Killer Takeout by Lucy Burdette
It’s October in Key West and that means Halloween, Fantasy Fest and hurricane season; Key Zest magazine food critic Hayley Snow is on hand to bring all the festivities and good eats, to her loyal readers. Adding to the already crowded week, Hayley’s mother Janet and her fiancé Sam have arrived to put the finishing touches on their wedding plays. Hayley’s co-worker Danielle has been elected queen of Fantasy Fest but is unable to enjoy her reign as the runner up, Caryn, is a sore loser and gets into altercations with Danielle as often as possible. During the Zombie Bicycle Parade Caryn collapses and later dies, suspicion falling upon Danielle of doing something to hasten the otherwise healthy young woman’s death. Danielle turns to Hayley to suss out a killer; Hayley agrees, though her plate is full enough: her current article features the food trucks and take-out foods available at casual dining places on the island; a hurricane is bearing down on the island and Hayley’s friends are headed inland, save her stubborn octogenarian houseboat mate Miss Gloria who refuses to leave and Janet and Sam putting the final touches on a wedding that may be blown out to sea.
A vivid setting and vibrant colors add to the festive feel of this cozy mystery. Hayley, a transplant from New Jersey has found a place for herself in Key West, including a new love interest in Detective Nathan Bransford. Full of good food (recipes included), a quirky and energizing setting in Key West, much like Hayley, this series continues to be a strong and entertaining one.
Breach of Crust by Ellery Adams
Ella Mae might no longer be the Clover Queen and though her magical abilities were lost when Ella Mae saved her community, she still makes some of the best pies in George and is flattered when Bea Burbank, president of the Camellia Club of Sweet Briar invites Ella Mae to be one of three celebrity bakers at their August retreat. Ella Mae’s pleasure at being asked is short-lived when she finds Mrs. Burbank floating in the pond behind Ella Mae’s home. The police rule Mrs. Burbank’s death an accident, but the more Ella Mae learns about the Camellias, the less certain she is that the death was an accident. Still struggling with the events that led to her loss of power, Ella Mae is surprised when Opal Gaynor, the mother of her enemy Loralyn summons Ella Mae to her house. Mrs. Gaynor is terminally ill and wishes to be reconciled with her daughter before her death. Loralyn vanished at the same time Ella Mae’s powers disappeared but Ella Mae agrees and is startled where she finds Loralyn, though she’s not all that surprised to learn that Loralyn is up to no good…again. With her waitress and longtime family friend Reba at her side, Ella Mae finds herself involved in circumstances and situations that even she doesn’t understand, but that will put many people in danger…and maybe…just maybe, Ella Mae’s powers have not vanished forever. With the love and support of her mother and her longtime first, and only love, Hugh, Ella Mae realizes she’s up to facing anything that comes her way. An enchanting series that will bring a bit of magic to everyone’s life who reads it.