When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it's up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer . . .
It's the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb's Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat--a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane . . .
Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah's interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin's lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through unchartered territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin's death . . .
"Cheryl Hollon clearly knows her glass craft, but better still, she also knows how to craft a good mystery." --Sheila Connolly, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
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Cracked to Death
A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery
By Cheryl Hollon
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Cheryl Hollon
All rights reserved.
"Come on. Do the right thing — again," Savannah Webb muttered. She stood behind the sales counter at Webb's Glass Shop, waiting for the register to either boot up or display the blue screen of death. Relief at the sight of a normal start-up screen released the tension in her neck.
The little brass bell mounted on the front door jangled like a startled seagull.
In burst Amanda Blake, Savannah's still novice office manager, with her pudgy arms stuffed full of notebooks, pens, and teaching posters, along with two large dark green reusable grocery bags. The bulging bags, filled with empty wine and vodka bottles, hung from each of her arms, their contents clinking.
"I'm here. I'm here. I'm here," she huffed. "Like the little Whovians from the Dr. Seuss book." Tiny beads of sweat rolled down the sides of her pale face.
Savannah rushed around the counter and grabbed the heavy bags of empty bottles while Amanda staggered to the counter and unloaded the teaching supplies.
"I'm not late, am I?" A bundle of pens slipped out of her grasp, and they bounced madly across the floor like escaping mice.
"You're not late at all." Savannah shook her head as the antiquated cash register booted up to the shop's menu page.
I need to replace this system as soon as I can afford it.
"I'm not sure I've got everything." Amanda spoke between panting breaths and wiped the sweat from her face with a plump forearm.
"Amanda, you have enough materials to teach a year's worth of classes."
That's a lot of extra expense right now. Maybe I shouldn't have given her a company credit card, but up to now, she's been extremely conservative, even frugal.
"It's my first class, and I want everything perfect, absolutely perfect." Amanda turned to face Savannah. "Is my outfit okay? It may be too conservative, but I wanted to look accomplished and trustworthy. What do you think?" she said as she gave a little twirl.
Savannah's brows launched upward before she could control them. She covered her reaction with a big smile and checked out Amanda's lime-green headband holding yellow-orange, shoulder-length hair, a perfectly matching lime-green cotton shirt over a white camisole, and white stretch leggings. She sported new lime-green Converse sneakers with white laces.
Nodding slowly, she replied, "Perfect. Simply perfect." What she actually thought was that only Amanda could get away with an outfit like that. Anyone else would come off looking like a clown. "Your outfit says you're fashion forward, serious, but also artistic. Perfect."
Quickly running a hand through her black, close-cropped curls, Savannah looked down and assessed her own everyday work outfit. The white cotton button-down shirt tucked into khaki Dockers was heavy enough to afford protection while she was working with glass, but cool in the steamy heat of a west coast Florida July. A limber six feet, she towered over Amanda's plump figure. "Absolutely perfect." Savannah formed an okay sign with her index finger and thumb.
Amanda scrambled around the floor, picking up the pens, and gathered everything from the counter. "I've got to get the classroom set up before the students get here."
"You take the small stuff. I'll get the bottles." Savannah grabbed the grocery bags. They walked through the door behind the sales counter and into the classroom. "Why all the bottles? I thought the students were to bring their own."
Amanda dumped her armload of supplies onto the nearest worktable in the first row. The room was arranged into three rows, with each row containing two standing-height worktables that faced a whiteboard at the front of the room.
"I'm so nervous, I can't think properly. I kept having a recurring nightmare that no one brought any bottles, and so we couldn't have class, and then I got fired. As soon as I decided to bring these, I started sleeping." She stepped behind the instructor lectern and opened up her notebook to the first page. "Thank goodness you made me create a teaching plan." She looked up with a blinding smile. "If I get lost, I know what should come next."
Savannah placed a wine bottle and a vodka bottle on each worktable. "I'll get these, while you arrange the distribution of the handouts. We'll be done in a few minutes."
Even though it was Amanda's first teaching experience, Savannah felt confident the new class would be a success. Everyone loved Amanda's sunny disposition and eternally cheerful optimism. Students already sought her advice about the color choices among the racks of sheet glass available for sale at Webb's.
Capitalizing on a new crafting trend called upcycling, they had created a workshop to convert ordinary wine bottles into cool cheese trays, transform long-neck beer bottles into quirky spoon rests, and flatten vodka bottles into wall clocks. They touted the workshop's value for those interested in striving toward a responsible, green, zero-footprint lifestyle.
