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Final Sentence: A cookbook Nook Mystery By Daryl Wood Gerber: Review/Giveaway


FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andCynthia Chow,
andMysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

We are excited to be reviewing the first book in Daryl Wood Gerber’s (aka Avery Aames) brand new series! Details on winning of copy of Final Sentence at the end of this post. Also in this same issue, a never before published mystery short story by Daryl.

Leaving San Francisco and her successful career as an in-demand marketing expert, Jenna Hart allowed her Aunt Vera to convince her to return to her hometown of Crystal Cove, California. Aunt Vera owns the Fisherman’s Village Mall and wants Jenna to reopen the cookbook store and café. The deaths of both her mother and husband two years ago devastated Jenna and created a rift between her and her father, a former FBI analyst turned consultant turned Crystal Cove hardware store owner and handyman. Although Jenna knows little about cooking she’s a whiz at marketing and so she arranges to have her former college roommate and current celebrity chef Desiree Divine attend The Cookbook Nook’s opening for a book signing.

Desiree herself is no slouch at self-promotion and she arrives in RVs filled with an entourage that includes a jealous sister, possessive director and lover, and a masseuse whose relationship with Desiree is questionable at best. In a town as small as Crystal Cove rumors fly and are taken as truth and a most shocking one that hints Desiree had an affair with Jenna’s late husband has her racing towards a confrontation. Unfortunately, before Jenna can discover the truth she stumbles into a sand sculpture of a mermaid that is in fact the all too real body of Desiree, hooked like a fish buried in the sand.

Accusations made to Police Chief Cinnamon Pritchett that Jenna is a murderer would be less concerting were they not by beading store owner Pepper Pritchett, Cinnamon’s mother who has an over-the-top and completely irrational hatred for Jenna over a believed betrayal by Jenna’s parents. Jenna’s father would prefer that she leave the investigation to the police chief he mentored, but even he cannot deny that suspicion continues to be falling upon her. This leaves Jenna no choice but to question the many in town who seem to have resented the ambitious chef. Jealousy over stolen recipes, a prolific love life, and an ambitious desire for a career have left a wake of contenders for those wanting Desiree dead. Luckily for Jenna she has her own gallery of allies that include her childhood friend and cooking genius chef Katie Casey, Bailey Bird, another childhood friend and former marketing co-worker, and Rhett Jackson, the attractive fishing store owner with his own past as a successful chef.

Also the author of the Cheese Shop Mystery series under the name Avery Aames, Gerber creates a small town where everyone is connected. Jenna’s Cary Grant lookalike father is named Cary Hart; a possible romantic interest of course is Rhett; Lola Bird owns the Pelican Brief Diner (although it’s the result of the former attorney’s love for the John Grisham novel, not an avian reference); the two main threats to Jenna’s freedom are Pepper and Cinnamon.

Delectable descriptions of the Crystal Cove café’s menu abound with recipes included at the end of the novel for those who are as ambitious are they are food voyeurs. However, even in this very cozy and light-hearted mystery Gerber never shies away from confronting Jenna’s grief over her losses even if she has progressed from anti-depressants to self-medicating with Tootsie Rolls. In fact, many of the characters have never recovered from the tragedies of their past and this has continued to cause them to stumble and fail in the present. With the police chief so hampered by her own mother’s prejudices, Jenna’s investigation into the murder never seems inappropriate and the skills that made her a brilliant marketing whiz help her to ferret out the truth from her targets, be they high-priced hairstylists or celebrity restaurant owners. The author has an obvious affection for her characters and an extensive knowledge of cookbooks and good food, so mystery readers will enjoy this well-plotted and craftily constructed novel. Perhaps Jenna herself would have approved of the marketing genius of the cover, as it depicts the mystery books written by the author, beautiful scenery, cookbooks, chocolate chip cookies, and an absolutely adorable rescue kitten. Who could ask for anything more?

To enter to win a copy of Final Sentence, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Final,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 13, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Annette July 6, 2013 at 9:43am

I look forward to getting this book. I know that Daryl has written another terrific story.


2 Carole Price
Twitter: @caroleprice
July 7, 2013 at 9:17am

I love when my interest is sparked with the find of a book by an author I’ve never read. Really look forward to reading this book.
A recent post from Carole Price: Shakespeare’s AshlandMy Profile


3 bn100 July 7, 2013 at 2:45pm

Nice that recipes are included


4 Carol-Lynn Rössel July 11, 2013 at 4:24am

Sounds nifty!


5 Lisa Richardson
Twitter: @keizerfire
July 11, 2013 at 9:27am

I love her books and would certainly like to read this one! Reading and food, how much better can it get!


6 Jenne Turner July 11, 2013 at 3:08pm

I love seeing all the new cozy series that are out there. It will be great to start in at the beginning for this one.


7 Connie Fischer
Twitter: @ConnieFischer3
July 11, 2013 at 5:59pm

Absolutely love her novels and cannot wait to read this one. Don’t you just love the picture of the kitty on the front? It’s a huge draw for me!


8 Janet Kay Gallagher
Twitter: @http://JanetGallagher
July 12, 2013 at 11:01am

I would love to receive a copy of this book.
Enjoyed your short story on King’s River Life.


9 Daryl Wood Gerber
Twitter: @darylwoodgerber
July 13, 2013 at 2:58pm

Annette, Carole, Bn100, Carol-Lynn, Jenne, Connie, and Janet,

Thank you so much for writing. I’m thrilled that you have checked out the recipe, possibly the short story. And Connie, I agree, isn’t the kitten so cute? Love what my artist was able to capture. That really is the essence of “Tigger,” the rescue Jenna finds. So much fun!

Daryl aka Avery


10 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
July 22, 2013 at 12:11pm

We have a winner
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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