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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Review - Claws for Alarm

I reviewed the first book in this series, Meow if it's Murder (click here), and the author did a guest post for us (click here.)  I was looking forward to this next installment in the series.  So let's see what else Nora and cat sidekick Nick investigate.   

Author: T.C. LoTempio

Copyright: Nov 2015 (Berkley) 291 pgs

Series: 2nd in Nick and Nora Mystery series

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy Mystery

Main Characters: Nora Charles former crime reporter, now a small business owner

Setting: modern day, Cruz, California

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Nora's sister Lacey is arrested and Nora runs to her side, determined to uncover the real killer.  The murder victim, an esteemed art collector and Lacey’s bullying professor, was stabbed in the heart. The police believe Lacey killer her professor over a low grade and heated argument...of course Lacey being found over the dead body holding the knife didn't help.  There are plenty of suspects from his ex-wife and gambling son, trophy wife who isn't weeping over his death, perhaps a scorned student mistress, over somebody else.  To complicate things, the lead detective is Leroy Samms, a brief fling of Nora's from college.   

Nora shows a more stubborn side in this outing as she races against the clock to clear her sister when the DA is rushing to arraign her for murder.  Lacey and Nora aren't "close" sisters and this ordeal will either make them closer or farther apart.  Detective Leroy Samms, the college fling who is repeatedly telling Nora to stop asking questions or generally being involved.  This gets old real quick.  Oliver, Ollie, Sampson a PI who helps Nora out occasionally joins her for a few scenes.  Aunt Prudence and long time friend Irene are the Odd Couple, bickering back and forth.  Detective Daniel Corleone doesn't get much time in the story, but does make a few cameo appearances.  This seems to be shaping up for a Samms vs Corleone for Nora (I'm team Corleone, declaring it now.)  Nick the cat is still the intuitive wonder, giving Nora clues via scrabble tiles or even torn pages.

Plot and Pacing The plot is standard for a cozy, providing a reason for her to get involved.  But the plot gets progressively more complex.  Nicely done. The pace keeps a steady rhythm and kept me interested.  The killer reveal had some delicious tense moments and the wrap up set the stage for two men vying for Nora. 

This is a delightful mystery with plenty of charm and spunk.  If you are looking for an entertaining light mystery, this is your book.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.

Two-Layer Pumpkin Bread
Go for two layers of pumpkin bread in one recipe. Our Double Decker Pumpkin Bread features great fall spices and a layer of cream cheese for the ultimate in fall baking.

It works great for breakfast or as a fall snack.

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.
Next, grease the bottoms and a half an inch up the sides of two 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans.  Then place 4 ounces (that's half an 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese) in a medium bowl and add a quarter cup of sugar.

Use an electric mixer set on medium to combine them then add an 8-ounce container of sour cream and 1 egg. Beat everything well then stir in 2 tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger and set the mixture aside. Measure 3 cups of flour into a mixing bowl and then add 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and a half teaspoon of salt. Mix it well and set it aside.

Next, measure 2 cups of sugar into a large bowl then add 4 eggs, one 15-ounce can of pumpkin, 1 cup of cooking oil, and a third cup of water with a mixer on low. Combine everything well.

Now begin to gradually add the flour mixture and beat it until the four is fully combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Spoon 1-1/2 cups of batter into each loaf pan. Divide the cream cheese mixture between the 2 pans, making sure to spread it out evenly. Evenly spread the remaining pumpkin batter on top of each cream cheese layer. Bake each loaf until a toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean. This will take about 60 to 70 minutes.

Cool the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes then remove the loaves from the pans. Place each loaf on a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. Wrap the loaves and store them in the refrigerator overnight before slicing them. Store any leftover double-decker pumpkin bread on the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Unknown said...

I'm so glad you loved this one. I hope to start reading it in the next week or so. I do love my cozies:)

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