Once the bottles and handouts were distributed and the classroom was ready for teaching, Savannah stood in the doorway with her arms folded. "Don't be nervous. You're going to be terrific. You know your subject backward and forward. Plus, who wouldn't like you as their teacher?" She grabbed Amanda and gave her a bear hug. "Besides, I'll be only a quick phone call away if anything horrible comes up."
"Horrible?" Amanda's eyes opened wide, and she clutched Savannah's arm like a fledgling barn owl. "What do you mean by a phone call away?"
"I need to open up the new Twenty-Second Street warehouse studio. This is the first time Jacob will be working in the new workshop. His mother is driving him down there, but she wants to speak to me first before dropping him off. Understandable, since he doesn't like new routines."
"He is eighteen now. I was working on my own when I was sixteen."
"You weren't diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome when you were a small child. Working with my dad in the glass shop has made an incredible difference to his self-confidence, but he still hasn't learned to drive, and he still hates talking on the phone."
The warehouse studio was a new venture inspired by the growing number of glass students who had taken classes at Webb's and had graduated from beginner's status. These students needed a work space, as well as continued guidance and instruction in technique. The historical family-owned Webb's Glass Shop didn't offer the amount of space required for this, since there were only four small rooms. Customers entered the display room, which was filled with student artworks for sale, along with a sales counter. There was a supply room to the right, filled with everything an artist might need, from sheets of glass to soldering irons. In the back was a classroom large enough for six students and an instructor. At the very back end of the shop was an office, a restroom, and a rear door that opened to the alley.
In order to start Webb's Studio, Savannah had used some of her inheritance to buy a run-down warehouse. It was a risky and bold move, but one she hoped would pay off. She had found the perfect site not more than a ten-minute walk away from the shop, on the corner of Fourth Avenue South and Twenty-Second Street South.
Amanda took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "Of course, but could you stay until all the students arrive? Pretty please." She pressed her hands together as if in prayer.
Jacob Underwood was the only carryover staff member from when Savannah's late father owned Webb's Glass Shop. Although he had managed his Asperger's syndrome well, it had been a lucky day when Jacob discovered the joy of glasswork. Now he thrived in his role as apprentice and stained glass restoration expert. Still, an eighteen-year-old of any sort needed firm guidance and frequent reminders. She remembered her dad's frustration with her tardiness on homework when she was a senior in high school. Teens grew up at different rates.
"Nonsense. You're completely prepared — maybe too prepared." Savannah squeezed Amanda's hand and tried to sound sympathetic. "I'll stay until you start your lecture, but I've got to get to the studio. Once you get started, trust me, you won't even notice when I slip out the back."
"No buts." Savannah pointed to the lesson plan. "We have a few minutes before class. Let's look at your teaching plan and review the points for —"
The front bell jangled. Savannah gave Amanda a stern, no-nonsense look. "I was saved by the bell. Now, Instructor, go greet your students."
Amanda walked into the display room and met a pair of spry elderly women.
"Rachel and Faith! I'm so glad you're taking my class." Amanda hugged them both.
They had arrived in extreme twin mode, evident not only by their identical features but also by their identical head-to-toe outfits. Both women were dressed entirely in magenta — from custom magenta glasses and oversize button-down magenta shirts, with white T-shirts underneath, to magenta capri-length trousers and magenta flats with matching bows at the toe.
"We always take Webb's classes." Rachel tipped her head back at her sister. "We wouldn't dare miss —"
Faith interrupted her sister and, in true twin form, finished her thought. "The chance to be here for your first class as an instructor."
"Did you bring some bottles?" Amanda led them into the classroom. "When you signed up for the class, you should have received an information package with instructions and a list of the materials needed for this class."
"Yes, we brought bottles, and we received the information package," they said in perfect unison.
They stared at each other for a long moment and then burst into giggles. Faith finally composed herself enough to take a look around the classroom.
"Good," she said. "We're early enough to get our regular seats. I'll sit here, against the wall, so you can be on the outside." She looked pointedly at Amanda. "Remember? Lefties need to be aware of their poking elbows."
"No need to point that out. We have always managed to suit ourselves," said Rachel.
Amanda helped them settle in and asked that they place the bottles they had brought in on top of their worktables, in addition to the two bottles Savannah had placed on top of the worktables earlier.
