A Day in the Life of Josie Sullivan by Catherine Bruns

Burned To A CrispI’ve seen some pretty strange things in my life. There was the time when my eldest son glued the baby’s diaper to the floor, or when my five-year-old ate a fly—on purpose—because he wanted to know what they tasted like. “Kind of salty,” was his response when I asked.

This all pales in comparison to a day at Sally’s Samples. It’s a specialty cookie shop owned by my best friend, Sally (Sal) Muccio. Since she returned home from Florida a year ago after leaving her loser, cheating ex-husband, I have witnessed some really weird, totally out there freaky events at the bakery, plus a couple of dead bodies thrown in as well. They take the cake—literally.

If you happen to be one of the few people in Colwestern, New York who doesn’t know me, my given name is Josephine Annabelle Sullivan. However, if you call me by that, I may have to hurt you. Josie will do just fine. I’m married with four little boys, and head baker at Sally’s Samples. Not to sound boastful, but my cookies are the best in town, especially the oatmeal crème pie ones. I tell you, Little Debbie has got nothing on me.

Sal always says it’s our shop but she’s being nice. If you ask me, she’s too nice. Sal’s the one who owns the place. Still, she lets me tell her what to do. . .most of the time.

So, here’s the thing. I love Sal dearly but she’s kind of like this magnet for disaster. Every time her life is going good, something happens and then she gets burned. Yeah, pun intended. A few months ago, her ex came back into her life and threatened to sue her for the business, then he turned up dead and Sal’s boyfriend (now fiancé) was accused of his murder. I mean, the girl just can’t catch a break.

Last night, the bakery caught on fire. I was sound asleep, exhausted from chasing my little monsters around the house when the phone rang. It was Sal, screaming that the place was going up in flames. Even worse? It looks like someone did this deliberately and yep, you guessed it—they found a dead body in the back room. How original (eye roll.)

Sal’s younger sister, Gianna, lives over the bakery. She wasn’t in the building at the time, thank goodness, but now she’s disappeared. Gianna’s a newly appointed lawyer and her first case was defending some sleaze named Bernardo Napoli who got brought up on racketeering charges. The case was dismissed when one of the jurors asked Gianna out. I know. . .more bad luck for the Muccio family.

Speaking of luck, Sal thinks the fortune cookies are to blame for everything. We hand out free homemade ones to customers whenever they make a purchase. I bake the cookies but don’t write the messages—we buy them from a novelty shop. Everyone adores the cookies but Sal. She thinks they’re evil. I mean, that’s crazy, right? Just because she got a message inside one yesterday that read, “Things will heat up for you tonight.” Totally a coincidence. Right?

Until we find another building, we’ll be running the bakery from Sal’s parents’ house. They’re lovely people, but also certifiably nuts. Her mother enters beauty contests and acts and dresses like a teenager. Sal’s father has a coffin in the living room, in case one of our customers wants to take it for a “test drive.” Yep, he’s definitely missing a few screws upstairs.

So why, you might ask, did someone burn down Sal’s bakery? Oh and did I forget to mention that the body belonged to Gianna’s client, Bernardo? Who killed him and why was he in the bakery alone? How come Sal’s fiancé is lying to her? Sal wants answers so maybe we should ask the fortune cookies.

Nah, that’s just being silly.


Burned to a Crisp is the third book in the Cookies & Chance mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, October 2016.

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next sinfully delicious Cookies & Chance Mystery. . .

Just when things appear to be going well for baker and sometime sleuth, Sally Muccio, life turns up the heat again.

It’s summertime, and the living is easy for the Muccio clan. Sal’s wedding to her beloved fiancé is rapidly approaching, Mom’s won a beauty contest, and sister Gianna is now a licensed public defender. But when the bakery Sal’s worked so hard for goes up in smoke—along with her dreams!—she’s not sure how much more she can stand. Even worse, the man found dead in the bakery’s back room is none other than Gianna’s latest client, Bernardo Napoli.

