Tex-Mex waitress and part-time reporter Josie Callahan serves up more Lone Star justice in this spicy mystery from the author of The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole.
It's fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town faster than free beer at a bull roping for the mouthwatering Cinco de Mayo festivities. Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their folklórico dances for Saturday's big parade, while Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot's First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.
But Uncle Eddie's hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when cantankerous chili cook Lucky Straw is found dead in his tent. And when Josie's beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead's lifebefore another cook kicks the bucket.
About the Author
Rebecca Adler is the author of the Taste of Texas Mystery series, including Here Today, Gone Tamale; The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole; and Cinco De Murder.
Read an Excerpt
On such a gorgeous May morning, what could be better than a power walk to Cho's cleaners with my long-haired Chihuahua, Lenny? The morning sun had tossed a wide blanket of gold over the Davis and Chisos mountains, awakening the pi–on pines and the weeping junipers from their slumber, illuminating the bluegrass and scrub so they looked like desert jewels. The plan had been to retrieve my abuela's folkl—rico costume and burn some extra calories. And though we made good time-considering the length of my canine sidekick's pencil-thin appendages-the morning sun galloped down Broken Boot's cobbled streets while I paid Mr. Cho with a crumpled five-dollar bill and a coupon for a dozen free tamales.
"Yip." Lenny lapped from the pet fountain in front of Elaine's Pies, soaking his black-and-white coat.
"ÁV‡monos, amigo!" If we were late to the final dance rehearsal before the Cinco de Mayo parade, God only knew when Senora Marisol Martinez, our matriarch, would permit me to call her abuela again.
During my first few months back home, I was elated to find I could accomplish tasks in far less time than in the crowded thoroughfares of Austin. Almost a year later, I was forced to admit the slower pace of our dusty little town didn't aid me in my quest to check things off my list. It merely encouraged me to meander.
On that happy thought, Lenny and I raced down the sidewalk toward Milagro. Suddenly I tripped over the plastic clothes bag, nearly kissing the pavement with my face. "Whose great idea was it to rehearse this early?"
"That's what I was afraid of."
When we barreled through the front door of Milagro, the best, and only, Tex-Mex restaurant on Main Street, I expected the folkl—rico rehearsal to be in full swing. Instead my best friend, Patti Perez, glared at me, which only made me smile. I was wise to her marshmallow center, in spite of her ghostly Goth appearance.
"Sorry," I mouthed. After all, it had been my idea for all of us to join the local folkl—rico troupe-my way of embracing life back in good old Broken Boot, Texas.
"About time," she chided as I draped Senora Mari's costume over a stack of hand-painted wooden chairs. In my absence, the other dancers had cleared the dining room to create a dance floor on the beautiful Saltillo tiles.
"I would have called," I began.
"But I was trapped in a dead zone," we said in unison. Service was so bad in Broken Boot and its outlying communities that folks were slower here than in the rest of the country in ditching their landlines.
"Where's Anthony?" When our headwaiter offered his newly formed mariachi band to play for our first performance, I didn't have the heart to say no. Beggars can't be choosers, or look a gift band in the mouth.
"Tsk, tsk." Across the room, Anthony's new fiance placed her hand over the bar phone's mouthpiece. Though christened Lucinda, we'd quickly dubbed her Cindy to avoid calling her Linda, my aunt's name, and vice versa. "He says his truck has a flat tire." She scowled at whatever Anthony said next and responded with a flurry of Spanish.
"Who doesn't keep a spare in the desert?" Patti, whom I referred to as Goth Girl if for no other reason than to hear her snort, delivered this line with a deadpan expression and a flick of her rehearsal skirt.
"Yip," Lenny said, chasing after her ruffles.
Goth Girl snapped her head in my direction and gave me the stink eye. "Tell me you replaced your spare."
"Uh, well, not yet, but I will after Cinco de Mayo." Money was a bit tight, what with the loss of tourists during the winter months.
To my right, Aunt Linda, a stunning middle-aged woman with warm chestnut hair, modeled her bright-colored skirt better than any fashionista in Paris. "That's what you said about Valentine's Day." She was my late mother's older sister. She might look great in her Wranglers, but she and rhythm had never been introduced.
