Susanita (bardhlul) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 14 & 15

14. Gotcha! by Fern Michaels
Sometimes, justice is a long time coming. That's the case with Julie Wyatt, whose story strikes close to home for the original founder of the Sisterhood, Myra Rutledge, and her best friend - and fellow Sister - Annie. Julie is convinced her greedy daughter-in-law Darlene had something to do with the mysterious circumstances surrounding her son Larry's death.

This was a summer reading selection from my library a couple years ago, but I don't know what they were thinking! The "justice" enacted on Darlene and her boyfriend/accomplice was way over-the-top and frankly made me a little nauseous. I understand that Julie was wronged (the details of which were revealed in a needlessly coy manner), but that does not excuse her condoning of torture, especially when this character has been presented as a totally nurturing and caring individual. There's also a significant subplot that involves Julie coming into a great deal of money, as well as some convenient "intervention," which strain credulity. This was the first book I read by this author, and it will be the last.

15. Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert
Welcome to Mahalia's Sweet Tea--the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George's County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy "they'll make you want to slap your Momma," owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery. . .

Halia Watkins has her hands full cooking, hosting, and keeping her boisterous young cousin, Wavonne, from getting too sassy with customers. Having fast-talking entrepreneur Marcus Rand turn up in her kitchen is annoying enough when he's alive--but finding his dead body face-down on her ceramic tile after hours is much worse.

Marcus had his enemies, and the cast iron frying pan beside his corpse suggests that at last, his shady business deals went too far. Halia is desperate to keep Sweet Tea's name out of the sordid spotlight but her efforts only make Wavonne a prime suspect. Now Halia will have to serve up the real villain--before the killer returns for a second helping. . .

After the mess that was Gotcha!, I needed a palate cleanser, and this book hit the spot. I love to read books that are set in my "neck of the woods," and this author really nails it in terms of the local flavor, if you will. (I have one minor quibble about a road she mentioned that doesn't really exist, but I chalk that up to an editorial shortcut.) The story is a little shaky once in a while, but the characters are very real, especially Halia the narrator. I would love to meet this woman and eat at her restaurant! One caveat: do not read this book when you're hungry, as much of the action takes place in the restaurant where the food is lovingly described (there are also recipes).

Many thanks to cornerofmadness for bringing this book to my attention. It surprised me a little that my local library did not have this book in their collection, but at least I was able to get it from another system in the state. I've also recommended that my library purchase it, so we'll see what happens.


Except for one book that I'm holding out until we discuss it in book club, I'm all caught up with my postings. Alas, I'm one book behind the pace for my reading goal, and I'm currently in the "famine" part of the cycle waiting for all my holds to become available.
Tags: cookbooks, mystery, thriller

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