Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Cook the Books - 5th in the Gourmet Girl Mystery series
Author: Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-23246-0 (Hardcover)
Release Date: March 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Cozy/Chick Lit Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Boston
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Jessica's Website: conantparkmysteries.googlepages.com
She has to get a job! Not too long ago Chloe Carter happily spent money at Home Depot--she loved painting and repainting her apartment. Nowadays she spends her money on designer baby paraphernalia for her godson, Patrick, so she feels she's within her rights to go into debt. Unfortunately the debt is much more substantial than her income.
Call it serendipity, call it fate, call it whatever, but a fabulous job practically fell in her lap! Kyle Boucher, son of celebrated chef, Hank Boucher, is collecting recipes for a Boston themed cookbook and needs an assistant (boy, does he need an assistant!). Something that is right up Chloe's alley. Good pay, fabulous food, and a chance to forget the betrayal of her ex-boyfriend, Josh.
Unfortunately it all seems to head south when the opportunity to impress Hank Boucher with some excellent recipes created by Josh's friend Digger goes up in smoke. Literally. And Digger, sad to say, is killed in the fire.
The death of Digger brings Josh back into town. Something Chloe is at odds with--she still loves Josh, but at the same time she' still very angry with him. So what should she do when Josh claims Digger would never do anything dumb enough to set fire to his kitchen? Nothing, that’s what. Until a few pieces begin clicking together…
Chloe is so likable; she's loyal, energetic, and compassionate. Sometimes she can really get caught up in a situation, but she means well. :-) So with her likability being off the charts, who cares if there's not much sleuthing going on in Cook the Books? It's just fun catching up with Chloe and her friends and commiserating with her over Josh. Plus there’s always more fun to be had when you’re following Chloe around to some of Boston’s hot spots because somehow, trouble seems to follow her. Imagine that. ;-) The mouthwatering recipes included, many of which are incorporated into the story, are an added, yummy bonus for the reader, too.
There’s a measure of enthusiasm and uniqueness in Ms. Conant-Park’s work that makes any of the Gourmet Girl mysteries a truly pleasant treat. Full of savory flavor and hours of enjoyment.
Sadly this is our goodbye to Chloe… This was the final book in the series.
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