"And Saint Patrick's," chimed in Senora Mari, executing a double spin. This morning she wore a rehearsal skirt of black-tiered lace along with her Milagro uniform of peasant blouse, gray bun at her nape, and large pink flower behind her ear. No matter how much I rehearsed, none of my moves could compare to her sassy head turns and flamboyant poses. Who knew my seventy-something, four-foot-eleven abuela would turn out to be the star of our ragtag troupe?
A sharp clapping interrupted our chatter. "Let's try it on the counts," cried Mrs. Felicia Cogburn, mayor's wife and self-appointed dance captain.
"Yip," Lenny agreed.
"Why is that dog here?" Mrs. Cogburn demanded, her hands raised in mid-clap.
"He has a key role, remember?" My abuela smiled, an expression so rare on her dear weathered face it made folks uncomfortable.
Mrs. Cogburn blinked several times. "Of course." Before she could begin, a small truck landed at the curb with a bed full of musicians, trumpets and guitars in full serenade. The band stopped playing long enough to hurry inside.
"ÁAy, Dios! Senora, I had to borrow a spare. Mine was flat." Anthony waved his friends into a semicircle just inside the door.
Senora Mari thrust a finger into the air. "So you say." She snapped her head dramatically to the side. "Play."
With a worried look, Anthony counted off, and the group of dark-haired men and boys began to play the jarabe tapat’o, the Mexican hat dance. I spied a familiar face on trumpet. Anthony's little sister Lily gave me a wink and a nod.
As the trumpets and guitars played, Mrs. Cogburn called out, "And one, two, three, four."
"Where's your skirt?" Patti asked as we twirled first right and then left.
"Ah, chicken sticks." I dodged the dancers, ran up the stairs to my loft apartment, and retrieved my long skirt from a chrome dining chair.
"Yip, yip, yip," Lenny cried from the bottom of the stairs.
"Sorry." I found his straw hat on the yellow Formica table and made it downstairs without mishap. "Here you go, handsome." I perched the hat on his head and tightened the elastic under his chin. As we danced, Lenny would spin in place on his back legs, melting the hearts of the crowd faster than fried ice cream in August.
I hurried to my place on the back row next to Patti as the band launched into their next number, "El Mariachi."
"Josie, stand up straight," called Mrs. Cogburn. "Linda, you're turning in the wrong direction."
After running through our routine six times without a break, we collapsed into the dining room with refreshments. I was removing Lenny's straw hat when the cowbell over the front door clanged.
A middle-aged man with a gray buzz cut and white coveralls stepped inside. "Howdy." He checked his clipboard and gave us an expectant smile. "I'm looking for Mrs. Cogburn."
"That's me." With a hand to her hair, Mrs. Cogburn stepped forward. "As long as you're not from the IRS." She giggled, her cheeks flushing a soft pink.
Aunt Linda marched to the front door. "We have plenty of parking on the side of our building." She pointed through the doorway to where a white cargo van, emblazoned with fillmore's fireworks, stood double-parked. "Why don't you use it instead of blocking traffic?"
Buzz Cut's eyes narrowed. "Maybe I'd forgotten how ornery and downright persnickety small-town business owners can be."
A tense silence followed as he glared at her and she glared at him. Suddenly they burst into laughter and hugged. "Frank, what are you doing here? I thought you'd moved to Marshall or Longview, somewhere out in the Piney Woods."
With a self-conscious smile, he ran a hand through his hair. "I did, but business still takes me out this way a few times a year."
Patti and I exchanged glances. I had never seen my business-minded aunt react so warmly to any man except Uncle Eddie.
With a glance at our curious faces, Aunt Linda presented Buzz Cut like a sequined model presenting a heavy-load truck to a mesmerized crowd at the El Paso Car Show. "My prom date in high school, Frank Fillmore." With a flourish, she swung her arm wide. "And this is everybody."
"Nice to meet all of y'all." His eyes widened as he took in the large group of dancers and musicians. His grin revealed a wide space between his two front teeth. "Hola, Àc—mo est‡s?"
"Fatal," Senora Mari muttered. "Are we going to dance or chatter like squirrels?"
"Senora." His eyes twinkled with good humor. "Would your cooking be the source of the amazing, mouthwatering aroma of this place?"
She shrugged. "It's my kitchen, so it must be true."
"And I bet it's your way or the highway."
