

If you hadn’t guessed based on the title and the fact that a noir film festival is involved, aspects of the plot revolve around The Maltese Falcon.  I’ve read the book and seen the movie, but it’s been years.  Fortunately, any time something from that story was referenced in this book, we got enough explanation to make the connection, so if you’ve somehow missed this classic (or if your memory of it is fuzzy like mine), you’ve got nothing to worry about.

There is lots of talk about chocolate throughout the book since Lee is the office manager for Aunt Nettie’s chocolate shop.  If the descriptions of the truffles throughout the book don’t make your mouth water, the Chocolate Chats will.  Scattered through the book, the subject this time is fudge.  While the series doesn’t normally include recipes, we actually do get recipes for several variations of fudge this time around.  Yes, I am still craving fudge!

It’s always a pleasure to pick up a book in a long running series and find that it still satisfies.  If you haven’t guessed by now, that’s exactly how I felt with The Chocolate Falcon Fraud.  I’ve long said that each book in this series is like a piece of chocolate, and you can’t stop at just one.  That statement is still true today, and I’m already craving my next piece of Chocoholic goodness.

If you are missing one of the previous morsels, here are the Chocoholic Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Thursday, November 12th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 11/12.  You will have until midnight on 11/17 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 11/18.

10 comments:

  1. I liked your teasers on this one a few weeks ago and I'm glad you found this newest entry satisfying. It sounds like I'll need to have some chocolates near by before I start this one!
    Thanks for hosting the giveaway - my email is katherine.e.pitts(at)gmail(dot)com

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  2. This is also one of my favorite series! Would love to win a copy!
    afarage (at) earthlink . net

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  3. This is such a fun series---and who doesn't like the chocolate theme? Thanks for the giveaway.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  4. Somehow, this series has managed to pass me by! Love the chocolate theme and that you and so many speak highly of it! Thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. The Chocolate Falcon Fraud sounds like a great cozy. Thank you for the chance to add this book to my bookshelf. :)
    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

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  6. I love this series. I'm glad to see Jeff is back. Thanks for the review and the contest. Amp67@mchsi(dot)com

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  7. I have visited this area in Michigan quite a lot so reading this series is like going home. Love the chocolate too.

    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

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  8. I really enjoy this series and hope I win this book. stoeser1@pie.midco.net

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  9. Thank you for the opportunity!!! jillian.lauder@yahoo.com

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  10. I, too, enjoy this series, and concur that the fewer tongue tangles the better. The truffle descriptions drive me to eat more chocolate!
    judy.mullen@mymanatee.org

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