The dough really hits the fan for Sal and Josie when they’re forced to temporarily relocate their bakery to the crazy Muccio home. Trouble is quickly stirred up as the best friend team must now contend with Sal’s father and his new mortuary business “undertakings,” a middle aged mother parading around customers in bikinis, and an Italian family hell bent on revenge. For Sal, several questions demand answers. Where has Gianna disappeared to? What role did she play in Bernardo’s death? What secret is Sal’s fiancé hiding from her? Sal is determined to find answers. . .before she gets burned once again!

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About the author
Catherine is the USA Today best selling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Catherine also writes the Cindy York mysteries and coming next January, the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries. Connect with Catherine at catherinebruns.net.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win either a print (U.S. residents only, please) or e-book (open to everyone) of Burned to a Crisp. The giveaway will end October 14, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

40 responses to “A Day in the Life of Josie Sullivan by Catherine Bruns

  1. I a man so excited about this book!!!

  2. Hey how about Battered and Bruised for a book title? Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  3. a series I need to binge-read!!!
    thank you for the giveaway………..

  4. Love the chance to read. Thank you for the giveaway

  5. This is a new series to me and sounds like a good book. Thank you for the chance to win

  6. “Every time her life is going good, something happens and then she gets burned.” ????? her life is going well!!!! Reading that in a book really turns me off.

    • Catherine Bruns

      I’m so sorry if the comment offended you. It was only meant to be taken as a pun, since Sally’s bakery burns down in the story.

  7. Peggy Hyndman

    I enjoy reading the Cookies & Chance and the Cindy York mysteries. Thank you for this chance!

  8. Thanks for the chance to win. Book sounds great!

  9. This sounds like a great cozy! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    wfnren at aol dot com

  10. elainehroberson

    Another new-to-me author to try. I would love to win a print copy.

  11. Thank you for the introduction to Catherine Bruns. I have not had the pleasure of reading her book yet but after reading your blog I am sure I will be checking it out soon. I love print copy of books because I can make notes or highlight areas I want to emphasis on a review that I might leave. robeader53@yahoo.com

  12. Enjoy the Cookies & Chance Mysteries – looking forward to reading the latest.

  13. Sounds like a fun read.

  14. Love to read this cute cozy.

  15. Ooooo! I want it!

  16. Donamae kutska

    I haven’t read this author yet, but, want to now!

  17. Missy VanHoose

    Excited to read this!!! I have my copy and hopefully will get started on reading it this afternoon.

  18. Sounds like Sal and Josie really have a serious problem this time! Thanks for the contest.

  19. Love this series. Always a fun time with Sally and her family and friends

  20. Pauline Barlow

    I have not tried this series by Catherine Bruns but would like to soon. Are there recipes in the books?

  21. You have to feel sorry for someone like this who just can’t get a breather.

  22. There’s nothing better than a mystery and oatmeal crème cookies.

  23. Kathleen Costa

    I love this series….big fan of Catherine Bruns!

  24. That’s a lucky character who gets to hang out in a bakery all day. I’ love that part of the lifestyle. Thanks for the chance to win the book.

  25. I’ve read so much about this book. I can’t wait to read it!

  26. Doward Wilson

    I love this author’s books & can’t wait to read this series. Thanks for the chance to win.

  27. Carlita Barnes

    I have read all the books so far….can’t wait for the next!
    Of course I need to eat some cookies while reading!!! (NOT FORTUNE COOKIES)

  28. This is a new series to me and I would like to read “Burnt to a Crisp”. It sounds like a great read and I’m definitely adding to my TBR list.

  29. Sounds like a good book. Another new to me author

  30. Susan Slovinsky

    When the description has me laughing out loud its definitely a series I’m adding to the TBR List. Thank you.

  31. Okay, Goodreads got me started on this series and now I’m just as addicted to it as I am to my butterscotch/chocolate chip cookies. This sounds like a great follow up to Baked to Death and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks so much for the giveaway and I’m hoping for better luck than Sal has LOL!


  33. Another fun title! Thanks for the chance to win a print copy