After a moment of hesitation, she honored him with a careful smile. "S’. Of course."
"My wife, Felicia, was the same way." His expression softened. "Had to be in charge of the kitchen, didn't want any help. Didn't even trust me to wash a dish."
"Come back after lunch and we'll set you up with all the dishes you can handle," I said. If the dishwasher didn't show up, me, myself, and the busboy were screwed.
Everyone laughed. Even Senora Mari added her abrupt ha-ha-ha.
"This young lady with the sassy mouth is my niece, Josie Callahan." Aunt Linda raised an eyebrow and gave me a look of gentle reproach.
"Frank, we'll have to catch up later. Glad you're back this year for Saturday's big show."
Mrs. Cogburn clasped her joined hands to her chest. "Mr. Fillmore, please accept my apologies. I should have recognized you from the last time you participated in our Cinco de Mayo festivities, regardless of your new hairstyle."
"No need to apologize." He gave her a brief smile. "But I do need someone to follow me to the fairgrounds. The mayor wanted a bigger show; and it requires a different setup."
Aunt Linda took Mrs. Mayor by the arm. "Senora Mari will take them through their paces, won't you?" She raised a brow at her mother-in-law.
My abuela studied us like a drill sergeant studies his rough recruits. "S’, I will lead."
"I wish my husband was here. He would make it plain as day."
"I can go," I said.
"Jo Jo, you stay." Uncle Eddie entered from the hallway, dressed in his usual attire: pressed jeans, plaid Western shirt, and leather vest. "You and I need to go over the last-minute details for tomorrow. I don't want no International Chili Association official to tear a strip off my hide." A tourist at Two Boots dance hall, our other establishment, might suspect Uncle Eddie of wearing a costume. Little did they know, he wore the same outfit day in and day out.
"I'll be glad to help out." Aunt Linda threw an arm around Mrs. Cogburn's shoulders.
I waited for my aunt to introduce Frank Fillmore to my uncle, but the introduction never came.
"ÁV‡monos! Don't stand around gawking." Senora Mari took her place front and center while the rest of us darted into position and the band started to play.
After a word to Fillmore, Mrs. Cogburn returned to her charges. "And one, two, three, four."
Uncle Eddie made for Milagro's office just as Frank Fillmore opened the front door for my aunt. She caught my eye, glanced toward her husband's retreating back, and, with an impish grin, lifted a finger to her lips.
Two hours later, my abuela threw her copy of the Broken Boot Bugle onto the counter. ÒÁSuficiente! Who cares if you break one or two rules?Ó
Senora Mari was not my grandmother. Technically, she was my Aunt Linda's mother-in-law, but since I'd been raised in their home after the car accident that claimed both my parents, she often allowed me to refer to her as abuela. But if Lenny had been under foot or barked too loudly in the morning, she would remind me that Senora Mari was her rightful title.
"Mam‡." Uncle Eddie lowered a fresh glass of sweet tea without taking a sip. "The town council is watching me like a hawk, just waiting for me to screw up." My uncle's dark hair was slicked back in his usual style, light puffs of gray at his temples. His broad, honest face was tense with worry, deepening the wrinkles the West Texas sun had furrowed across his forehead.
"You're imagining things." I took the International Chili Association cook-off planning binder from his hands. "It will all fall into place, you'll see." And I gave him a pat on the shoulder. "We've reviewed every detail from beans to trophies."
"Yip." Lenny stood on a wooden chair so Cindy could complete his costume fitting.
"Okay, okay, little one. Soon. I will finish soon." Her small, delicate hands had created a darling pair of white satin pants and jacket to match what the members of Anthony's mariachi band were wearing.
"Where's his sombrero?" asked Uncle Eddie.
"I have it here." From her sewing kit Cindy retrieved a white satin hat with gold detailing and placed it on his head.
I squealed with glee. "Isn't he adorable?"
"Humph." Senora Mari thrust her hands on her hips. "If you think a long-haired rat dressed like a human is cute, you are loco."
"Is it not right?" Cindy asked.
I glared at Senora Mari behind the young woman's back. "It's not you or your beautiful costume." I smoothed Lenny's white jacket and rubbed him under the chin. "She would say the same if he were dressed like Our Lady of Guadalupe."
Cindy turned her wide brown eyes on Senora Mari. "You would?"
