Thursday, February 18, 2016

Book Review: Berried Secrets by Peg Cochran (Cranberry Cove Mysteries #1)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery and characters…
Cons: …buried in weak first half; timeline issue
The Bottom Line:
Once book got going
It became stronger.  Except
For timeline issue

Slow Start to a New Series

Over the last couple of years, I’ve heard many people rave about the books of Peg Cochran, but I have yet to pick any of them up.  When Berried Secrets came out, and I saw it was the first in a new series, I decided to give it a try.  After all, I love cranberries, so it sounded promising.  Sadly, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.

Monica Albertson has moved to the town of Cranberry Cover to help her half-brother, Jeff, get his cranberry farm running.  He’s having serious issues with the finances, and she soon discovers that Sam Culbert, someone Jeff thought was a friend, was embezzling from him.

The morning the cranberry harvest begins, Sam’s body is found floating in the first bog the crew tries to harvest.  While Sam wasn’t well liked in town, Monica is worried that her brother will be arrested for the crime.  Can she find the real killer before that happens?

Despite the murder happening fairly early in the book, the first half was rather slow.  I get this is the first in a series, so we need time to meet the characters, but even so, the balance just didn’t work for me.  Even as the mystery became more focused in the second half, the twists and clues were fewer and farther between then I would have liked.  Still, we do reach a logical and suspenseful climax, and the various threads were wrapped up well.

The characters were a bit slow to grow on me, too.  By the end, I did care for several of them, those who will obviously become series regulars, but it took a while.

While I don’t always mention it, one of my biggest pet peeves is slips in the timeline.  There’s a major one here.  It’s almost like the author completely forgot about a day that happened in the book.  Unfortunately, it should have had an impact on things, which really bothers me.

Of course, we do get three cranberry related recipes at the back of the book.  And with my love of cranberries, they do sound delicious.

I’ve seen others who are usually fans of this author who were a bit cool to Berried Secrets as well.  It’s not that the book was bad, but the flaws kept it from being as great a read as I expected it to be.  Here’s hoping that now that the characters have been established, the next in the series is a stronger read.

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


  1. I have a few books by Peg Cochran that I'm looking forward to reading but they're from other series. I was intrigued by this one as like you I'm a cranberry fan but this isn't the first lukewarm review I've seen of this one so I'll hold off (though I wouldn't mind trying a cranberry recipe right about now!)

    1. Like you, I've seen reviews by others who liked the author's earlier books but were disappointed by this one. It's unfortunate that this was the first one I tried.

  2. Thanks for linking your reviews up with Foodies Read. You write wonderful, in depth reviews.

  3. Thanks for the review. There are too many books and too little time to read one that is sub par.

  4. I love cranberries! I know nothing about harvesting them, but the basis of a mystery sounds fun! I like that there's recipes too!

  5. I think Peg's Cranberry Cove series are delightful and keep me guessing as,to who the killer is. I wish there was more than three in the collection.


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