Going Organic Can Kill You by Staci McLaughlin is the first book in the new “Blossom Valley” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, July 2012

Welcome to Blossom Valley, CA, home of the O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa, complete with its new marketing maven, Dana Lewis, former Blossom Valley resident and unapologetic junk food connoisseur—and soon to be sleuth.

As Dana readjusts to life back home with her recently widowed mother, her latest career move isn’t exactly a piece of cake. In fact, it’s all tofu fish sticks, stuffed squash blossoms, and enough wheat grass shots to scream bloody murder—especially when Dana discovers the body of Maxwell Mendelsohn, Hollywood producer and opening weekend guest, deader than a yoga corpse pose. While Dana pens the Spa’s blog and balances the attentions of the local police and reporter Jason Forrester, her escalating job duties now include finding clues, motives and suspects. One thing’s for certain, she better act fast before all this healthy living kills her.

A dead body found on her second day. No one told Dana there be days like this working at the Spa. With an indifferent detective working the case and a promise to her mother, Dana sets out to find a killer before she loses another job. I like it. I really like it. Dana is a girl after my own heart with her love of junk food. In this well-crafted tale, the pace is evenly matched to the flow of the story. The mystery was good with plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing as to the identity of the killer. In addition to Dana, the cast is rounded out by her mom Dorothy, her sister Ashlee, her co-workers at the Spa and a smattering of local residents. The dialogue was very enjoyable, especially the delivery of Dana’s internal snarky remarks, which were quite humorous. This is a fun read and I look forward to more visits with Dana and the people of Blossom Valley in this attractively appealing debut series.

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