Cindy smiled. "Then he is perfect for tomorrow's parade."
"Let's try it out." I lowered Lenny to the tile floor. "Stand," I commanded. Without hesitation, he lifted his front legs and pawed the air.
"So adorable." Cindy clapped her hands.
"Turn," I continued.
With the grace of a ballet dancer, Lenny hopped in a full circle until he was back where he started, paws still high.
"Good boy." I scooped him up and kissed his head.
"Yes, yes, very handsome." I paid Cindy on her way out, even though she insisted the beautiful costume was a gift.
When I returned, Senora Mari was waiting. "Where are you?" She tapped the paper with the tips of her fingers. "You said you wrote a story."
"Page ten. The article about the fifty head of Herefords blocking Highway 90."
With a grunt, she found the page and read the article. "This is," she held her thumb and index finger about two inches apart, "smaller than a cucaracha." She lifted her chin. "Why?"
Excerpted from "Cinco de Murder"
Copyright © 2018 Rebecca Adler.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the first book I have read in this series and I must say that I enjoyed it. The story and characters were very likable and made for a relaxing afternoon of reading. I often worry that not reading a series from the beginning will ruin the experience for me, but that was not the case in reading Cinco de Murder. I can't wait for the next installment and I will be going back to read the other 2 in the series as well.
Rebecca Adler’s Cinco de Murder was a great addition to her “A Taste of Texas Mystery” series. I had the chance to read the first one in this series a while ago, and was pleased to be chosen to read this one for a fair and honest review as well. I liked the characters in the story, as I did last time. The personalities of the characters all seem to flow together and work well in the story. I was not fond of a few of the chili cook-off contestants, but the large personalities of the others overshadowed them and made the story a good read. I liked the idea of a chili cook-off, and it fit well with the whole Texas theme to the book. I did get lost a few times trying to figure out the rules of the cook-off and who belonged where, but eventually I picked up on it as I continued reading. Lenny is my favorite character, and he lightens the mood throughout the book. The fact that he has his own blog just cracks me up. There is lot going on in this book, but it is a good read and a quick read. I would recommend this to a friend or anyone who enjoys reading cozy mysteries.
What a fun book thanks to Lenny the dancing chihuahua. Not only can he dance but he has his own blog. The main character is Lenny's owner, Josie Callahan. She keeps herself busy writing for the local newspaper, working in her uncle's Tex-Mex restaurant and finding dead bodies. This time she finds a body in the wee hours of the morning while checking to see if everything is ready for Broken Boot's First Annual Charity Chili Cook-Off. It appears that a cantankerous cook has died from a heart attack … or did he? This story had a lot of likeable characters and I really liked the original settings of a chili cook-off and parade. On the down side, there were a lot of characters introduced in the beginning and it was hard to keep track of everyone. Since this was the first book that I have read in the series it made it a bit overwhelming. I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I have not read the previous books in this series, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not reading those first. The author does a good job of giving the history of the characters. Josie was an enjoyable character. I liked getting to know about her, her friends, and her family. I also loved her little dog, Lenny. I have a Chihuahua myself, so I have a soft spot for them. I enjoyed the setting of this story and reading about the Cinco de Mayo festivities. The murder mystery was intriguing and kept me interested in the story. There were plenty of suspects to choose from and the reveal of the killer caught me by surprise. The only negative I saw was that this book could probably have used another edit to make the story flow better. Other than that, it was good and I'm looking forward to going back and reading the other books.
Rebecca Adler’s Cinco de Murder Broken Boot's First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off is off and cooking plus the Cinco de Mayo festivities are in full swing. It is a busy time for Tex-Mex waitress, Josie Callahan. Beside waitress, she is helping her uncle with the cook-off, practicing dancing for their traditional dance, the folklorico with her long haired Chihuahua, Lenny . They will be dancing on a float in the Saturday parade. She is also gathering information for their local newspaper as a part time reporter. So she really didn’t need to discover one of the well known chili contestants dead in his tent. The cast consists of slew of cleverly crafted characters, well defined, quirky and interesting characters. Murder, danger, intrigue, politics, colorful costumes, music, lots of good eats, bright and festive costumes, elaborate town decor, fireworks. coyotes and suspense add to the fast paced adventures. The plot was well cooked with delicious tidbits. The book had humor and a touch of romance added to the mix. Recipes are included at the finale of the book. A delicious, mouthwatering story everyone will enjoy. I volunteered to read a Cinco de Murder. Thanks to the author and publisher via the Facebook Cozy Mystery Review Crew. My opinion is my own.