"I'll bet we get a lot of different types of bottles," Amanda stated excitedly. But as she watched the twins take out bottle after bottle of Belvedere Vodka, her excitement started to wane. "Whew! You have quite a lot of vodka bottles. Do you drink only Belvedere?"
"Oh, yes," Faith chirped. "We have our 'teenies' out on the deck every night. Rachel makes such divine —" Faith didn't have a chance to finish.
"Cosmopolitans are actually cocktails, dear. But apple martinis — shaken, not stirred, are a special treat for us. They're so much colder that way," Rachel said as she mimicked the motions of agitating a cocktail shaker. "We also like apple martinis. They're even sweeter. On most days, I count the mixing as my aerobic exercise of the day."
Faith giggled and patted her sister on the shoulder. "Now, Rachel, you know we love our walk around the lake!"
The ringing bell announced the arrival of the next student, who called out in a low, raspy drawl, "Hello? Anyone here?"
Savannah turned from the chatter between Amanda and the Rosenberg twins to greet a slim middle-aged woman with silver-white hair pulled into a luxurious ponytail. "Hi. I'm Savannah." She extended her hand. "Welcome to Webb's Glass Shop. Are you here for the upcycling workshop?"
"Oh yes, darlin'. That's exactly what I need." The woman transferred a bulging red canvas bag to her left hand and shook Savannah's hand with surprising firmness. "I always make my Christmas gifts for all my family and friends. Reusing my discarded bottles will be a bonus."
"Well, then, you're at the right place! I'm sorry, but I didn't catch your name."
"Oh, my stars. How rude of me. I'm SueAnn Dougherty."
"Welcome, Sue." Savannah waved her arm toward the classroom.
"SueAnn. My name is SueAnn, just like it sounds, but it's all one word. Oh yes, with both a capital S and a capital A."
"Got it. Well, good morning, SueAnn." Savannah gave a tiny tilt of her head. "Your teacher is Amanda Blake, and she's right there in the classroom."
The door jangled again, and two lovely pale young women entered the shop, one with short brown hair and one with long amber hair. They were fresh-faced and modestly dressed in navy skirts and buttoned up white polo shirts. They smiled, and the long-haired girl spoke.
"Good morning, ma'am. Is this the place for the bottle class?"
"Yes. You must be from Roosevelt Prep School. I met with your artistic director last month to arrange for this special off-site workshop. I'm so happy it meets the curriculum for your studies." Savannah smiled and shepherded them into the classroom. "You can sit anywhere you like."
The girls exchanged hurried whispers behind discreet hands, then scooted themselves into the second row, probably because SueAnn had taken the worktable against the wall in the first row.
Amanda looked at her watch. "Okay, class. It's ten o'clock right now. Although I should be starting the class, there's still one more student left to arrive."
"Who is it?" SueAnn looked at the empty worktable beside her.
Amanda answered without looking at the student roster. "Martin Lane. He should be here already. I'll step outside and see if he's having trouble finding a parking spot," she said. Then she left the classroom and sprinted out of the shop, pulling her cell phone out of her pocket as she whizzed by.
Savannah lifted a finger to Amanda, but there was no stopping her.
Turning to the five students, Savannah grinned and raised her palms up. "It's unusual for one of our students to be late. I see you have all brought bottles you want to upcycle into something useful." She walked around to look at the bottles standing on the students' desks. "The wine bottles are great, and I see you've taken off the labels." She picked up one of Faith's vodka bottles. "The reason I specified modern vodka bottles is that the designs on them are screen printed, and they will survive the kiln temperatures. But if they're more than a few years old, the print may be dry and may flake off. It's safer to work with new bottles if you want the design to survive the heat of the kiln."
She returned to the front of the classroom. "One of the things I enjoy making with the vodka bottles are small dishes showing only the label. I'm making a bunch of them now to use as promotional giveaways to boost interest in upcycling."
SueAnn had finished wiping down her worktable with a sanitizing wipe and began emptying out her red canvas bag, which contained Van Gogh Vodka bottles in multiple sizes and varieties. Each flavor of vodka featured a different masterpiece screen printed on both the front and back sides of the bottle.
Savannah would have pegged SueAnn as a drinker of chardonnay or Southern Comfort, but with all those vodka bottles, SueAnn had to be a real lover of martinis. Perhaps after a couple of classes, she'd share some "teenies" with the twins.
The bell on the front door jangled, and Savannah heard Amanda call out, "Thanks, Vicki. That was nice of you." As Amanda walked back into the classroom with the missing student, she wiped some sweat from her face. Addressing the classroom, "The sun is steaming hot out there. Anyway, Martin's here. No need to worry. His truck wouldn't start, so his friend Vicki dropped him off."
