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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review - Silence of the Flans

This is the second book in the new Emergency Dessert Squad series.  I have often said that I consider the second book the most difficult, following up even a fair debut carries a tremendous burden to do even better.  I reviewed the first book, Eclair and Present Danger (click here) and we had a delightful guest post by the author (click here).  Read on if you are interested in how the second book did in my humble opinion.

Author:  Laura Bedford

Copyright: March 2017 (Berkley) 300 pgs

Series: 2nd in Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Winnie Johnson, baker and owner of Emergency Dessert Squad

Setting: Modern day, Silver Lake - a small college town somewhere

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the cover: "Baker Winnie Johnson does her best work when the heat is on. As owner of the Emergency Dessert Squad, she has a deft touch in the kitchen and a soft spot for lost causes. So when her business professor beau, Jay Morgan, expresses misgivings over having to fail one of his fourth-year students, Winnie cooks up a sweet solution. 
She’ll offer an extra credit opportunity in exchange for a little help with her growing business. But when her protégé’s first dessert delivery poisons a student journalist, the publicity threatens to burn Winnie’s business to a crisp. Now the entrepreneur-turned-detective must uncover the ingredients behind a recipe for murder before she crumbles under pressure."

Winnie Johnson enjoys the company of seniors and lives to slave away at a stove.  Renee Ballentine, the stileto wearing single mom is her best friend and cheerleader.  Mr. Nelson is the downtstairs elderly neighbor and another cheerleader who is fighting mad over the town catering to a developer.  Bridget is the elderly newspaper gossip columnist and another cheerleader for Winnie.  Greg Stevens is the hunkie fireman who shows an interest in Winnie and tries courting her in this story since Jay shuts Winnie out.  Jay Morgan, the professor and guy who makes Winnie's heart beat faster, gives her the cold shoulder throughout the story.  I had a difficult time with that scenario and his lame excuse.  Lovey, the cat she also inherited that hisses at her continually is ever present and maybe warming to Winnie a little. 

Silver Lake College is a featured setting other than Winnie's kitchen or front porch. The plot implicates Winnie as a murderer and provides the reason for her to investigate. It is straight-forward with the impact of her business failing and the town (particularly Jay) suspecting her as the  driving urgency.  That resulted in some pacing lulls - as least for me.  

There is no suspenseful killer confrontation or reveal. Winnie realizes she is alone with the killer, then - end scene.  New chapter after killer arrested.  The rest is the wrap-up.  If you have followed many of my reviews, you know a well crafted tense or suspenseful killer confrontation is my favorite.  I can appreciate even the less nail-biting killer reveals, but to not cover it at all?!  I don't know about you, but I feel incredibly cheated by that non-climax.  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

I like the quirky premise of this series, a rescue dessert squad that delivers the individual dessert in an ambulance - on a stretcher.  But the concept also requires a significant amount of suspension of disbelief that selling desserts one custom order at a time, custom baked at the time of the order, out of a house kitchen, plus delivery is not only affordable but pays enough to support two employees.  If you can overlook that logical hiccup, then the idea is cute.

Rating: Good - A fun read with minor flaws as noted. Use your own judgement as to whether these items I noted will be a deal breaker for you.

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Kerrianne (Goodreads) 5 star
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"What a great book - fun content, well-organized and easy to read and digest!" 

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