Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Review: Assault and Buttery by Kristi Abbott (Popcorn Shop Mysteries #3)



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Unique storytelling approach works
Cons: A couple minor things
The Bottom Line:
Cozy mystery
Different plotting structure
Works well in this book




The Diary in the Wall

If you read my reviews regularly, you’ll know that one of my pet peeves is the storytelling devise that plops us into the middle of an exciting moment of action and the flashes back to what lead up to that.  I will be the first to admit when that approach works, and Assault and Buttery is one of those times.

When we join Rebecca Anderson at the start of this novel, she’s just landed in jail.  The sheriff, aka her best friend and brother-in-law Dan, has just put her there for interfering with a police investigation after she was asking questions at the funeral of Lloyd McLaughlin.  He died after eating some popcorn that Rebecca had made – popcorn that had turned out to be poisoned.  Naturally, this is affecting her reputation, so she does have an interest in finding out what happened to clear her name and save her business.

Not that she set out to investigate a murder.  Instead, Rebecca’s attention had been captured by a diary she had discovered in the wall of her shop’s kitchen while it was being renovated after a fire.  It appears that the diary writer knew Rebecca’s grandmother, and there are hints of danger in the diary writer’s life.  Who wrote the diary?  Who killed Lloyd?  And will Rebecca get out of jail?

All of this is told is a series of flashbacks that Rebecca is telling the woman in the cell next to her after landing in jail.  This gives us a chance to get updates on Rebecca’s time behind bars while also hearing what led her to her current predicament.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind so much, the story moved forward both in the present while filling us in on the past.  The flashbacks are fairly lengthy in the first half of the book, but it is never confusing and kept my interest the entire time.

The main character in cozies is often threatened with jail for obstruction of justice just like what happens to Rebecca here, so I also enjoyed seeing that threat carried out.  Her time in jail is actually pretty funny, and I got quite a few laughs from this book.  There were some things I think were supposed to be funny that actually irritated me more than made me laugh, but they were minor.

Naturally, with the plot of this book, the normal cast of supporting characters were in short supply.  Their scenes were fun, but I did miss those who had the fewest page time.  I was also a bit annoyed with Rebecca’s relationship with Dan and Garrett, her boyfriend who had a hand in her landing in jail.  I actually think I was harder on them than Rebecca was, all things considered, which is a funny place to be.  Or maybe the reconciliation just didn’t quite work.  Again, this is a minor point.  On the other hand, I loved how one relationship evolved in this book.

Sometimes, when an author tries an unconventional plot for a sub-genre, it doesn’t work.  In this case, I thought it worked perfectly.  It does take us about half the book for the flashbacks to catch up to the present, but I was never bored during that time.  The plot only got stronger when we got into the back half of the book.  The strong suspects kept us guessing, and the way things came together was wonderful.

And yes, we have two popcorn related recipes in the back of the book.  Personally, I really want to try the S’Mores Popcorn Bars. 

If you’ve enjoyed the previous book in this series, you’ll enjoy Assault and Buttery as well.  And if this series has yet to pop on your radar, you really should change that.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, November 14th, so please leave your comment before 12:01 AM Pacific Time on 11/14.  You will have until midnight on 11/19 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 11/20.

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great review! I love finding new cozy authors. Debbie.erickson14@gmail.com

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  2. You write such thorough and interesting reviews. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.
    browninggloria@hotmail.com

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  3. I absolutely loved your review and I can't wait to start this series. Thank you for the chance.
    lilyanngill56(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. Your reviews are always spot on. Thanks for the giveaway. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. You make some great points in this review and really make me want to read the book. Thanks for the review and the giveaway! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. Thanks for the great review and introducing me to Kristi Abbott's books.
    peggyhyndman(at)att(dot)net

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  7. Thanks for the review. I like this series a lot and the recipes too!! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

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  8. Sounds great--I'd love to read it! Thanks for the giveaway. legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

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  9. Your reviews are always helpful!! I really enjoy this series and am looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the chance to win. cking78503@aol.com

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  10. S'Mores Popcorn Bars? This obviously isn't a series to read on an empty stomach! Thanks for the review and contest. mbradeen@yahoo.com

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  11. Thanks for taking the time to review this book. just added it to my TBR.
    kckendler at gmail dot com

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  12. Oh a secret behind a wall... so intriguing. Thanks for the review and for a chance to win.

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  13. got so excited I forgot my email northmanor@midco.net

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  14. Great review and summary of the new book! I admit, sometimes that back and forth works for me and sometimes not! Thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. I was really excited for this series to start but when I read the first book it wasn't what I though it would be like. However after reading the second I eagerly look forward to reading this. utaker555(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. Thanks for the great review and chance to win! Awilcox1182@gmail.com

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  18. Mark, I have enjoyed reading your reviews and your comments on the Wicked's blog, too. Thanks for telling us about a new to me book series that sounds like one I want to read. LibraryLady80(at)gmail(dot) com. aka judy

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  19. This was my first book in this series so I didn't really miss the series regulars but I loved this book! I agree that I typically don't like the flashback setup but it really worked in this case. This was such a fun read and I"m really excited to go back and read the early books in this series.

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  20. I enjoyed the first book in the series and I'm looking forward to reading the newest book. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. Sounds like a great book. stoeser1@pie.midco.net

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  22. Thanks for the giveaway and great review. I love this series! smmolloy1105@yahoo.com

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  23. Thank you for the giveaway! parkeremma2003 at yahoo dot com

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  24. Oooh...I’m intrigued! And just in time, as i’m About to finish my current book...
    Kaja.phoenix.rising@gmail.com

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  25. I have not tried this series. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the opportunity to win.
    stclairck@gmail.com

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