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Posted June 7, 2013
I've always enjoyed reading a cozy mystery that is set in the South and has humor and romance intertwined within the storyline, and author Larissa Reinhart did not disappoint me with her entertaining novel Still Life in Brunswick Stew!
Still Life in Brunswick Stew is the second book in the Cherry Tucker Mystery Series. This fun whodunit story is written in the first person narrative, set in the small Southern town of Halo, Georgia, and it engages the reader to follow the latest investigative adventure of struggling artist Cherry Tucker.
Cherry Tucker and childhood friend Eloise Parker set up a tent to sell their art work at the Sidewinder Annual Brunswick Stew Cook-Off. But slow sales and an outbreak of food poisoning leads to tragedy when Eloise dies after consuming the bad stew. The medical examiner proclaims that Eloise has died from a combination of accidental food poisoning and health related issues due to having Crohn's disease. But Eloise's family does not believe that her death was accidental, they think someone has poisoned Eloise, and they ask Cherry to investigate the real cause of her friend's untimely death. What starts out as a quest to find the cause of her friend's death turns into a zany adventure that causes all kinds of trouble for our sassy amateur sleuth!
This was such a fun read that had a great mixture of mystery, romance and humor. Even though I did not read the first book in the series, Portrait of a Dead Guy, I easily found myself entertained by Cherry's craziness that I now want to go back and read the first book. From Cherry's dysfunctional family, to her ongoing romantic issues, to her amateur sleuthing skills, this sassy southern lady's antics kept me entertained and laughing as I followed her quest to solve Eloise's murder.
With a zany cast of characters (many who return from Portrait of a Dead Guy) who keep the reader in stitches with their witty dialogue and hilarious interactions; a storyline filled with enough drama, suspense and twist and turns that keeps the reader guessing; and a richly detailed setting that transports the reader to a quirky Southern small town for some down home sweet tea and brunswick stew; Still Life in Brunswick Stew is an entertaining cozy mystery interwoven with Southern charm and humor that leaves you wanting to go on more crazy adventures with sassy Cherry Tucker!
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Posted April 16, 2014
I wanted to like this book. I liked the characters, the setting, and the humor, but the pacing ruins the book.
Some stories are faster-paced than others, but there is a big difference between frantic and fast. I found myself getting both irritated and bored as I tried to read this book. At times, the story-line is akin to a hamster running on a wheel; it is running as fast as it's poor little feet can run, but it doesn't actually go anywhere.
For instance, from almost the very start of the 1st book of this series, we learn that Cherry was very briefly married to a guy named Todd. Almost everyone thinks Todd is a beautiful but stupid good-hearted guy. Luke, Cherry's former crush and soon to be boyfriend, thinks Todd is only pretending to be stupid, and soon has Cherry wondering about Todd's actual brain power. This exact same question is still being asked at the end of this book.
Reading this book is like being bothered by a mosquito while you're trying to relax.
Posted November 7, 2013
As much as I enjoyed the first Cherry Tucker mystery, I liked this one more!
Our heroine has lost herself in her new relationship a bit, but when her friend Eloise is poisoned at a Brunswick Stew cook off, Cherry shakes off her romantic haze and sets about finding out whodunnit so her friend's family won't have to wait and wonder.
STILL LIFE is packed with a zany cast of characters, most of whom return from PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY. Here, Shawna is more hateful, Todd is more sympathetic and sexier, and Cherry is funnier and more laughable. And I do have a soft spot for that goat.
The mystery had plenty of twists and turns, and kept me reading long after I should have been sleeping--and I didn't guess the culprit until the author wanted me to, which makes a good mystery for me.
Larissa Reinhart has a winner on her hands with this fresh, fun second outing. I can't wait to see what Cherry gets into next!
Full disclosure: I was provided with a copy by the author, who asked for nothing but an honest review.
Posted October 10, 2013
This is the second book in the Cherry Tucker Mystery series by Larissa Reinhart. I was lucky to have discovered and reviewed book one, Portrait of a Dead Guy earlier this year and liked it. So I was thrilled when I was offered a chance to read and review Still Life in Brunswick Stew. Cherry Tucker isn't your average Southern woman character. She is feisty, stubborn and not ashamed of her mostly dysfunctional family and their history of poverty. Cherry is the kind of woman you want in your corner; with her big heart and bigger mouth.
This story begins several months after the end of the first book. Cherry has been dating Luke, who is now a police officer working for her "Uncle" Will, the local Sheriff. Cherry is at the local Sidewinder Brunswick Stew Cook-off, with her friend Eloise, trying to sell their art. Eloise gets violently sick at the festival and ends up dying. When the family's concerns are brushed aside, Cherry promises to look into it. After all, Eloise was her friend and practically died in her arms, and Cherry figures she has Luck and Uncle Will to help. But they both warn her to stay out of it, and refuse to tell her anything. So Cherry takes matters into her own hands and starts looking for suspects. When her suspects start dying themselves, Cherry winds up over her head.
I liked a lot of things about this book. The returning characters, such as Cherry's siblings, Casey and Cody, her kind of ex husband Todd, her nemesis Shawna, and Max the Russian, all allow us to see the different sides and moods of Cherry. They round her out as a character and really give her depth. Watching Cherry kick butt was a pleasure. It is nice to see a female character outside of Urban Fantasy who can take care of herself and doesn't rely on a man to save her. Cherry also has so fun flaws. Her inability to cook and the noises her stomach makes when she is hungry are always good for a giggle.
Cherry is your go to girl when you want a Sassy Self-Reliant Southerner to make you Smile. I can't wait to read book 3, Hijack in Abstract coming in November. I expect it to be every bit as good as the first two books. This got 4 stars on Goodreads.
Posted July 21, 2013
Posted April 7, 2014
Posted December 9, 2013
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