Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review: Murder with Ganache by Lucy Burdette (Key West Food Critic #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters in a fast paced story
Cons: Ending felt a tad rushed, although all loose ends resolved
The Bottom Line:
Missing relative
Adds to the wedding chaos
With fun mystery

Hayley’s Family Provides Mystery as I Meet Everyone

So many books, so little time is a common lament among readers.  Not only do I have a long list of books I have bought I’d like to read, but there are series that I’d love to start someday.  One such series got bumped up when I was offered an ARC of Murder With Ganache, the fourth in the Key West Food Critics Series by Lucy Burdette.  I just couldn’t resist the offer, and now I want to track down the previous three books in the series.

The series centers on Hayley Snow who makes her living reviewing restaurants for the magazine Key Zest in Key West, Florida.  In this book, Hayley is the maid of honor in her best friend Connie’s wedding.  Since Connie and Hayley’s family are so close, they are all flying in for the ceremony.  That includes Hayley’s step-brother Rory.  In the time since Hayley’s last seen him, he’s turned into a typical surly teenager who doesn’t seem that interested in spending time with family even though he wanted to come on the trip.

The night of the bride and groom shower, Rory begs to go off on his own so much that his mother and Hayley finally relent.  However, he doesn’t return by the time the party is over.  Where is he?  What kind of danger has he found in the few hours he’s been on the island?

Normally, I like to start a series from the beginning because sometimes an author does a poor job of reintroducing all the characters.  Yes, once or twice I was a little confused about a relationship at first, but that was always cleared up within a few pages.  Honestly, if it weren’t for references to past events, I could have easily forgotten I hadn’t read the earlier books in the series.  Everything I needed to know was explained and everything else was just teased, making my mouth water for the previous books.

It really helped that the characters were strong.  I had no trouble keeping any of the cast and their relationships straight as I progressed through the book.  They all felt real, and I truly cared about the outcome.

The plot was also strong.  I was enjoying things even before Rory disappeared, and once that happened, I had a hard time putting the book down.  The twists were great, and the fact that I liked the characters truly made it even harder to put down.  I felt like the ending was a bit rushed and as a result not fully developed, but that’s a minor complaint since all my questions were answered.

Yes, this is a culinary cozy, so be prepared for your mouth to water.  There were many descriptions of delicious sounding food in the book that I really want to try.  There are also recipes in the back, including one that looks like a carry over from the last book.  I don’t know if it is tweaked or included because it plays such an important part in the opening scene.  Even if you already have that one, there are still five recipes you can try, including a delicious sounding Strawberry Cream Pie.

Obviously, I have been missing out on a great series, and now I need to go back and read the previous three books.  Whether you jump in here like I did or are already a fan, you’re sure to enjoy Murder With Ganache.

I enjoyed this so much I am now in the process of backtracking and reading the Key West Food Critic Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I have read 2 of these books and have this one coming up. It's a great cozy series.

    1. If this book is any indication of the series, it's definitely a winner. Good to know you like it, too.

  2. This sounds like a series I'd enjoy, and love that it's centered in Key West!
    Thanks for linking your review at the Foodies Read Challenge!

    1. The setting certainly adds to the fun and makes me want to visit (minus the murder, of course).