A New Beginning For Lilah Drake by Julia Buckley

Chedder Off DeadYou met Lilah Drake on this blog back in October, when The Big Chili came out. Now, as Cheddar Off Dead hits shelves on Sept 6, I’m providing some new, updated information about Lilah. I hope it makes you want to read the second in this series!

I’m Lilah Drake. A typical day for me starts early in the morning, when I get up to let out my dog, Mick, and start looking over my kitchen schedule for the day. I try to make dishes for my secret clients (what my father calls my Undercover Dish business) before I head over to Haven of Pine Haven, my new employer.

I was very excited to get the job at Haven, which is considered the best catering company in town. The owners, Esther and Jim Reynolds, have become my good friends, and I’ve learned a great deal while in their employ, not only about food, but about staying calm under pressure. Jim and Esther make it look easy, and their business, which has lovely living quarters in the back, has truly become a haven for me.

The holidays are approaching, so I’m hoping to schedule some time to spend with my parents, who are both Pine Haven Realtors, and with my brother Cameron, who lives in Chicago with his smart and beautiful girlfriend Serafina. Mick and I will probably make the rounds this holiday, and my mom and I have a traditional day on which we make Christmas cookies together. We’ll invite Serafina this year and she’ll show up looking amazing, as always, and will hopefully teach us how to make some Italian recipes.

I’m excited about the holidays for the most part. I have very little free time, so I don’t have much leisure to contemplate my recent failed relationship with Detective Jay Parker of the Pine Haven Police Department. I try to focus on the future, and not on Parker’s remarkable blue eyes or his handsome face or his enthusiasm for all of my culinary creations. Sometimes things just don’t work out, right?

Meanwhile, I am planning something wonderful! My best friend, Jenny Braidwell, has become one of my paid clients. She has hired me to make two big trays of Mac and Cheese, Lilah style, for her third grade class as part of the lunch buffet at their school Christmas party. Miss Braidwell has “made” this dish before, and she is beloved for it at Kennedy School. Sure, sometimes it’s a bummer that other people get the credit for the food I make, but this is just a temporary job. I have high hopes that my own business and my Haven experience will lead to bigger and better things in the future.

I should also mention that I always have a song in my head, and it tends to be a harbinger of my mood. I’m focused on positive things and looking forward to the New Year. So why is it that Blue Christmas keeps floating around in my mind?

I refuse to give in to gloomy thoughts! My visit to Jenny’s school is going to cheer me up. The kids will love the mac and cheese, and Jenny said there’s even going to be a “Christmas clown” and a genuine Santa Claus to perform and give presents to the children. If Santa can’t lift my mood, no one can!

I’m determined that this will be a good Christmas, and just the beginning of the big things in my future.


Cheddar Off Dead is the second book in the Undercover Dish mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, September 2016.

Caterer and cook Lilah Drake is up to her elbows in deadly trouble in the latest mystery from the author of The Big Chili. . .

The Christmas holidays are one of Lilah’s favorite times of the year, filled with friends, family, and, of course, tons of food orders for her covered dish clients. But Lilah’s Yuletide cheer ends when she sees a most Grinch-like crime: the murder of a Santa in a school parking lot.

It turns out the deceased Kris Kringle was a complicated tangle of naughty and nice, with a long list of people who might have wanted him dead. And whoever did the deed wants to make sure that Lilah keeps quiet. Now, Lilah will have to team up with her former fling, Detective Jay Parker, to unwrap the mysteries of a deadly Christmas killer and stay alive long enough to ring in the New Year. . .

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About the author
Julia Buckley is a Chicago area writer. Read more about her two cozy mystery series at JuliaBuckley.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Cheddar Off Dead. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 9, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

48 responses to “A New Beginning For Lilah Drake by Julia Buckley

  1. Loved the first book & can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. I’m ready to read a book with Christmas theme! Thanks for a chance to win the book.

  3. This book looks so good and I’d love to win it!

  4. Thanks for the review and the giveaway. This series has my attention and I want in on the action. I am getting the first book today to start so I can catch up on what I somehow missed before. I can’t wait, I love Mac and cheese and the thought of cool weather really has my attention. Thank you again for the review.

  5. Thanks Dru Ann and Julia! Awesome series! Would love to win! What an amazing week for book releases. A lot of faves for me.