A cute olive-skinned young man with light brown hair followed her into the classroom. He looked a bit annoyed by Amanda's explanation. He wore a faded red tank top, revealing a tattoo on his left shoulder of a pirate's chest surrounded by treasure. He also wore ragged cutoff jeans that looked like they had recently been shortened with a knife instead of a pair of scissors. The hack marks made by the knife had left a snaggletoothed fringe effect along the bottom edges of his shorts.
At least he's wearing tennis shoes, rather than the typical sandals men his age usually favor, Savannah thought. Amanda won't have to send him home to change his shoes.
"We're all here now." Amanda flapped the side shirttails of her oversize shirt against her chest to cool herself. "Good, good."
Savannah waited until Martin sat at the remaining worktable in the front row and placed a small brown paper bag on his work surface. She then gestured for Amanda to come and stand beside her at the front of the class. Once Amanda was next to her, it was time for introductions.
Excerpted from Cracked to Death by Cheryl Hollon. Copyright © 2016 Cheryl Hollon. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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
When I was chosen as one of the reviewers for “Cracked for Death”, the third in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series by Cheryl Hollon, I was thrilled! I’ve been meaning to try this series for a long time, but we don’t own it at the library I work for. I’d been waiting for a good time to get it thru interlibrary loan, but this is even better. I was not disappointed at all. Even tho’ it was the first book that I had read in the series, I felt that Ms. Hollon definitely provided enough details about the characters for me to get the basic idea of how the main characters know each other and where they fit in each other’s lives. I found the setting and the characters to be charming and wonderful. I’m already in love with Savannah and Jacob. Edward seems so wonderful and down-to-earth, yet ready to support Savannah in whatever she needs. The plot line moved along steadily, even somewhat quickly. The villain ended up being someone whom I considered for a bit but then thought, no, not them, so it kept me guessing quite a bit. The only thing that I didn’t like in the story line was that Amanda was so wishy-washy in telling her friends what was going on between her and the victim. I literally wanted to give the woman a “Gibbs slap” to the back of the head. Outside of that however, I enjoyed this book very much and I’m looking forward to reading the first two books in this series!
Reading Cheryl Hollon’s book “Cracked to Death” was like visiting an old friend in more ways than one. Glass shop proprietor Savannah Webb and her crew are back to solve a murder that could shatter one of her very own. Her loyal and trusted friend Amanda is up to teach a glass upcycling class until one of her students washes ashore the second day of class, a mysterious bottle stuffed in his dive bag. That little blue bottle could lead to buried pirate treasure, and they’re in a race to find the true murderer and clear Amanda before it’s too late. I am truly enjoying the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries. This is the third adventure in the series, and I look forward to many more. The author has created a cozy little world set in a glass community in Florida. Having lived in St. Petersburg and Tampa for five years myself, it’s like going back to visit friends. When she wrote about Gaspar the Pirate, it brought back fun memories of attending the Gasparilla parade and invasion of Tampa several times over the years. So the area the stories are set in is brought to life not just by my own memories, but the author’s creative voice. The bookstore, Haslam’s, that Savannah visits is very real, and worth a trip to anyone visiting the area! The author has crafted a very good mystery as well, and has enough red herrings to keep me guessing to the very end. Ms. Hollon is also very well versed in the world of glassmaking, and it shows in her writing. It’s definitely made me want to take up a new hobby. Once again, a very well-written story, and I look forward to more adventures with Savannah and her crew of friends and mystery-solvers! I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I couldn't wait to read the latest book in the Webb's Glass Shop series. I have read the other 2 books in the series and was anxious to see what Savannah and her friends would be up to this time. In each book a class is being held at Webb's Glass Shop and I like that aspect of the books as well as the mysteries that keep me guessing until the end. This book was no exception. There were several red herrings and I wasn't sure who the killer was until the end. This book also included information about local legend Gaspar the Pirate that added to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to readers that like a good mystery and a fast read. I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. This did not change my opinion of this book.
