Gluten PunishmentGluten for Punishment by Nancy J. Parra is the first book in the new “Baker’s Treat” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2013

Gluten-free baker Toni Holmes may not cook with wheat, but when there’s a criminal on the loose, she’ll do what it takes to figure out who has their finger in the pie.

Even though Toni is used to going against the grain by preparing allergy-safe, gluten-free products for her online bakery, Baker’s Treat, opening a storefront in the middle of wheat country Kansas might be biting off more than she can chew. The town is already skeptical of her flour-free ways, but when a local wheat farmer is murdered outside her patisserie, skepticism turns into outright suspicion.

With the help of her eccentric grandmother, her handsome lawyer, and the sexy new widower in town, Toni is determined to find the real criminal before bad publicity and increasingly personal acts of vandalism shut her down. But when another suspect winds up dead, Toni realizes that this half-baked killer isn’t just trying to get her to close shop—he’s trying to make sure that she’s made her last gluten-free cookie…forever.

What a delightful introduction to the world of Toni Holmes in Oiltop, Kansas. Toni springs into action when a lone protestor of her bakery is later found dead outside its door. Aided by her feisty grandmother, the duo begins looking into the dead man’s life to see who wanted him dead.

This was a great read that I could not put down as I quickly turned the pages to see what happens next. I love the tone of the story and how it flowed from chapter to chapter. The author did a good job in keeping me on my toes with plenty of viable suspects; including some twists that gave me pause. I love the people that inhabit this small town in Kansas from Toni, her BFF Tasha; gutsy grandma Ruth and the two men who are after Toni’s heart. This was nicely done and gave me a better sense of celiac sensitivity. This is a sweet read that will whet your appetite for more in this pleasantly appealing series and is a welcome addition to the cozy genre. I look forward to the next adventures with Toni and her friends. Bonus recipes are included.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

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