Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review: Boiled Over by Barbara Ross (Maine Clambake Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Well developed characters in a fun mystery
Cons: None for me
The Bottom Line:
Baking more murder
Julia pulled in again
Winning read for us

Founder's Day Weekend Kicks off with a Murder

Since I don't like seafood, a clambake is not something I would enjoy experiencing in real life.  However, the joy of fiction is getting to go on one without having to eat the food.  The downside when it is a clambake in a mystery series is that there is a murder to go with the fun.  In the case of Boiled Over, we get the added fun of great characters and a strong plot as the mystery is solved.

This is our second visit with Julia Snowden, who has returned to her home town in Maine to help get her family's struggling clambake business back on its feet.

In addition to helping run the family's clambake business, Julia Snowden has gotten roped into being on the planning committee for the first annual Founder's Day Weekend in Busman's Harbor.  However, the weekend gets off to a sour start when a human foot is found sticking out of the fire that Julia's brother and an employee, Cabe Stone, have been using to warm up the meal they were planning to serve to the tourists.

Cabe flees the scene almost as soon as the body is discovered, so naturally the police focus on him.  Meanwhile, Julia figures out the victim owned the local RV park and served on the committee with her.  He seemed like a nice man, but Julia soon learns the victim wasn't who he appeared to be.  Was that why he was killed?

I felt the first book in the series started off a little slowly, but that wasn't the case here.  The body is found almost right away, and Julia is off trying to track down the killer almost as quickly.  Naturally, we meet several viable suspects.  While I figured out a secret or two, the killer's identity at the end was a surprise to me.

Meanwhile, the characters are just as strong as they were in the first book.  Julia, as our narrator and main character, is likable and relatable.  There is a depth to her that I don't always find in the books I enjoy, and I like that.  In fact the growth in her here was something I really enjoyed.  Her family is just as richly drawn.

What about the suspect characters?  I'm glad you asked.  They also felt real to me, even Cabe who actually doesn't spend much time on the page.  But through the way Julia and others talk about her, we really care that Julia proves him innocent.

Naturally, there are recipes in the back; I counted 10.  While the ones involving lobster obviously won't appeal to me, there's a blueberry pie that sounds delicious.  And I can't pass up blueberry pancakes either.  I might need to fire up the oven.

So just how into this book did I get?  I had an afternoon with nothing to do, and I wanted to make sure I got 100 pages read.  Instead, I finished the book for a total of 200 pages read that day (about two thirds of the book), making myself late to an activity I had planned that evening.  I just couldn't put it down.

Obviously, I loved Boiled Over.  If you are looking for a cozy with wonderful characters and a plot that will keep you turning pages, you will, too.

And then you'll rush out to read the rest of the Maine Clambake Mysteries in order.

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


  1. I love the sound of a mystery I just can't put down! It seems like those are few and far between sometimes. I think this one will have to be read as soon as I finish my current book! Thanks for the great review!

    1. I hope it pulls you in just as much as it did me when you get to read it.

  2. It is a fabulous book and a great review!

    1. Thanks, glad you liked the review. I'm looking forward to reading your first mystery later this year.

  3. What a great review. I read another review of this book recently that was a blah review and made the book sound blah so I thought I was pass. All the detail you provide (including the mention of blueberry recipes!) has me putting this series on my TBR list. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much. Obviously, some of this may be a matter of taste, so I hope when you do read the series, you enjoy them.

  4. Nice review, I'm almost done with it myself, and I still can't figure out who did it, and by now I usually have an inkling who it is, right now, I'm clueless and loving it.

    1. That makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one who didn't figure it out early.


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