Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Book Review: Blackberry Burial by Sharon Farrow (Berry Basket Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun location, great characters, strong mystery
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Revisit Marlee
In cold case filled with tension
Delightful sequel

Old Skeletons Don’t Stay Buried

It’s always a pleasure to return for book two of a series and find it is just as much fun as book one.  That’s exactly the case with Blackberry Burial, Sharon Farrow’s second Berry Basket Mystery.

This book picks up just weeks after the first book ends.  It’s days before the 4th of July, but that’s not what Marlee Jacob is focused on.  Instead, she and her friend Piper are attempting to lock down the starting location for the Blackberry Road Rally, an annual event in the resort town of Oriole Point, Michigan.  This year, it will be art themed since it is happening during the centennial celebration for the nearby Blackberry Art School.

When Marlee and Piper head out to check on their latest lead, Piper’s dog gets lose.  By the time Marlee catches him, the dog has dug up a human skull.  It’s actually Marlee’s baker back at her shop, The Berry Basket, that is able to identify the skeleton.  20 years ago, Theo had been part of that summer’s class at the art college, and he thinks that the dead body is that of Sienna, a student who disappeared at the end of that summer.  However, her clothes were found in Lake Michigan, leading everyone to assume she had accidentally drowned.  If that is her remains, how did she come to be buried away from the lake?

The book starts well, with Marlee finding the bones and the identity leading to some questions.  However, the story really picks up when the centennial celebration starts.  That’s when any potential suspects in this cold case arrive, and the tension rises, too.  The further into the book I got, the harder I found it to set the book down.  That only increased when I got to the climax, which left me racing to get Marlee safe.

I really came to love Marlee and her home town of Oriole Point in the first book, and it was great to be back.  This is the kind of place I’d love to visit on vacation.  Well, except for the murder rate, obviously.  The characters are a huge part of that charm, and the ones we met in the first book are all back.  We have a strong slate of suspects that are obviously hiding things from Marlee and the police.

We got to see much more of Ryan, Marlee’s fiance, in this book.  My impression of him hasn’t changed, and I’m actually wondering just where the romantic sub-plot is going in this series.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find that there are four recipes in the back of the book, all four of which feature blackberries.  We get everything from a salad to a gluten free muffin.  They sound delicious.

Over the course of Blackberry Burial, we find out about some pretty obscure berries, and I’m thrilled.  Why?  That means this series can run for a long time.  Once you meet Marlee Jacob, you’ll be rooting for the same thing.

You'll find more berry goodness with the rest of the Berry Basket Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


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