Saturday, September 21, 2013

Book Review: The Chocolate Book Bandit by JoAnna Carl

In this forthcoming book from the Chocoholic Mystery series by JoAnna Carl, Texas transplant Lee McKinney is taking the next step to fully integrate into the town life in Warner Pier; she is interested in running for office. But not mayor or town treasurer; no, she has her sights set on somewhat more basic roles as a possible member of the library board or tourism committee. Safe bets to not challenge her time too much since she is still managing TenHuis Chocolade, her aunts chocolate business.
I should mention that despite the food heavy title, no recipes are included in this book. To some degree I consider that a shame because I would have loved to see some new gourmet-type chocolate recipes. What is included is information that I would call almost insight information about chocolate and reading these tidbits will sure come in handy during the next trivia contest. 

In general, Lee is too busy solving crimes than really do much food-related work and this sets the series apart from other cozy mysteries that often feature caterers and include significant parts of the book dedicated to general foodies talk. So if you are looking for that kind of food and cozy mystery, this book is not for you. If you are looking for a cozy mystery in which you can learn some interesting tidbits about the role of chocolate in the world, the additional information will be fascinating to read.
In this book, Lee encounters a suspicious death as she is starting to admire the library director, aptly named Butch. But her thoughts and Butch’s proposal for changes in the library are interrupted when a retiring member of the library board is found at the bottom of the stairs. What initially looks like a possible unfortunate fall soon turns to murder, not the least because Lee finds important evidence while being stuck at the crime scene with the rest of the board. 

So with the murder now at the forefront of the town, Lee is soon becoming involved in more mysteries because trying to uncover who wanted the board member dead uncovers a more complex web of intrigue that Lee could have anticipated. An intrigue that could pose a serious threat to Lee’s health as well as she digs deeper into the behind the scenes work of some of the board members. 

I liked this book, even though the story line was not always as clear as I could have wished. Overall, the mystery is a nicely written cozy mystery with an interesting set of characters. Some plot twists seem a little forced, but it is a book that will keep you entertained on a vacation or just sitting at home with a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate!

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