  6. Thanks for the review and giveaway. Definitely adding this book to my TBR list.

  7. I started this series but have not finished but what I have read I have enjoyed. (Long story but summarized,. Most my books were destroyed while on vacation by angry kitties so having to replace everything).

  8. Thanks for the review. Sounds like another tbr. Thank you so much for introducing me to another book.

  9. elainehroberson

    Another new-to-me author to try. Thanks for a chance to win a copy. It sounds great.

  10. Enjoyed the first book in the series, so I’d love to win this one. Also wish I had a “Secret Chef” of my own!

  11. Who would want to murder Santa – I can’t wait to read this book to find out. Thank you for the chance to win

  12. Definitely adding this book to my TBR list. Thank you for the review and giveaway.

  13. I’ll look for the first in this series too.

  14. Your review pulled me in, thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  15. Great series. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway.

  16. This is a great series and I am sure your latest book will continue this positive path. Thank you for the opportunity to enter your giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  17. Now I can’t wait to start this series, my kind of book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  18. I have got to go get the first book now, I love the sound of this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  19. She is so positive, how can I Not want to read this book?

  20. Barbara Hackel

    Sounds like a great continuation of the series! Thanks Dru Ann for bringing it to my attention! Thanks to Julia for the chance to win a copy of the book> 🙂 Just reading the blog makes me hungry!

  21. Wow this sounds good…slurp…and makes me hungry too. Thanks for the chance. Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  22. This is a new author and series to me. Book sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read.

  23. Great review, Dru! Congrats on this newest release, Julia!
    I’ve been wanting to read this series along with The Writer’s Apprentice one. I’d love to win a copy.
    bpwoodfield@gmail.com

  24. Dru, you have done it again, Introducing me to a new author and new series (good thing is that this is the second book and I won’t have to read many to read Cheddar off Dead). I need to make some mac and cheese, next to chicken pot pie, mac and cheese is one of my comfort foods. vlhcats@gmail.com

  25. Susan Slovinsky

    Aaaah food and a mystery – just right for fall.

  26. Would love to win this but Now I have to read the first one.

  27. I enjoyed the first book in this series.

  28. I usually get one or two Christmas books each year and this sounds like a great new series! Would love to win a copy. Thanks.

  29. I like her books!

  30. I am just reading The Big Chili, and already can”t wait for the new one! Thanks for the chance to win!

  31. Pauline Barlow

    A great way to start reading mysteries centered around the 2016 Christmas Season. I am not familiar with this author but would like to get to know her books. Thanks for the chance to do so.

  32. Sounds like a great cozy. Thanks for having such great giveaway.

  33. Another good addition to the series

  34. Lilah’s “refuse to give in to gloomy thoughts” reminds me of what my Dad told us back in the early 60’s about humor being an attitude we can develop. It’s about how to deal with life and people. It’s rolling with the punch’s. You can either sink or swim. Think I would like to get to know Lilah. Thanks for the chance to do so. A new author/series is always so exciting. The comment to Linda reminds me of a couple months ago. My sister had thrown a belated surprise birthday party. Presenting me with a couple of books she had just bought from my book dealer. Jan had just gotten them in a shipment and a couple of days later I got the notice that I had won the book on one of the blog sites. Had briefly toyed with the idea of accepting and donating to the library. But then. Told the blog person to give it to the next person in line. Some are probably like me. Limited in funds, so it would not have been fair to accept it when I has just received it from another source.

  35. Good series. I want this one for my collection.

  36. I would love to win this book. Reading is my favorite hobby!

  37. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance to win

  38. Marihelen Ligon

    Can’t wait to read this book!! Many thanks for an opportunity to win.

  39. Donamae kutska

    It looks so good! I can’t wait to read it, thanks for the chance.

  40. would love to read..looks really good

  41. I’m excited to find a new author. The book sounds very good and I would love to read itc
    Deana (Harley)
    Jhdwayne@peoplepc.com

  42. Sounds like a fun read! I’m throwing my name into the hat and crossing my fingers… 🙂

  43. Hey Dru Ann! Thanks for the preview & the give-a-way. I love the title of this second installment of Julia’s.

  44. love this series. thanks for the chance to win a copy of the newest installment!

  45. Loved the first one and I am looking forword to the nest one Thanks

  46. Food and mystery is a good combination that I love to read about.