Book Review | If you give a mystery lover a cookie…

Kensington Press · August 2006 · 436 pages

img_0156-2Dear Reader,

Joanne Fluke’s new book in her Hannah Swenson series is coming out this month and it looks interesting, so I decided to read the first book in the series. What I discovered was a true, old-school, cozy mystery from its amateur detective to its numerous red herrings. The reader’s desire to figure out who did it is what drives the pace of the story, and it has a fun little extra with cookie recipes dispersed throughout the novel.

…He’s going to want a thrilling read to go with it (Pace of the novel)

Fluke at times uses an abundance of unnecessary descriptives, focusing on the mundane rather than the action. This surprised me considering that she has been writing since 1980, but I’m curious if I will find the same issue in the new book as well. This slows down the pace of the book as it snarls the reader in minutiae. I kept thinking that there must be clues among all the details but I was unable to find any.

…She’s going to want some clues

There are plenty of red herrings as you would expect from a cozy mystery, and I was unable to guess who-did-it before getting to the end. I think this is great because it is not as fun to guess who did it too early in the story. I did find myself wondering if there was enough real clues interspersed in the story, though, as the ending was a complete surprise and not an “ah hah , how could I not have seen that” moment.

The plot is strong and stays on point throughout the book. The dairy delivery guy was killed close to Hannah’s bakery and she helps her brother-in-law, a policeman up for promotion, figure out who did it and why. Many cookies were made, given out, and eaten throughout the story but who doesn’t like cookies.

…He’s going to expect interesting characters

Fluke’s characters are so genuine they could be your own sister, friend, or coworker. Many of my favorite cozy writers use over the top characters that provide fun and entertainment, but Fluke keeps it real. I appreciate her ability to write characters that are genuine, as that can be difficult to do. Hannah Swenson is a bakery owner and part time amateur detective. She takes cookies wherever she goes and oftentimes finds that they open doors for her, literally and figuratively.

Fluke is a new find on my bookshelves, and I am glad I discovered her.