Cracked to Death is the third book in the A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series by Cheryl Hollon. This is the first book I've read in this series. The author does a good job of introducing the characters and I had no trouble jumping in with book 3. I really enjoyed this book. I’ve taken a few stained glass classes so I was happy to find a series related to glass work. I really enjoyed the characters in this book. It’s important to me that the characters are likeable and the way the characters were there to support each other was nice. The plot was very interesting with the pirate treasure, antique bottles and upcycling. It was an entertaining page-turner that I highly recommend. I've purchased the other 2 books in the series so I can catch up on the earlier adventures of Savannah and her friends. I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Cracked to Death was a truly entertaining read, and quite a page turner. It dealt with many interesting subjects, such as the craft of up cycling glass -- amazing projects you can make from old glass, a missing pirate's treasure, scuba diving and the use of underwater robots (ROV's), a young man's learning to live with Asperger's syndrome with the help of a service dog, and of course a mystery. I enjoyed all the characters and their continued development and interactions as well as the location of this book in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was left guessing "who done it" until the end of the book, and really enjoyed the conclusion. This book is the third one in the Webb's Glass Shop series, but it can definitely stand alone without your feeling lost or confused about the cast of characters. However, I would recommend that you read at least the first book so you can see how this delightful series featuring Savannah Webb and Webb's Glass Shop began. I received a copy of this book from the Author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This is the first book that I have picked up by Cheryl Hollon. Person's that who would enjoy this book are those that want a quick read. She writes similarly to Joanne Fluke and Jessica Beck. They all have a similar format. The characters in this book are unlike a lot of other ones I've read about. I enjoyed the fact that there were problems surrounding them and that each person had the others back. One character Jacob was Autistic which is home to me because he reminded me of my son. Then Amanda who had a mother with Dementia. The main character Savannah tended to be a little motherly towards her friends and that is something that did bother me a little bit. I think what would have brought me in a little more is if the other characters in the book were stronger. I kept wanting Amanda to stand up for herself. I have not previously read any of the other books and I'm not sure if this is just Amanda's personality but I think her as a character deserved a little more, especially since she is supposed to be Savannah's best friend. There were points that had me guessing who the killer was and it had a smooth finish.
I have loved this series since book one, and it just keeps getting better! One of the things I enjoy most about the Webb’s Glass Shop series, are the classes available through the shop. I’d love to find something like them around where I live. A adore each and every character author Cheryl Hollon creates for this series. The regular cast, as well as new characters introduced for each book. They are all so full of life, and depth, I get a very clear picture of them in my mind as I read, and I can hear their voices as clear as my own. CRACKED TO DEATH started off with the same fun and energy as the first two books in the series. I was immediately pulled in, and captivated through the entire story. As always, Ms. Hollon has written as excellent mystery. Detailed, riveting, and a hard one to guess! I was happily stumped all the way to the reveal. After reading CRACKED TO DEATH, you’ll see why this series is a sparkling success!
This is the third book in the Webb's Glass Series and each book seems to be better than the last one. This is a fun cozy series, but every mystery leaves me stumped until the end. The fact that you also learn about glass, creating glass creations and some history and vocabulary surrounding glass is a bonus. In this book, Amanda is teaching her first class at Webb Glass. It is an upcycling class and the students were asked to bring in a newer bottle to use in their creations. When one of the students, Martin, brings in some small cobalt blue bottles, he gets Savannah's attention. She believes the bottles are old and possibly valuable. She tells Martin she will do some research on his bottles. When he turns up dead, it is revealed that he had a relationship with Amanda. Savannah is hired by the police department as a consultant dealing with the bottles. Of course Savannah, Edward, Amanda and Jacob go outside the parameters of consultant and try to help solve the mystery. When Amanda is arrested for the crime, it becomes more important that they solve the mystery. With salvage operators, hidden treasure, a new Webb warehouse for artists to rent space, the relationship between Savannah and Edward heating up, Jacob coming into his own and the Rosenberg twins helping out with Amanda's mom, this story is fast paced, intriguing and hard to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to any cozy mystery lover. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review This was a great third book in this series and with each book I am getting more invested in the series. It's fun to return to the sunny town, the glass shop and familiar characters. There are new plot lines going on and a different mystery. Savannah is linked to the mystery as she gets called in as glass expert due to some mysterious blue bottles that are linked to the death person. It didn't came as much of a surprise to me who the murderer was, but the mystery itself and the progress was done well and kept my attention. There are some twists earlier on which were fun and changed things up. All in all this was another great book in this series and I am already looking forward to the next book so I can return to Webb's glass shop again.
