Thursday, July 9, 2015

Book Review: Fatal Reservations by Lucy Burdette (Key West Food Critic Mysteries #6)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and setting in a puzzling mystery
Cons: Hayley’s job insecurity rises up yet again
The Bottom Line:
Return to Key West
With rising tensions, murder
And delightful cast

I Have No Reservations About Recommending This Book

Last year, I read the five books available in the Key West Food Critic Mysteries, and I completely fell in love with the character and setting.  I hadn’t realized just how much until I picked up Fatal Reservations, the just released sixth book, and was delighted to be back in Key West with Hayley Snow.  Fans of the series will be delighted with her newest case.

It’s February in Key West, the height of tourist season, but below the happy faces everyone puts on, tensions are building.  A new restaurant, For Goodness’ Sake, is causing controversy since, as a boat, it has managed to bypass many of the regulations that the restaurants on the island must follow.  Meanwhile, a series of robberies around the cemetery are leaving everyone on edge and negotiations with the performers at the Sunset Celebration on Mallory Square are splitting this group into two very bitter parts.

Leading one side of the fight on Mallory Square is Bart Frontgate, who entertains the tourists by juggling flaming pieces of meat on specially made forks.  When he is pulled from the sea having been stabbed with one of his own forks, Hayley’s friend Lorenzo is the chief suspect.  Hayley can’t believe it since Lorenzo, a tarot card reader, is such a kind and gentle man.  Yet he is obviously hiding something.  Despite vows to not get involved, she can’t let her friend take the fall.  Will she uncover the real killer?

While I had never given visiting Key West a thought prior to picking up this series, it’s now on my must visit list thanks to the wonderful descriptions in this book.  I feel like I already know the island so well, and I have so many places I feel the need to visit.  This book continues to bring the island to life and has even added an unlikely spot I’d want to visit in real life.  Yes, I must see the cemetery now.

The cast of characters has always been great, and that continues here.  Hayley has definitely grown stronger over the course of the series, and there is a bit of maturity that comes across in a few of her decisions this time around that I really liked.  She’s still a twenty-something, but she has learned from the previous books.  My favorite character by far in the series is Miss Gloria, Hayley’s elderly roommate.  She delights yet again.  Obviously, Lorenzo gets more than his usual one or two scenes, and I enjoyed getting to know him better.  The new characters are just as real and interesting as the series regulars.

There are multiple threads in this book, and that keeps the story moving forward at a brisk pace.  I am a little tired of Hayley being afraid for her job, and that sub-plot is back here, but that was my only complaint with the book.  The mystery contains some nice twists and surprises, and the ending was suspenseful and satisfying.  Everything going on gives the book a bit more depth than I was expecting, which I enjoyed.

The end of the book includes half a dozen recipes for everything from a Raspberry Cake to Blue Cornmeal Pancakes and Baklava.  If your mouth isn’t watering as you read the descriptions of them in the book itself, the recipes will certainly get you ready to cook.

Obviously, fans of the series will be thrilled to return to the characters and setting, but if you are new to the series, you could jump in here as well.  There are a few references to Hayley’s previous cases, but nothing that will truly spoil anything in those earlier books.

So whether you are new to Key West or feel like you know it thanks to Hayley and her adventures, pick up Fatal Reservations.  This is another delicious mystery with a charming cast and a wonderful setting.

If this book leaves you hungry for more, check out the rest of the Key West Food Critic Mysteries in order.

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


  1. This is a series I've really been wanting to try. I have the first one but haven't actually read it yet (story of my life). I love Key West and it's always extra fun to read a series you're familiar with.
    Peaches-wise I really love all things peach but I had a peach ice cream the other day that was basically a little bowl of heaven. Katherine(dot)e(dot)pitts(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Augh! That's what happens when I copy and paste in a hurry. The peaches part was for the giveaway of Peaches and Scream. Oops! Although now I've got to try peach ice cream myself.

  2. I have a little catching up to do, but am really enjoying this series. I was in Key West once and the way that Ms. Burdette describes it takes me right back. I love your reviews, I find I can always trust them. Thanks for the chance to win.
    momzillasteel at gmail dot com

  3. Sounds like it is a great series.

  4. I have just started the series with "An Appetitie for Murder," and I am eager to read the next books, too.

  5. Mark I haven't read this series but it sounds like I should. Will have to get started on the.first one.

  6. Mark I haven't read this series but it sounds like I should. Will have to get started on the.first one.

  7. Mark I haven't read this series but it sounds like I should. Will have to get started on the.first one.

  8. All 6 books are on my wish list! Another great series that I haven't gotten to yet.


  9. I really enjoy this series and am looking forward to reading this new installment. Thank you for the giveaway! dmskrug3 at Hotmail dot com

  10. Sounds like great cozy mystery. Mark liked your interview on Lisa K Book Review.


  11. After your wonderful review, I just know that I must get book 6 to add to my others that I have ready to read in this series. I got the first three books in the Key West series just before I began a year and a half ordeal of hospitalizations and illness that took my normal life away from me and affected my vision quite badly. I am just recently able to get back to doing some of the things I used to do and to read once again at the pace that I wish to read, even though mobility is never going to be restored completely. But now that I am able to see the pages of print books especially, I am so anxious to get caught up with Lucy's series. I have never been to Key West when we had gone to Florida and I do have friends there as well, and that is one trip that is on my bucket list and hopefully will get checked off within a year or so. In the meantime, reading about Key West is going to be a pleasure, so thank you so much for including me into your contest, Mark.

  12. This is a wonderful series. Unlike you though I am still behind on it. Congrats on being caught up.
    gibsonbk at hiwaay dot net

  13. Haven't read this series yet. Sounds like a book I would really enjoy.

  14. i havent read the series yet.this book sounds good.i'm sure the rest of them do to

  15. I've been wanting to read fatal reservations ...thanks for the giveaway.


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