I’ve read the first two books in the series and was happy when this one was released. It was great diving back into Josie’s world, especially to read about her family. It felt like catching up with your own family that you haven’t seen in awhile! The author did a great job of dropping clues on the mystery and keeping you guessing. Josie’s many theories got a little confusing. But overall a pretty good cozy! Don’t worry if you haven’t read the other two in the series...the author catches you up on character backgrounds. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.
Broken Boot, Texas is having its annual Cinco de Mayo festival. This year they added a chili cookoff. One of the contestants ends up dead in his tent. Unfortunately, for me the book felt disjointed. I feel like perhaps more editing was needed. The characters were fun and the setting was fresh. The plotting was not well paced. It seemed to drag a bit. I particularly liked her dog, Lenny the long haired Chihuahua and the possibility of a romance in future books. I have not read the other two books in the series (though I own the first) I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review.
Let me begin by saying, I enjoyed reading this book. It's the 3rd installment of the Taste of Texas Mystery Series, and though I have not read the first 2, I didn't feel like I missed out on anything. It was a nice light mystery that had enough action and suspects to keep the story flowing nicely and to hold my interest. I liked this book enough that I will likely look to read the first 2 as well. Josie Callahan is a small town Texas girl who works as a waitress and reporter, with a little bit of a sleuthing side gig. While the town is celebrating Cinco de Mayo, with a chili cook-off, parade, town party, and fireworks, one of the competitors turns victim and everyone else turns suspect. No one likes Lucky Straw, so his death seems like no big loss to anyone, in fact, to some his death is just what they think will lead them to victory. Can Josie, with the help of her trusty canine Lenny and the handsome local Detective, Quinton Lightfoot, solve the case and catch the killer? Will the event be a success despite it all? It is your turn to find out. I received this book for free to read and review. Being given this book has in no way affected my opinion or review.
It was a lot of fun to return to West Texas and the goings on in Broken Boot. Josie Callahan is in a good position to stick her nose in all kinds of things as a part time waitress and a part time crime reporter for the local paper, the Bugle. Even the local police, Detective Lightfoot, knows better than to freeze her out. Broken Boot is hosting their first Charity Chili Cook-Off, as part of its’ the Cinco de Mayo weekend festivities. Josie’s Uncle Eddie is hoping to make it an annual event with the International Chili Association’s attendance. When circuit regular Lucky Straw is found dead in his cooking tent the morning of the competition, foul play isn’t certain. The Big Bend area of Texas is beautiful and this story has great atmosphere and characters. Even Senora Mari shines through her rough spots to help Josie in the end.
I was really looking forward to another get away with Josie and the crew at Milagro. Rebecca did a great job of creating so many leads and distractions to keep you from guessing the real killer until the end. Even as it was unfolding I was questioning if what I was reading was right. I'm not sure if I'm happy about Lightfoot or am still secretly rooting for Coach Ryan to pull it out in the end. I'm such a sucker for high school/college sweethearts. Thanks for another great read! Until next time.
Cinco de Murder is an enjoyable read set during fiesta time in fictional Broken Boot, Texas. As a Texan, I enjoyed reading about the places surrounding Broken Boot that I have visited, and the general West Texas vibe of the book. I could vividly picture the Folklorico dancers in the Cinco de Mayo parade, especially Lenny, the dancing, long-haired chihuahua (see the cute cover). Josie is a fun character who is very close to her family, especially her Abuela, Marisol Martinez. There were so many interesting and quirky characters in this story and a mystery that had me guessing until the very end. Actually, I was on the edge of my seat and almost biting my nails for the last part of the book. Cinco de Murder is the third book in the Taste of Texas Mysteries, and while it can easily stand alone, I think that having some background from the first two books would add to the enjoyment of this one. It's a fun read, that I definitely recommend. I received a copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
It’s Cinco de Mayo and while it’s really not celebrated, the twon of Broken Boot, Texas goes all out for tourists. Josie Callahan’s Uncle Eddie hosts a new chili cook off this year and when one of the main contestants turns up dead, it’s up to Josie and her chihuahua Lenny to find the murderer before the town council boots him off the city council. Along the way there is some dancing, some flirting, and lots of Tex Mex food! This was the perfect book for me to read on Cinco de Mayo, though the timing wasn’t planned. How can you not love a story that has a dog as the main character’s side kick? Lenny rules! I’m looking forward to reading the first two books in the series as well as future installments.
