Review: Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski

Chicken Soup & Homicide by Janel Gradowski
Series: Culinary Competition (# 2)
Release Date: February 18, 2015
Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing
Pages: 199
Source: book provided by the author for review
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Amy Ridley and her friend, Sophie, have perfected their chicken soup recipe, and the winter-weary residents of Kellerton, Michigan can’t wait to watch them compete against other local chefs in the Chicken Soup Showdown. But the charity event starts out with a bang, literally, when one of the rival chefs falls out of a freezer and onto Amy. If it wasn’t stressful enough for Amy to catch a dead body, the detective in charge of the investigation targets her best friend, Carla, as the chief suspect in the murder.

In order to clear her friend’s name, Amy does her own investigating. The problem is nobody liked the arrogant murdered celebrity chef, and soon her suspect list is longer than the list of ingredients in her secret chicken soup recipe. Can Amy figure out who killed the celebrity chef? Or will Carla be spending the spring in jail?

 

Review: Wow, what a difference one book can make! The first book in this series was really cute, and did get the ball rolling, but on uneven ground. Still, I liked it enough to give this second book a try and I have to say, I am really glad I did.

Amy has entered a chicken soup competition, but when she finds one of her competitors, an unpopular chef, dead in the walk in, her best friend, Carla, becomes the prime suspect. In the meantime, Amy’s husband, Alex, is working long hours away from home, which has Amy worried about her marriage.

I wasn’t sure, at first, if I could take Amy’s hyperactive personality for the long haul, but in this second installment, Amy’s character develops more, and her sleuthing is less frenetic and feels more like detective work, even though she’s obviously an amateur. A little bit of angst is added into the equation as well, since Amy is worried about Alex and Carla is worried about being a murder suspect, which gave the two friends something to bond over.

The only downside is the mystery, which for a veteran mystery reader, is still just a little too apparent, although it was much firmer this time around, and there were a few clever red herrings that kept me on my toes.

The pacing is fast, the dialogue crisp, and the characters seem to be developing quite nicely. But, you may not want to start this book on an empty stomach. Amy is a diehard foodie who is always dreaming up yummy, mouth watering recipes, some of which is included at the end of the book.

Overall, it looks like this series could be shaping up quite nicely.

 

Julie