I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for Murder Made to Order by Lena Gregory on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance at the Giveaway!
Murder Made to Order (All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
2nd in Series
Lyrical Underground (June 19, 2018)
Paperback: 196 pages
Digital ASIN: B075WBZH6L
To save her cozy Florida diner, Gia Morelli must choke down a heaping helping of murder.
New York native Gia Morelli is just getting used to life in Florida when she gets word that the town government wants to shut down her pride and joy: the charming little diner known as the All-Day Breakfast Café. A forgotten zoning regulation means that the café was opened illegally, and hardboiled council president Marcia Steers refuses to budge. Gia is considering hanging up her apron and going back to New York, but before she gives up on her dream, she discovers something shocking in the local swamp: Marcia Steers, dead in the water. There’s a secret buried in the books at town hall, and someone killed to keep it hidden. To save her café and bring a killer to justice, Gia and her friends will have to figure out a killer’s recipe for murder . . .
Anyone knows a New Yorker can’t make grits like a true Southerner would have their grits. Nevertheless, Gia Morelli is making real progress with her All Day Breakfast Cafe and has a growing number of true and loyal diners. That’s one of the things that makes this second installment of her mystery series so appealing, the support characters.
Unfortunately, her success may have spurred the city council to recall an old zoning regulation and now the local council president is spearheading the drive to shut her down.
Gia has been wrestling with the changes to her life anyway, from the bears and alligators to the bugs and snakes, and she’s been freaking out over the differences the small town of Boggy Creek offers compared to her former NYC life. But then, there was a reason she left the big city behind. Still, she can’t believe she’d be forced to close just when it appears to be taking hold and she’d require some additional help.
Her friend Savannah (perfect name, huh?) is there to interpret everything southern and Gia has managed to make a number of friends along with a possible romantic interest in Tall, Dark, and Compelling. But then as she’s taking Thor, a Bernese Mountain dog who doesn’t walk so much as bound through the tick-infested brush, for a walk she stumbles across Marcia Steers, half in, half-out of the swampy bog and it’s obvious she won’t ever move to try to oust Gia from her restaurant again. She was supposed to have met with Marcia to discuss a private matter. Oh well…
I’ve gotta say, I’ve been plunked into Florida before, and it is definitely an eye-opening experience. I’m not sure why a city girl would choose to live at the edge of bear territory instead of closer to her diner, but she does. And then she takes on a mountain of a puppy, who having walked into the brush would definitely come out with more ticks than Gia, but she does. But who doesn’t love a dog in a cozy mystery and Thor definitely is given some appealing traits. I really enjoyed BFF Savannah as well as Earl, the cafe’s early and first very loyal customer. Reading about him and the characters that comprise her patrons, I’m reminded of a welcome breakfast stop we took when moving to Idaho and overheard the conversation of a group of good ole boys in coveralls at the next table:
“Whar’s Homewood?” “Wahl, it’s out aways.” “How far?” “Wahl, if you get to the river, you’ve gone too far.”
(It still cracks us up.) Well, anyway, the author does a great job fleshing out her characters and you quickly learn to appreciate them all–there is a reason they are in the story.
The protagonist, Gia, follows the breadcrumbs from the murder and thankfully doesn’t sit down with possible suspects and skewer them with questions. She does, however, give us a close-in kitchen account for whipping up breakfasts for groups of eight or more (the last thing I’d ever try), and she seems to have a fine handle on being a short-order cook until she can find one.
This series entry could function as a standalone as details carried forward from the debut answer most questions. Strong character-driven book gives an affectionate look into a small southern town with all the flavors of the season. I might have done without all the short-order lessons, but enjoyed the side-trips into the hinterlands, and the sleuthing is very subtle. Red herrings aside, the conclusion is smooth and not wholly unexpected but was fun to see played out. The plot is well-paced and satisfying and is highly recommended. If you enjoy cozies, you will enjoy this one.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
You MUST hurry (like today!) to get in on this one (1) chance to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card in the Rafflecopter giveaway
Lena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.
When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
June 20 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
June 20 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 20 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 21 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
June 21 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
June 22 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
June 22 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 23 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
June 23 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 24 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
June 24 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST
June 25 – Varietats – REVIEW, GUEST POST
June 25 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
June 26 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
June 27 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST
June 27 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 27 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
June 28 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 28 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
June 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
June 29 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
June 30 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
June 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 1 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
July 1 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
July 2 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 3 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
July 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
Thanks to Lena Gregory, the publisher, NetGalley AND Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2018 V Williams