Sunday, June 07, 2015

Dark Chocolate Demise - Jenn McKinlay

Dark Chocolate Demise
A Cupcake Bakery Mystery
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Prime Crime

Scottsdale’s first annual Zombie Walk should be a lot of good, clean (gruesome, rotting) fun.  The walk ends at the park, where there will a concert and vendors.  Of course, the Fairy Tale Cupcakes van will be there.  Even zombies love cupcakes.  The antics of newly-engaged Angie DeLaura and Tate Harper are wearing out recently-uncoupled Melanie Cooper, but the three have been best friends forever, and she tries to put on a brave (zombie) face.  Going with the spirit of the occasion, Mel is dressed as a zombie chef.  Angie and Tate are, naturally, dressed as bride and groom zombies.
The three decide to get a closer look at the concert across the park.  The crowd is huge, and they get separated.  Arriving back at the van, Mel checks out the loaner coffin they’ve got propped up for photos.  The lid is closed, but there’s a piece of dress sticking out.  She almost doesn’t have to open the thing to know: someone in a big, poufy dress is dead.
I usually enjoy the characters in this series (see list below) but this time, their antics went too far.  They know that there’s someone out there, shooting people.  They’re pretty sure they know why.  Everyone around them is bending over backwards to make sure they’re safe, offering help, begging them to lay low.  So, of course, they ‘escape’ from their ‘minders’ as often as possible, putting themselves in terribly dangerous positions.  To the author’s credit, other characters call them on this behavior, but it’s hard to believe that rational adults would act like this, given the circumstances.
The mystery itself is involving, and the solution was an interesting surprise.  This installment of the series relies very heavily on what I’d call romcom elements.  That’s not my personal preference, but I know other readers feel differently.  As always, there’s a great supporting cast, developed over the course of the series, moving in and out of the story in a very natural way.  The cupcake recipes included are not new flavors, but the decoration ideas are new, very doable, and would be great for a Halloween party.  I’ve been following Fairy Tale Cupcakes from the beginning; I can’t let an instance of bad behavior turn me off this series.  I’ll be back for the next one, and, I hope, many more after that.
Rating: 6 ½
April 2015
ISBN# 978-0-425-25893-4 (paperback)

Cupcake Bakery Mysteries:


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