I am such a big fan of cozy mysteries - and I quite enjoyed Cinco de Murder so much because it brought the mystery a bit closer to home (i.e. Texas). I am also a completist when it comes to series books, so I made sure to read the first two books in the series, Here Today, Gone Tamale, and The Good, the Bad, and the Guacamole. These books are absolutely great - so entertaining! Our protagonist, Josie Callahan, is such a great character; she's sweet, ballsy, inquisitive, and just plain funny. Her whole family reads just like an "average" (meaning, not so average lol) Texas family would really be. And her dog, Lenny, is so funny in his own right. In Cinco de Murder, we find Uncle Eddie getting a chili cook-off approved to be hosted in the town. The cook-off attracts contestants from all over, and one in particular, Lucky Straw, appears to be not well-liked by all those around him. Lo and behold, our Josie comes across Straw's body (what luck our Josie has!). Josie, along with Detective Quinton Lightfoot, get pulled along for the mystery of who killed the chili chef. Along with the mystery, something that I truly enjoy due to my love of romance books, is the developing attraction between Josie and Detective Lightfoot. It's something that started brewing since book one, and it's something that I truly enjoyed seeing grow between them. On the flipside, I also think it's fun to read about how Josie's ex boyfriend, Ryan, doesn't seem to be over Josie - though Jose doesn't seem to see that (I kinda love when the reader knows something the protagonist doesn't!). Adler's writing flows so smoothly, and it is so entertaining to read. Since book one, I liked Josie instantaneously along with her family trailing right behind her. Adler helps you care about her characters and it reads less like random characters and more like people you know. I am all for it! I recommend this book (and the whole series actually) to all lovers of cozy mysteries, and especially to those who think they can't possibly get into a cozy mystery. These books will convert you for sure!
Cinco De Murder by Rebecca Adler is definitely a hilarious cozy mystery that will keep you laughing, hanging on the edge of your seat, and hankering for some spicy Texas Chili, a heaping plate of Tex-Mex with homemade tortillas, chips and salsa, a Margarita or maybe a tall glass of sweet tea, and...where was I? While Josie Callahan is a protagonist with plenty of attitude, her long-haired Chihuahua, Lenny, is even sassier as he dances and "Yips" his way into your heart. Anyone who has spent any time in any small town in Texas will recognize the fictitious Broken Boot in West Texas. That small-town vibe is rampant here, with Josie navigating her family, friends, rivals, her job as a journalist, and her demanding duties at her family's Mexican restaurant, in addition to dancing in a Cinco de Mayo parade, working the chili cook off, and solving a murder. This girl is busy! And anyone who has participated in a Texas Chili Cook Off (I have but without the murder) will know that these cook offs are serious business! Even though Cinco De Murder is the third in this series, it can stand alone. But don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to read them all because these characters and the story line are fun and a bit corny at times yet highly entertaining. The overall mystery in Cinco De Murder is actually quite sad when the culprit is finally snared and the reasons for the murder are revealed. That serious note will make you ponder life's often unfairness, but Josie's and Lenny's antics will keep the humor at a high level. I adore the dynamics between Josie and Detective Lightfoot as they dance around their relationship throughout. That is, until the fireworks and the danger heat up in the last chapters, and they both end up rescuing each other. Fast-paced hilarity and a thought-provoking modus operandi in Cinco De Murder will keep you entertained and ready for another Taste of Texas Mystery!
Unfortunately, this book didn't hold my interest as much as the previous books in the series. I love the main character, Jessie, and her adorable Chihuahua, Lenny and I totally admire her tenacity/feistiness and love of and for her family. Learning about chili was kind of neat but I definitely wasn't surprised as who the victim was and I didn't care for the ending. I found all of the time spent on Josie's love life distracting especially considering that it seemed to be out of the blue. I really enjoy the location of West Texas because, even after spending four years in Texas, I don't know anything about the area. However,I found the book somewhat disappointing when compared to the others. I do hope the next book in the series will be more like the first two.
