Torn Asunder By Barbara Ross: Review/Giveaway/Father’s Day Recipe

Jun 15, 2024 | 2024 Articles, Food Fun, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy & Barbara Ross

This week we are reviewing the latest Clambake Mystery by Barbara Ross, plus Barbara shares a recipe perfect for Father’s Day. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase the book from Amazon.

Torn Asunder by Barbara Ross
Review by Sandra Murphy

Julia Snowden runs the Snowden Family Clambake during the summer and works with her best friend and business partner, Zoey, during the off season. Zoey’s dream has always been of a traditional wedding—white dress, huge cake, thrown bouquet, first dance, everything except being walked down the aisle since she doesn’t know who her father is. Now her dream is about to come true.

The wedding will take place on Morrow Island where the clambakes are held. Even though Zoey lacks blood relatives, the guest list is full of mutual friends, neighbors, and the groom’s large family. Her dream wedding is planned to the last detail—except for a storm rolling in. They need to serve the food at the rehearsal dinner and get everyone onto the Jacquie II and get them back to the mainland.

There is one older man who seems to know everyone but isn’t on the guest list. He joins the family table and as the first course is served, falls off the bench, unable to breathe. The staff handles the situation in as subtle a manner as possible but it’s impossible to keep the news from the guests. The man has died. Worse yet, it looks like murder.

With the guests off-island, due to return for the wedding the next day, the Coast Guard unable to come for the body, cell and phone service down, and a dead guy, it’s not the dream wedding Zoey planned. It’s a nightmare. There are twists and turns, red herrings, lies, and motives everywhere Julia looks. She and her significant other, Tom, plus a few trusted others, attempt to solve the mystery and still pull off the wedding on time. Can it be done?

This is book 12 in the series and sadly, the last. I’ve enjoyed Julia and her family, Gus, Mrs. Gus, Livvie and Sonny, Jamie, Zoey, and the rest of the townspeople. It would be a wonderful place to visit—as long as you’re not the next murder victim!

Ross also has written six holiday themed stories with two other authors (Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis) and two Jane Davenport mysteries. Most of the books were reviewed for KRL. I wish we’d seen more of Jane—she’s a great character

Since the meals served during the clambake are always described in mouth-watering detail, Ross has included recipes at back of the book to give readers a taste of island life. They include: lobster-caviar canapes with mushroom duxelles, fennel and blood orange salad, baked stuffed lobster tails, asparagus mushroom risotto, and chocolate-covered toffee squares.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She’s the editor for the upcoming Yeet Me in St Louis, an anthology with stories from twelve St. Louis writers. Her own short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery Magazine, and anthologies such as The Perp Wore Pumpkin and I (Almost) Died in Your Arms. ‘Lucy’s Tree’, published in The Eyes of Texas, won a Derringer Award from the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She lives in St. Louis with Ozzie the Westie Impersonator and his sidekick in crime, Louie the Cat.

Asparagus-Mushroom Risotto from Torn Asunder, A perfect addition to your Father’s Day meal!
From Barbara Ross

At the wedding feast in Torn Asunder, stuffed lobster tails are served on a bed of asparagus-mushroom risotto. We like it served that way, too.

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto Ingredients


1 ounce dried mushrooms
4 cups chicken broth
6 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 large shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dried porcini powder
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch lengths
1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Boil 2 cups of water in the microwave, about 5 minutes, and pour over the dried mushrooms. Allow to sit for 1/2 hour. Drain the mushrooms (reserving liquid for another use) and coarsely chop.

Warm the chicken broth in a separate pan.

Mushroom Asparagus Risotto with stuffed lobster tails

Heat a large, deep skillet on medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil.
Add the fresh mushrooms and cook until they give up most of their liquid, about 8 minutes.
Add the reconstituted mushrooms and shallots. Cook another 6 minutes.
Add garlic and dried porcini powder, stir, and cook another 3 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons butter and the remaining oil and stir in rice.
Cook, stirring constantly until rice is coated and turning translucent.
Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.
Begin adding broth by ladlefuls, stirring until each is totally absorbed before adding the next. When halfway through, add the asparagus and herbs. When finished stirring in broth, stir in the cheese. Finish by stirring in the remaining butter.

You can click here to purchase this book from Amazon.

To enter to win a copy of Torn Asunder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “asunder” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 22, 2024. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.

Barbara Ross is the author of twelve Maine Clambake Mystery novels and six novellas. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Barbara lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I’ve read a couple of these. Count me in!

  2. Great series! Looking forward to reading “Torn Asunder,”.

  3. Sounds interesting! Thank you for the chance!

  4. Great series and a wonderful setting for a wedding!

  5. Dream weddings always seem to end up a
    disaster – and usually ends well. thanks

  6. We have a winner!


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