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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Blackberry Crumble by Josi S. Kilpack

Blackberry Crumble (Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mysteries #5)
Josi S. Kilpack

Page Count: 368
Release Date: 9 March 2011
Publisher: Deseret Book
Source: Complimentary copy provided by Pump Up Your Book Virtual Tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

by Jane Seeley, feature reporter, The Denver Post

Local "celebrity" Sadie Hoffmiller has been involved in a number of unfortunate situations that have taken her to crime scenes from London, England, to Miami, Florida, and even in her own backyard in Garrison, Colorado. But is she truly an unwitting bystander in all these investigations? Or is she becoming something more? Is she, perhaps, even the cause...?
The word is out about Sadie Hoffmiller's amateur detective work, but it's not the kind of publicity Sadie wants. When Jane's article threatens Sadie's reputation in the community, she accepts her first investigation-for-hire and travels to Portland, Oregon—if only to give herself some space from her whispering neighbors. And from Pete, who is sending her mixed signals about their budding relationship.

Sadie hopes the Portland air will clear her head, and she is eager to get to work for May Sanderson, who has suspicions about her father's untimely death.

Putting her detective skills to the test, Sadie delves into a complicated past that includes a business partnership that didn't end well, several unsavory family secrets, and more than a few motives for murder.

Sadie is afraid she might crumble under the pressure, but in a new place with new recipes, she finds herself more determined than ever to uncover the answers buried in scandal, insatiable appetites, and pure and simple greed.

What Stephanie Thought: I usually prefer mysteries with strong romantic or horror elements included in them, because let's face it—if I'm going to spend that much brain power on trying to unlock the quintessential "puzzle", I might as well do it efficiently. Blackberry Crumble is neither erotic nor terrifyingly spine-chilling, yet I still had a great time reading it.

The main reason why this is not my usual type of book is because first of all, the main protagonist, Sadie Hoffmiller, is at least twice my age. However, Sadie's fifty-year-old issues do not stand prominent throughout the story. Rather, the timeless, ageless dilemmas that Josi S. Kilpack presents are what make the novel shine.

As part of the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mysteries series, Blackberry Crumble makes a fantastic stand-alone novel. I haven't read the four previous titles, but I still got through it fine. Of course, now I want to go back and read all of the preceding books.

Sadie is, one fine sunny day, presented a problem greater than anything she's ever encountered. A problem that may risk her clean reputation in her friendly, small-town neighborhood. A problem that may risk her life... and the lives of those she loves. She knows there is only one way to get out of this mess, and that is to help out a woman in need, a woman named May who claims Sadie is perfect for a private investigation she wants to solve. Sadie is by no means a detective, but her moral and social values know it would be best to assist this troubled stranger.

In the end, Sadie betrays and is betrayed, learns secrets and reveals secrets, and once, is even slapped (not much of a horror to me, but seemed terrifying to Sadie). But the whole time, she sticks to her determination to find out what truly happened to May's father, if it's the last thing she does.

Kilpack's writing style
flows well—it's very easy to read and oftentimes funny. Occasionally, the dialogue is a little unrealistic, as if it were formatted exactly to be written in print. But other than that, the story was easy to comprehend, and I had a few laughs along the way.

What I loved most were all the
recipes featured at the end of every few chapters. Blackberry Crumble may keep you at the edge of your seat, attempting to solve the mystery (that completely dupes you at the end—such an unexpected and riveting ending!), but more importantly, it will keep you licking your lips and your stomach growling. Now that is what I call power of a book.

Kilpack writes a humorous and intriguing novel about family and love, that is all the while completely appropriate and chaste. The characters are relatable and the food sounds scrumptious. Definitely a culinary mystery you don't want to miss.

Stephanie Loves: "'Sadie?' Pete said, squeezing her hand.

She loved the sound of her name on his lips."

Radical Rating: 
8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