It's Cinco de Mayo and in Broken Boot, Texas Josie has agreed to help her Uncle Eddie with Broken Boot's First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off. Uncle Eddie is desperate to make a good impression with the City Council with this event and he needs it go off without a hitch. Sadly, things don't go in his favor when one of the contestants, a crotchy man by the name of, Lucky Straw, ends up dead. While checking the grounds to make sure nobody was trying to get in an unfair advantage Josie is the one who stumbles upon the unfortunate Lucky. I guess one could say that either he wasn't so lucky or that his luck ran out. Things don't look good for the cook-off continuing, but when Josie's Uncle is accused of possibly being negligent of his duties she's determined to figure out what really happened and why. She'll have her hands more than full though with the Cinco de Mayo celebrations going on. She's already committed to dancing in the parade with her folklorico troupe, she's waitressing at the family restaurant and she's trying to make time to write her article for the paper. Will she be able to balance it all? Vindicate her Uncle, discover what really happened and stay out of trouble? You'll just have to read to find out. Cinco de Murder by Rebecca Adler is book three in her A Taste of Texas Mystery series. This is the first book that I have read by this author. When I first saw the cover for this book I was excited to read it. I was curious to see what trouble Josie was going to get into. While this book can be read as a standalone novel, I think that it will benefit new readers more to start at the beginning. The way that the author writes, it seems that the characters are pretty established for her overall, and so we don't get a lot of background on them. We get hints and clues at things that have happened in the past, but the author never really goes back and fills in for new readers. I like the humorous moments that the author writes the story. I feel that in the right places it helps to lighten the story up a bit. Josie has some engaging moments, but they aren't as often as I would like. There are moments of where Josie seems like a good strong female character, but then she devolves in others to be a bit simple to me. I like the little hints of romance that the author writes into the story. It's well done, and I like that a little flame seems to still be kindled between her and an old flame. As for the mystery element to this story, I have to say that I enjoyed that the most. I love a good mystery novel of where the author keeps me trying to figure out who the murderer is. For a time or two, I thought that I had it figured out but the author managed to surprise me in the end. I wanted to enjoy this story more, but since I feel like I was missing out on a lot of history between the characters I just couldn't. I wanted to know more about her and Ryan. She's still carrying a bit of a torch for him, but she also has mixed feelings toward him as well. I'm curious as to what all has been transpiring between her and Lightfoot as well. At the pace that the story goes, one would think that quite a bit of time has passed, but everything transpires within a couple of days. Also, the author leaves us with some unanswered questions. I really don't like it when this happens. Certain things are incorporated in the story, but the author never comes back and identifies what really transpired. All in all, I'm rating this book 4 out of 5 stars.
This is the 3rd installment of the Taste of Texas mystery. This was my first introduction to this series and I plan to go back and purchase the first 2 books in this series I enjoyed it so much. I usually prefer to read a series in order, however, this can be still be enjoyed without having read the first 2 installments. Josie Callahan is helping her family get ready for Cinco de Mayo and the first annual Chili cook-off. Needless to say one of the cooks ends up dead and Josie begins investigating and there are plenty of suspects. She has a couple of romantic interests and I just love her dog Lenny. This is a winner. Looking forward to the next installment (after I read the first 2 of course )
Cinco de Murder by Rebecca Adler is the third book in A Taste of Texas Mystery series. Josie Callahan is busy rehearsing the folklorico dances for the Cinco de Mayo parade in Broken Boot, Texas. Her dog, Lenny (a long-haired Chihuahua) will also be participating in the dance wearing an adorable costume. Uncle Eddie is busy organizing the First Annual Broken Boot’s Charity Chili Cook-Off. He needs to ensure that this event goes off without a hitch or he could lose his seat on the town council. The next day Josie finds contestant Lucky Straw dead in his tent (this does not bode well for Uncle Eddie). Lucky was not well-liked on the cook-off circuit and had managed to anger several people since his arrival. Detective Quinton Lightfoot, Josie and Lenny work to find the killer and restore Uncle Eddie’s reputation. Cinco de Murder is a fun cozy mystery with a small Texan town that is filled with unique characters. I felt the author captured the small town feel and the competitiveness of a cook-off. Cinco de Murder can be read alone. The cases from the other books are rehashed in Cinco de Murder along with Josie’s background. I did feel that the novel needed some work. There were several continuity issues that needed fixing (Lenny cannot be in two places at once). The beginning of the book is disjointed and stilted (it gets better after several chapters). There is also a great deal of repetition (I lost track of how many times Josie’s Prius is mentioned or that Hillary Sloan Rawlings is called a nemesis). Plus, do we really need to know every single time the dog has to use the restroom or about the horse poop in the road (not needed). The mystery felt incomplete (details are missing). Josie does ask questions (she is bad at it), but the solution lands in her lap. I was left with several unanswered questions at the end of the book. There are numerous quirky characters in Cinco de Murder along with plenty of activities (which dominate the book). It sounds like Broken Boot goes all out for Cinco de Mayo. Josie had a busy two and half days and I bet Lenny was ready for a nap (and to ditch the costume). Readers who enjoy light cozy mysteries (prefer more cozy than mystery) will delight in visiting Broken Boot for the Cinco de Mayo festival in Cinco de Murder.
