Grilling The Subject by Daryl Wood Gerber is the fifth book in the “Cookbook Nook” mystery series. Publisher: Penguin Random House, August 2016

Grilling The SubjectThings heat up for bookstore owner Jenna Hart in the latest Cookbook Nook mystery from the Agatha Award-winning author of Fudging the Books.

As the Wild West Extravaganza rides into Crystal Cove, California, Cookbook Nook store owner Jenna Hart is ready to indulge her appetite for grilled and barbecued treats and maybe even try the Texas skip. But when the body of one of her father’s neighbors is found the next morning smoldering in a bonfire, the rodeo revelry is extinguished.

Sylvia Gump had acquired plenty of enemies with her practice of illegally encroaching on her neighbors’ properties—including Jenna’s dad, who was off fishing by himself and has no alibi for the murder. Now it’s up to Cary Hart’s dutiful daughter to clear his name before the real killer turns up the heat and rakes someone else over the coals.

I always love my annual visit to Crystal Cove, California. The narrative transports me back to a place that is welcoming, despite the occasional murder. In the latest incident, an enemy of Jenna’s father is murder and when he becomes the prime suspect, of course Jenna has to do what comes naturally to her, ask inquisitive questions that will lead to the apprehension of the killer.

This was a well-written light drama that had a comfortable tone and evenly-paced tempo. The author did a great job with providing a mixed bag of suspects who all played their part exquisitely that kept me on my toes as many times I thought I had it figured out until the author changed the direction the story-line was headed. This not only enhanced the telling of this tale, but ratcheted up on the suspense as to who murdered the victim. The author also provided another subplot which answered the question of who was stalking Jenna and when that was revealed, it bought about an end to that chapter in her life. . .one that was emotional. Good Job. Jenna is a lovable heroine, but I adore her BFF Bailey. She is a hoot. Boasting a great cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a feel good atmosphere, this is one of the best book in this delightfully charming series and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Jenna and friends.

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