Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book Review: Grilling the Subject by Daryl Wood Gerber (Cookbook Nook Mysteries #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and characters, fun theme
Cons: All cons have been grilled away
The Bottom Line:
Festival, murder
Jenna must clear her father
Cooking up fun book

Wild West, BBQ, and Murder

I’ve really come to look forward to each entry in the Cookbook Nook series.  Yes, there are great characters and a fun mystery, but in each book, author Daryl Wood Gerber has created a fun theme for her fictional town to be celebrating.  Those add a wonderful touch to the books, and I feel like I’m on vacation with the characters.  Grilling the Subject is the latest in the series, and it’s another wonderful read.

The Wild West Extravaganza has come to Crystal Cove.  It’s a week full of stagecoach races, rodeo events, and other fun.  The Cookbook Nook is getting into the spirit by featuring BBQ themed cookbooks and food in their cafĂ©.  Jenna Hart, the owner of the cookbook bookstore, is looking forward to a wild and wonderful time.

However, someone has taken the theme too far.  Early one morning, a fire breaks out in a neighborhood, and Sylvia Gump is found in the ashes.  Sylvia was a very hard person to get along with, and she made many enemies, especially among her neighbors.  Unfortunately, Jenna’s dad was one of Sylvia’s neighbors.  Worse yet, Cary Hart doesn’t have an alibi, and a neighbor claims to have seen him at the scene.  Now, Jenna needs to find the real killer to clear her dad of a crime she knows he didn’t commit.  Can she do it?

Jenna’s investigation fits in around the fun events of the week nicely.  It helps that the suspects keep coming to the events, so Jenna can ask them questions while she watches.  There are a good number of suspects, too, with suspicion bouncing back and forth among them until the end.  I thought I had the killer pegged, but I wasn’t sure until the very end.

This book also features a very strong sub-plot.  I guessed part of it early on, but I didn’t mind since it added some real depth to Jenna and several of her relationships.

And Jenna has plenty of people in her life.  There is a large cast of characters, and it’s fun to see them all again since they continue to feel like real people.  I’d love to have them as a group of friends, in fact.  The suspects are just as strong and interesting, making it hard to figure out the killer.

If you love the recipes at the end of a culinary cozy, this is certainly the book for you.  There are 13 different recipes, all in keeping with the Old West/BBQ theme.  There are a few different types of BBQ sauce, Cowboy cookies, fudge, some barbecue muffins, and many more.  I dare you to read them without your mouth drooling.

So pull out your cowboy boots and settle in for a delightful read.  Grilling the Subject is a delicious new mystery that will leave you hungry for more.

New more recipes for murder?  Here are the Cookbook Nook Mysteries in order.

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


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 Tuesday, August 9th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 8/9.  You will have until midnight on 8/14 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 8/15.


  1. I haven't read this series but I own pretty much all of them. I had pre-ordered this one but then forgotten about it so I was super excited when I got the notice that this one had shipped. I'm glad to see how much you enjoyed it! I'm excited about the recipes. I'm very pro-barbecue food.

  2. Great review thanks, this sounds wonderful,
    Penney penneyw(AT)sbcglobal.net

  3. I LOVE THIS SERIES!! Each book has been a different event or festival adding to the fun! The Wild West Extravaganza has got to be loads of fun, then murder...I love Daryl's work!

  4. I haven't read the series but a few chapters in the first book. Great what I read so far but it was a library loan and haven't been able to borrow it back yet. Love to start my collection. Thanks for the chance.

  5. Great review. I look forward to reading the latest in this series. Lmmeidam@gmail.com

  6. Very big fan of Daryl and her books (I also distribute her bookmarks to local library branches). I would love to be your lucky winner.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. I enjoy reading Daryl's stories, and recommend her to everyone. I love that even though there's series progression in each of her books, they all have different themes. Thanks for your review, Mark, and also for the link to your list of book series in order - very helpful, and I've bookmarked it! Nicole :-) nicolev.girldetective@gmail.com

  8. Fabulous author, fabulous series. I can't wait until I can read Grilling the Subject. Thank you for the chance to win.


  9. I love this series, and by the sound of it this one is just as good. Thanks for the review and the chance to win.

  10. I'm so excited for this release! Thanks so much for the chance to win!!! Fingers and toes are crossed!

  11. Thanks for an informative & entertaining post. I am just now starting this series & can't wait to read this one. doward1952@yahoo.com

  12. I have this on my wish list.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  13. Love this series. brichardson0056@yahoo.com

  14. Every time I read one, I wish I could visit Crystal Cove. The Wild West theme looks fun and unique. Thanks for the chance to win!

  15. Looks like a great read! mbradeen (at) yahoo (dot) com

  16. I've got my cowboy boots on and I am ready to read...sounds like a real winner. Thanks for the contest.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  17. I read all of this. I really like this idea of mixing mystery and recipes. Going to look for the first book in the series. Think I have found another author to collect.lThank you. Ninaatmyhouse(at)yahoo(dot)com

  18. This is not about contest. Have you read all the books listed in the series area?? Lots and lots of books there.

    1. I've read most of them - the ones with the links to my review. There are a couple of series in there I am currently working on reading, and I add books coming soon as soon as I hear about them.

      The reviews here date back years, which explains why that list is so long.

  19. I own a few of the books in the series and enjoy not only the story but the food they talk about. I'd kill to be your lucky winner.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

  20. Sometimes it is nice to cozy up with a cozy and just relax a bit.


  21. I've never heard of barbeque muffins before. I'd be interested to try some.

  22. I have never heard of this series. It looks like a lot of fun! Would love to read this one. constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot]com