Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: An Appetite for Murder by Lucy Burdette (Key West Food Critic Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery and appealing characters
Cons: A few here and there, but they were minor overall for me.
The Bottom Line:
Food critic debuts
Needing to clear her name from
Culinary death

This Debut Will Satisfy the Cozy Appetite

Back in January, I discovered how much fun this series was when I read an ARC for book #4.  Since I was started with the most recently, I made it my goal to go back and read the previous three volumes this year.  When the author volunteered to send me the first, An Appetite For Murder, I didn’t hesitate to accept.

Hayley Snow has had a rather rough time in the last few months.  After moving down to Key West to move in with her new boyfriend, she found him in bed with another woman, Kristen.  Now living with a friend on a houseboat, Hayley is hoping to land a job as a food critic for a new magazine run by…you guessed it, Kristen.

After a run in with her ex and Kristen at a restaurant, Hayley is surprised the next day when she finds the police on her houseboat.  It seems Kristen was murdered and Hayley is the number one suspect.  Now she has to land her dream job and stay out of jail so she’s not reviewing the cafeteria food.  Can she do it?

I was actually a bit surprised when Hayley wasn’t the person to stumble over the corps at the beginning of the book.  It made for a refreshing change since that’s what happens in most of the books I read. (And I love the books, so I’m definitely not complaining.)  I did feel the pace was a bit uneven at times in the first half, but things evened out in the second half.  The climax was logical, surprising, and suspenseful, three things that I always appreciate.

Hayley herself is an interesting main character.  Overall, I liked her, although she does have some flaws.  There are several times she takes actions without thinking about the consequences to her friends.  She also tends to babble when nervous.  Honestly, I found both of those characters flaws, while they could be annoying, hit a little too close to home.  No, I don’t go to the extreme that Hayley does, but then again, I’ve never been accused of murder.  Who knows what I would do if I were.  And at least she does have the hind sight to realize a mistake when she’s made it.  Based on what I saw in the fourth book, she grows as a character from her start here.  I’m looking forward to seeing how that comes about.  And when you remember she’s only 25, her actions do make a little more sense.

The rest of the cast is good, and I definitely liked them.  They needed more page time to be fully developed, but again I’m judging by first book standards when I’ve already read a later one.  Again, I know they definitely grow.  The suspects were good and helped keep me engaged in the story.

And the book ends with three recipes.  Surprisingly to me, none were for key lime pie, which plays a part in the story.  Still, with all the mouth water food mentioned in the book, you’ll want to try these recipes.

All told, An Appetite For Murder was an appealing debut.  I’ve already bought the second book and am looking forward to watching the characters grow into the people I already met.

If you want to read the series, here’s the Key West Food Critic Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I was sent this book in hopes I would review it.


  1. I like the main character for this series as well. She is flawed but that it comes across as a "real" flaw. Not just some exagerated mannerism, tic or habit designed to make a character stand out. I have read the first two in this series and will be reading the next. So far I liked the first one better than the second, but often series have a "sophomore slump" and then pick up again later.

    1. I'll be reading the next in the series in a couple of months, so I'll be interested to see if I feel it slumps or not.

  2. This has been added to my tbr list! Thanks for adding your link to the Foodies Read Challenge!