CINCO DE MURDER is seasoned with the same intelligent writing as the two previous installments of this wonderful series. Author Rebecca Adler has reminded me why I wanted to return to Broken Boot, Texas. The wonderful characters, including longhaired Chihuahua, Lenny, the festive feel of the town, and the mouthwatering food are all just as I remembered. I swear I could smell delicious Tex-Mex the moment I opened the book. Adler has blended together the prefect ingredients to ensure CINCO DE MURDER contains just the right amount of mystery, fun, and intrigue. With a plot full of twists and turns, this tasty murder mystery will leave you feeling sated at the satisfying conclusion but will quickly have you hungering for more of the series. Make sure to check out the back for the book for yummy recipes!
Smart, sassy, and full of sizzle, Cinco de Murder will leave you craving more of Josie and the residents of Broken Boot, Texas. This is an entertaining and fun book. Josie is a relatable protagonist and I love the relationships she has with her extended family – particularly her abuela. The book ended far too quickly and I was left ready and excited for the next installment.
Dollycas’s Thoughts We arrive in Broken Boot just in time for their Cinco de Mayo celebration complete with a chili cook-off, parade, and fireworks. Josie Callahan, her aunt and a group of their friends with be doing a traditional dance – folklórico – during their part in the parade. Even Josie’s Chihuahua Lenny is getting in on the fun. Uncle Eddie is in charge of the chili cook-off hoping to prove to the town council that it should be an annual event. Josie shows up to help him be sure everything is all set for the participants but one cook won’t be making a chili today, someone has sent Lucky Straw to the great chili cook-off in the sky. The mayor and the council are not happy with Eddie. Josie and Detective Lightfoot don’t have much time. They need to catch the killer before all the cooks pack up and head off to the next cook-off. Lenny is doing his best to help too! All the favorite characters are back and they are joined by some cook-off cooks and judges from the International Chili Association. We meet them pretty quickly but they’re a pretty unique cast of characters. The author does a great job bringing them all together in this for this fun-filled mystery. With all those characters there are plenty of suspects. Josie had a heck of time eliminating them from her list. It was a good time following along as she continued to change her mind about whodunit and her theories about the motive. With the weekend coming to a close and this reader getting near the end of her pages I was wondering if the mystery was going to be solved. Some dangerous crazy came together in the end and I will say I was scared for Josie and totally surprised. Rebecca Adler’s penned a great story that was intriguing, entertaining and at times pretty amusing. There is a little spark of romance at the end, something I have been waiting for, so I am hoping and praying this will not be the last we see of these characters, but if it is the author left me with a huge smile on my face.
It’s Cinco de Mayo weekend, and Josie Callahan has a full plate. She will be waitressing at her family’s Tex-Mex restaurant as well as helping her uncle with the first annual chili cook-off and dancing in the parade. The last thing she needs is to find the body of Lucky Straw, one of the cook-off contestants. He wasn’t well liked, but who would kill him? This is a fun mystery tying into a different holiday, yet it fits the theme of this series perfectly. The mystery is good, with several elements to keep us guessing until the end. I did feel that the book needed another edit to smooth things over as Josie’s changing theories constantly confused me, but not in a good way for a mystery. The series regulars are as fun as always, especially Josie’s abuela.