by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Murder on the Chopping Block. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Having established a reputation as a caterer serving up gourmet meals for clients in the entertainment business, East Coast caterer Penelope Sutherland and her Red Carpet Catering company are in Salacia Beach, California, for the filming of a potential summer movie blockbuster. Renowned producer Calvin Pope not only hired Penelope to cater the cast and crew’s meals, he’s her neighbor and owner of the beach house where she’s staying. The gorgeous view and saltwater pool almost makes up for the turmoil on the troubled movie set, where the film’s third director battles with the temperamental Australian starring actor. When a prop gun mishap yields deadly results, filming barely pauses as the last scenes are completed and another actor taken in for questioning.
Having fallen into a pattern of stumbling over bodies, Penelope is more than a little relieved to have her boyfriend, New Jersey Homicide Detective Joey Baglioni, arrive early for a visit. While Joey relaxes on the beach and enjoys a bit of non-productive fishing, Calvin and his up-and-coming producer daughter Scarlett enlist Penelope as a consulting expert for their new culinary competition television show. She wonders if her executive status will be briefer than expected when Calvin and his young, very young wife’s roaming cat traipses into the beach house covered in blood, leading them back the Pope house. Whether by his own hand, accident, or assault, Calvin is sidelined as Penelope can’t help but become invested in the tragedies plaguing the Pope projects.
This seventh in the series delves deep into behind-the-scenes machinations of the entertainment business, where unproven potential superstars wield power based solely on word-of-mouth predictions. The Pope family’s dysfunctional interactions are just as perplexing as they are fascinating, with the daughter and even younger step-mother vying for attention and power. Interspersed throughout are mouth-watering descriptions of not just their gourmet catered meals, but the fresh seafood delicacies that are a highlight of the shore. The glimpse into a cooking competition is almost too brief for reality competition fans, but this is more than made up for with scenes featuring the exhausted film crew. Penelope continues to be a delightful and likable heroine, one whose interrogation skills are admittedly lacking and unsubtle but succeeds anyway through her genuine concern for the victims. An on-vacation Joey is a laid-back but protective assistant, and readers will look forward to see where they go next in their relationship. A completely unpredictable mystery, escalating crimes, and the Red Carpet Catering crew ensure for a satisfying and extremely well-written read.
Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.
To enter to win a copy of Murder on the Chopping Block, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “chopping” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 2, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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