Kill ‘Em with Cayenne (A Spice Shop Mystery, #2)
by: Gail Oust
Series: A Spice Shop Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Kill 'Em with Cayenne, a brand new finger-lickin’ good mystery from Gail Oust, featuring small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott, a smart and spunky amateur sleuth.
Spices are flying off the shelves of Spice It Up!, and Piper Prescott couldn’t be happier. It’s that time of year again—time for the annual Brandywine Creek Barbecue Festival. Soon contestants and BBQ aficionados from all over the Southeast will converge on the town. Many of Brandywine Creek’s citizens plan to participate in the week-long festivities and are busily concocting savory rubs and sassy sauces. Among the locals vying for the grand prize are Becca Dapkins and Maybelle Humphries. The women have been arch enemies ever since Buzz Oliver dumped Maybelle after a thirteen-year courtship and started seeing Becca.
When Becca’s body is found near one of the festival booths, bludgeoned by a brisket, Maybelle becomes one of Chief Wyatt McBride’s top suspects. Determined to help clear her friend’s name, Piper begins her own investigation, much to McBride’s consternation. As the festival draws closer, will Piper and Reba Mae be able to find the real killer and clear Maybelle’s name? Will Piper make it to the annual shag contest with Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been seeing? And, who will win the BBQ cook-off?
Kill ‘em with Cayenne is the second book in Gail Oust’s A Spice Shop Mystery Series. Told in first person from the point of view of Piper Prescott, it kept me entertained from the beginning. Gail is a new author to me, and I loved that I was able to pick up this book and not feel lost in character interactions and dynamics.
I liked the fact that the murder of Becca Dapkins happened quickly in the book. Oh no...Does that make me a bad person for wanting someone to die? But after that, there really isn't a whole lot going on. The town of Brandywine, Georgia is preparing for it’s annual barbecue festival. There are what seem to be little meaningless crimes going on. But you have to wonder if these crimes are something more.
While the death of Becca is shocking, the list of potential killers isn’t. Becca, who worked in the office of the town’s water department, wasn’t really a well-liked woman. She was the type of woman who saw a man she wanted and set out to get him. It didn’t matter to her if he was available or not.
The likely suspect is Maybelle Humphries, who happens to be a friend of Piper’s. With the motive of Becca stealing her man and no alibi, Chief Wyatt McBride is looking at Maybelle as the killer. Not wanting Maybelle to go to prison for a crime she didn’t commit, Piper starts to look for clues and other suspects on her own. This, of course, puts her at odds once again with the sexy and charming homegrown Chief.
Generally, in cozies, I find that the life of the protagonist is put in jeopardy several times throughout the book. That wasn’t the case with Kill ‘em with Cayenne. Piper’s life is on an even keel. For the most part, she’s just going on with her daily life. Unfortunately, that involves having to deal with her 16 going on 25-year-old daughter, her cheating ex-husband, and the annoying homewrecker, who her husband happens to be marrying.
I think really one of my favorite things about the book were the red herrings. I will admit to going around in circles, trying to figure out who murdered Becca and why. I didn’t find the climax to be overly dramatic, but it was perfect. I could honestly care less about spices (no offense to Piper and her shop Spice it Up!), but I’m not much of a cook. With that said....I’m really glad I read this book and I’m looking forward to more books in this series. Psst Gail....Chief Wyatt McBride seems to be a whole lot more fun than dull vet Doug Winters. The romance girl in me is on pins and needles waiting to see if Chief McBride is going to make a move or not.
**Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest unbiased review.**
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Friends accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner. It wasn’t until after she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. Hearing the words “maybe it’s a dead body” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series published by NAL. Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries published by Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press. Kill ‘em with Cayenne, the second in the series, was released December 2014. Her interests include reading, travel, golf, and spending time with friends and family.
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