Saturday, February 7, 2015

REVIEW: Criminal Confections

Chocolate Whisperer Mystery 1:
Criminal Confections
Colette London

Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Women Sleuths, Culinary
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication date: 1.27.2015
Pages: 352

Recommended by: Great Escapes Book Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 2.6.2015

Hayden Mundy Moore is an expert on everything chocolate, helping clients develop new products and revamp recipes until they're irresistible.  But sometimes, a dash of murder finds it's way into the mix...
            Hayden Mundy Moore has bushwhacked through African jungles and haggled in exotic markets to find the finest cacao beans and the most flavorful blends.  It's thrilling work but rarely dangerous - until a colleague turns up dead at the exclusive chocolate-themed Lemaitre resort spa in San Francisco.
            Adrienne Dowling's heart attack is blamed on an accidental overdose of the secret ingredient used in Lemaitre Chocolates' new line.  Hayden can't believe that conscientious Adrienne would make that mistake.  And between chocolate body scrubs, cocoa mud baths, and a non-stop frenzy of chocolate-based treats, Hayden starts to suspect that she, not Adrienne, was the intended target.  Finding a killer among the rival chocolatiers and potential suspects won't just be satisfying - it might save her life...

I love mysteries, have a background in culinary arts, and am addicted to chocolate, so this book totally piqued my interest when I received the email on it.  With a cover that caught my attention, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book.

I really liked how the author begins the story.  A "You probably already know..." "But you might not know..." when it comes to chocolate quickly showed me that this book was definitely going to calm my cravings for chocolate, and after all the discussions of it throughout, I felt like I had watched the opening credits of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ... full, and yet satisfied.

The characters are awesome - even the ones that I'm supposed to dislike.  I immediately liked Hayden from page one and found each person that she ran into very interesting.  The story is told from her point-of-view, and you get a lot of her snark, and interest in chocolate, throughout the story.  I love how she is awkward.  She's one of those intellectual people who has had a lot of experiences, and luckily has a trust fund (and financial manager) to help her to not have to deal with money woes, but she really has a hard time dealing with people.  It's endearing, to be honest.  In a time when there are so many "perfect" heroines in books, it's nice to see some that are real, even if she is real with a trust fund haha.  

The resort spa in the story sounds like a place I would love to visit ... but I could do without the murder on my visit.  The author describes the setting well, and you learn more about the layout of the place - and the people involved - when they do a chocolate-themed scavenger hunt shortly after her arrival.  

The murder was unexpected.  Well, not exactly the murder, considering it's a MURDER mystery, but I have a bad habit of reading the first couple of lines of the book synopsis, and nothing more.  In this particular case, though, I'm glad that I didn't know who was going to die.  I actually thought it was going to be one of two other people, so finding the body was way more surprising for me.  (Maybe authors should be elusive with who the murdered party is in their storylines so that their readers can be completely surprised.) 

The adventure to find the murderer was exciting and I liked the little side stories along the way.  One of my top two favorite mysteries so far this year.  These are the kind of mysteries that I like to find and I can only hope that the rest of the mysteries that I read this year are on this level.  I can't wait for book #2 to come out.  Well done, Ms. London.  Well done!


Gram said...

I must look for this! Thanks.

Meghan H said...

You're welcome. I hope you like it as much as I did. Thanks for stopping by :)