On the Chopping Block by Jenny Kales is the first book in the NEW “Callie’s Kitchen” mystery series. Publisher: Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, May 2016

On The Chopping BlockGreek-American food business owner and single mom Calliope “Callie” Costas faces Greek tragedy when a murder shakes the picturesque waterfront community of Crystal Bay, Wisconsin. Recipes included!

Building a small business has been murder, but Callie Costas didn’t expect to be confronted with an actual body. The 36-year-old Greek-American proprietor of “Callie’s Kitchen,” a meals-from-scratch business in an idyllic small town, has been busy creating a post-divorce life for herself, her young daughter and her pet Yorkie, Koukla. After a lot of hard work (including staving off her father’s continual advice), she’s got the locals and tourists clamoring for her delicious Mediterranean dishes and Midwest comfort food classics. Recently, she’s started a budding romance with a fellow foodie, the wealthy owner and chef of Crystal Bay’s most popular bistro.

However, success is as fleeting as one of Wisconsin’s glorious autumn days. As local businesses begin to shut down due to a slow economy, Callie is struggling not to become another statistic. A contest with a hefty cash prize seems like the perfect chance to fix her financial woes, until a shocking murder threatens not only her livelihood – but her life.

When she’s targeted as a prime suspect by an attractive expat British detective, Callie’s situation becomes more delicate than her Greek egg-lemon soup. She’s got to find the killer and fast if she wants to protect her daughter, save her business and stay alive.

Finding her boyfriend’s body, becoming a suspect and then a victim herself prompts Callie to look into his murder, so that her life can return to her form of normalcy.

What happens next is a delightfully charming read where tantalizing recipes are interspersed in the solving of this light whodunit. I like how easy the chapters flow from one scene to the next dishing up clues that when it was all pieced together, would lead to the discovery of the killer’s identity and boy what a surprising twist at that reveal. The mystery was well-baked, topped with a sprinkling of suspects that kept me reading as I had to know how this will all play out. The author does a great job in the presentation of this light and fresh story with a friendly cast of characters and engaging dialogue that enhanced the telling of this tale. This was a fun read and with the day it ended, I can’t wait to read the next book in this exciting new debut series.

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