"An Appetite for Murder" by Lucy Burdette
Reviewed by David Marshall James
This new (paperback original) mystery series knows exactly where it's going, how to get there, and how to be most tasty in the process.
The protagonist, Hayley Snow (named after 1960s icon Hayley Mills), has finally made the big break from her Mom's nest, only to find herself in a jam, more than one-thousand miles from home.
However, Hayley fights every impulse to slink back to New Jersey from Key West, even though her short-lived, live-in romance has gone sour faster than a pitcher of cream in Death Valley.
She is naive, as her crummy ex observes, but he has also used Hayley as a filler during his regular squeeze's fling with someone else. As soon as she's done flinging, he's slinging Hayley out of his deluxe waterfront condo.
Still, she has cheap digs on a friend's houseboat, as well as another supportive buddy on the island.
They constituted her mind's safety net when she relocated, and she bounces hard off of them.
Nevertheless, Hayley hasn't wasted any time falling for the charms of Key West, and she's got all digits crossed that she'll snag the food critic's slot at Zest, a start-up magazine.
Yet that prospect hasn't been looking so hot, since the publication's co-owner happens to be "the other woman" in Hayley's what-passes-for-love triangle.
Then, that nemesis turns up fatally poisoned, unable to resist a key-lime pie. Can't blame her much, there.
Hayley finds herself the prime suspect, the flames of her alleged motive actively fanned by her (didn't we say he was crummy?) ex.
Hayley's enthusiasm for food (which extends to cooking as well as eating and writing) and for Key West prove most infectious in this deceptively simple mystery that clicks on every level, right down to the solution of the homicide.
The author, Lucy Burdette (Roberta Isleib), has a good thing going, and a sample of the sequel included herein furthers the notion that this is a new series with plenty of juice-- and zest.
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