Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Book Review: Cinco de Murder by Rebecca Adler (Taste of Texas Mysteries #3)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun series regulars, interesting mystery
Cons: Needed some editing to smooth some things out
The Bottom Line:
Holiday weekend
Gets busier with murder
Can Josie solve crime?

Celebration Leads to Murder

Obviously, Christmas has become a popular time to set books in a cozy series, but I enjoyed it when less popular holidays show up.  Even better is when a holiday fits the theme of the series, which is the case with Cinco de Murder.  This book is set at a Tex-Mex restaurant right around Cinco de Mayo.

It’s looking like it will be an extra busy weekend of Josie Callahan.  Not only is it a busy weekend for her family’s restaurant where she works as a waitress, but she is helping her uncle Eddie put on the first annual chili cook-off and she is dancing in the Cinco de Mayo parade.  The last thing she needs is a dead body to pop up.

But that’s just what happens when she is making the rounds of the contestants’ areas before the cook-off starts.  While checking out the final tent, she finds the body of Lucky Straw.  Josie had only encountered him the night before, but he didn’t make a good impression then.  It seems someone wanted him out of the way permanently.  But who?  And why?  With people wanting to hold this against Uncle Eddie, Josie doesn’t hesitate to jump into the investigation.

Naturally, it turns out that Lucky wasn’t a very nice person, and Josie soon has several strong suspects and motives.  Several other events happen, further complicating things, which are complicated enough already.  Josie does figure it out all in the end, although her habit of jumping to conclusions, some right and some wrong, is in full display here.  I’d be right there with her in jumping to conclusions, so I can’t say much.  The climax was unique and very well done.

I feel, however, that the book needed one last good edit.  Josie jumps from one suspect and theory to another, which is fine.  In fact, I expect that in a mystery since it keeps up guessing.  In this case, Josie’s change of mind often came across as if she’d always thought this was the case.  These changes were abrupt enough to confuse me, but not in a good way, since she was contradicting something I thought we had established.  As I say, it just needed one last pass to smooth this out, and we’d be fine.  I’ve felt this way about earlier books in the series, so if you’ve enjoyed the earlier books, this is nothing new.

The cast of characters in this small West Texas town is still strong.  I especially love Josie’s abuela.  She is a hoot, and any time she is on the page it is fun.  The suspects aren’t quite as strong as they could be, but that would change, I’m sure, if they had more page time.  They are strong enough not to make the killer obvious early on.

If this book leaves your mouth watering for TexMex, never fear.  There are five recipes in the back for such things as Huevos Rancheros, and chicken quesadillas.  And yes, there’s a chili recipe as well.

Those who have been missing Josie will be glad to revisit her in Cinco de Murder.  Grab your party hat and settle in for a mostly delicious book.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


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 Tuesday April 10th, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 4/10.  You will have until midnight on 4/15 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 4/16.


  1. Sounds like a fun Read,and who doesn't love Mexican food? Thank you for this chance.rosep@bayland.net

  2. This is a new author and series to me. Sounds like a great read.

  3. Thanks for the chance. I really enjoy this series and am looking forward to this book. frybbe (@) gmail.com

  4. Thanks for this chance.1cow0993(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. I love this series! I was fortunate enough to early review the first two. I'm excited that this one it out so I can read it too! Thanks for the review and chance to win! awilcox1182@gmail.com

  6. This is a fun series. I’m a Texas girl so I love books set in Texas. cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

  7. Thanks for the review. I have placed in on my TBR.

    kckendler at gmail dot com

  8. Thanks for the review. It sounds like a good read. Thanks for the chance to win it. nschwenkner (at) gmail dot com

  9. I haven't read any of this series yet. Thank you for the good review.

  10. Haven't tried this series yet, but it sounds like fun. Thanks for the chance to win! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

  11. Thank you for another helpful review, Mark! mbradeen@yahoo.com

  12. I enjoy this series and have been looking forward to it! We visited the Big Bend area when I was a kid, it was beautiful. Thanks for the chance to win!

  13. Love the cozies with recipes in them! Thanks for the opportunity to try a new read! beckri1 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  14. Great review. Sounds like a great cozy mystery.

    xzjh04(at) gmail(dot) com

  15. Can't wait to catch up on this series. Thanks for the giveaway. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

  16. I would love to win this book. Mysteries and recipes what could be better.
    Barbara grenier(at)earthlink(dot)net

  17. Somehow I have all 3 books in this series and have yet to read one! No idea why this is but I'm really looking forward to getting started!

  18. New author/series for me and I would like to change that!