Monday, October 07, 2013

Chili Con Carnage - Kylie Logan

Chili Con Carnage
A Chili Cook-Off Mystery
Kylie Logan
Berkley Prime Crime

Maxie Pierce is already having a bad day.  Her dad, Texas Jack Pierce, famed purveyor of chili and spices, is missing.  She’s travelling around in his RV with her half-sister, Sylvia, with whom she shares a love/hate relationship, trying to keep Jack’s business afloat.  It almost goes without saying that she’s just out of a disastrous relationship.  And she’s dressed in a ridiculous costume as the Chili Chick.  When the screaming woman arrives, gunning (possibly literally, it’s hard to tell) for Maxie because she went out with Roberto last night, it’s just the cherry on the top of her day.  At that moment, she’s glad of the identity-shielding costume.

Of course, Sylvia wants to know what’s up with Roberto, having told Maxie to stay away from him.  Maxie had one terrible date with him, and is finished with him.  But, as sisters so, Sylvia keeps on her about it.  A distraction arrives in the personage of Carter Donnelly, celebrity chef.  He’s there with a camera crew, looking for “Americana” to film for his new series.  Maxie isn’t too impressed, but Sylvia (who harbors hopes of publishing a cookbook) definitely it.  All bets are off, though, when a dead body falls out of Carter’s RV, landing on Maxie.  It’s Roberto.  Clearly, the sisters aren’t the only two who didn’t like him.

Maxie sets out to find the killer, figuring she has a right to know the truth, since the body landed on her.  Unfortunately, she’s not every good at the whole ‘subtle’ thing when asking questions.  I found Maxie to be a bit of an acquired taste, but, in the end, I found myself rooting for her.  Especially when she drops all the half-sibling rivalry the instant the police arrive to arrest Sylvia for the murder.  Now Maxie has a concrete reason to find out what happened with Roberto.  The plot is nicely twisty and the conclusion feels pretty organic.  The question of Jack’s whereabouts is left unanswered, clearly to be tied up in a subsequent book.  As the first in a series, this is a solid mystery, introducing readers to an interesting setting and a unique cast of characters.

Rating: 7
October 2013
ISBN# 978-0-425-26241-2 (paperback)


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