Once Upon A Romance

Once Upon A Romance's Review Of...
Simmer Down
by Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant


Simmer Down cover art Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Simmer Down - 2nd in the Gourmet Girly Mystery Series
Author: Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant
Publisher: Penguin/BerkleyPrime Crime
ISBN: 0425213854 & 9780425213858
Release Date: March 2007
Genre/Sub-genre: Mystery Romance
Year/Setting: Present Day - Boston
Overall rating: 4.5
Sexual Content Rating: Sublte
Language (Profanity) Content Rating: Mild+
Violent Content Rating: Negligible/Minimal
Jessica's Website: None Found

Chloe Carter seems to have all the luck. She’s a part of a charity fundraiser, Food For Thought that combines booths of fine cuisine with social service organizations in trendy, posh locations.

Her boyfriend, Josh, has a booth in the same location as Chloe and her sexual harassment awareness field placement supervisor, Naomi, in an art gallery. What luck! There’s nothing she’d rather do, with an exception or two, than to eat Josh’s mouth-watering creations. His culinary genius will certainly whet appetites for the opening of new restaurant, Simmer, where he’s executive chef.

But Naomi seems to think she should be paying attention to the booth, cornering people and forcing them to listen to the "Organization’s" purpose instead of ogling Josh and eating his food. Her sister, Heather, wants Chloe back with her ex-boyfriend, Sean, and invites him to the event. Aggravating! Josh’s ex-girlfriend, Hannah, shows up, too. Grrr! She’s back in town working for the Full Moon Group promoting their nightclubs. Put together, wonderful (hear the sarcasm?); you wouldn’t think the night could get better...Wrong. Murder happens.

One of the owner’s of the Full Moon Group is killed with one of Josh’s high-end appliances, supposedly during Naomi’s long and impassioned speech on the evils and prevention of sexual harassment. It turns out there are any number of people who could be the killer. Is it someone she cares about?

Chloe’s personality has the ability to both energize and tire the reader, with the fast-paced and off-the-wall thoughts she comes up with. She’s fun. She cares about her crab, Ken, and her family and friends in her own uniquely Chloe way. Ways some may definitely relate to.

I was a bit surprised that Chloe didn’t have a more "take charge" attitude and form her own investigation, land in some wacky jams with friends, Ade or Doug. That’s not to say she didn’t ask and dig, or come to conclusions. I just...expected more, but even so, I thoroughly enjoyed and devoured Simmer Down.

Simmer Down cleverly blends the best elements of a mystery and romantic comedy. I’m eagerly anticipating the next episode of murder, mayhem, and laughter in the Gourmet Girl series. It’s a series guaranteed to satisfy the reader.


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