Savannah Webb is quickly becoming invested in the St. Petersburg arts community by continuing to run her father's glass shop and opening an artist's studio in a nearby building. Her stalwart employee Amanda is taking over her first set of classes at the shop when one of the students stops showing up. The identity of a body washed ashore and found by a dog walking couple seems clear and once again, the glass shop is the spot of police scrutiny. The mystery includes pirate lore of the area, which was fascinating. And in every book so far, I have learned a lot about glass making. In this one, Amanda's class involves the reuse and recycling of glass bottles into other pieces. I missed that the pup Rooney didn't have as much to do this time, but can't recommend this smart series enough for people looking for a good story.
I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising] “You two are messing around in something you don’t understand. It can get you killed.” Savannah Webb, third generation owner of Webb's, a stained glass repair restoration and design studio, has asked her assistant to teach her first class. However, Amanda is distracted and keeping secrets that could affect not only her but those around her and the history of the area in general. Told in an intelligent voice with fascinating information, Cheryl Hollen teaches as well as entertains which is the mark of a good cozy mystery. Highly recommended
I read the first book in this series, Pane and Suffering, because it was a cozy mystery set not too far from me, in my home state of Florida. I have kept reading the series, because the author does not only a fantastic job of capturing the uniqueness that is St. Petersburg and the entire Suncoast area, but also telling an first rate story. Our story revolves around Savannah Webb, glass artist and owner of Webb's Glass Shop. Occasionally, we see things from Homicide detective David Parker's viewpoint, but that is usually when explanations need to happen that Savannah wouldn't have access to. It's a great way of keeping us, the reader, informed and up to date, as well as seeing how things are progressing from the official law enforcement view. The romance that I had predicted in book one, is really coming alive between Savannah and her work neighbor Edward. More of the neighborhood is explored, especially as Savannah has opened up a new venture, Webb's Studio, nearby to cater to artists needing space to create. As the characters move around the town and surrounding area, the descriptions are so distinctive, that I could almost smell the salt in the air. If you are like me, and enjoy reading cozy mysteries in part for the slice of small town life they typically explore or for the many wonderful hobbies and crafts that are described, this would be a great series to explore. This was another wonderful addition to a series that has been top notch and I gave it 4 stars. Kensington and Netgalley provided me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion
Ms Hollon has added another book to her Savannah Webb series. After her father's death, Savannah has inherited the Weber Glass Shop. She soon finds herself among amusing and amazing customers. Although I have never been to a glass shop, I believe that the visuals that are given to us, are pretty accurate. Ms Hollon and her husband have a small glass shop where the live in Florida. FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Cracked to Death is Hollon’s third book in the A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series. It is the first book in the series that I have read. Hollon does a nice job setting the stage of the novel and introducing the characters. This makes it easy if you, like me, are not starting with the first book in the series. The characters are relatable and easy to like. My favorite was Jacob, a young man with high functioning autism and his service dog. As a teacher who works with many students like Jacob, I found him very relatable and felt he added a nice depth to the story. The author does a nice job infusing her love of glassmaking and glass craft into the novel. From the ‘upcycling’ class where the bottles are discovered to the workshops and employees of the glass center, the details help add an authenticity to the novel and made it more enjoyable to me. I felt the plot was light and interesting. It moved along at a good pace and kept my attention with plenty of twists and turns. If you are looking for a fun mystery to keep you guessing, this is a great place to start! I did receive a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
One of the things I enjoy about this series is that with each book I learn more about stained glass and glass products. It's a fun way to learn about the topic without being overwhelmed with too much information at one time. All of the characters work so well together and are very relatable. I love that Jacob is learning to deal with his anxiety issues--it's amazing to see his character change and grow throughout the series. Of course, there is a murder mystery to be solved--and this time, Amanda is a suspect. We find out she was keeping secrets from the others, but is one of those secrets that she killed Martin? I think you'll be just as surprised as I was by the reveal of the murderer and motive **I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**
Cracked to Death by @CherylHollon is the third installment in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series, but the first that I’ve read - and it won’t be the last! From the beginning of the story, I was drawn in to both the mystery and the fascinating world of glass art. Ms. Hollon does a wonderful job of describing, in detail, the process and even includes a glossary of terms at the end of the book. The mystery was well-written and honestly, I had no idea who did it until the killer was revealed. It takes place in Florida, and there are pirates, and treasure, and sun and surf and all sorts of fun things…..I even learned a little about beer while reading – lol! I recommend this book to lovers of cozy mysteries, glass art, or those just looking for a good story to read. I did receive a copy of this book for my honest review, which I’ve given, but I’m off to purchase the first two books in the series so that I can get caught up (*note: one of the things that I liked most about Cracked to Death is that, in my opinion, one did not have to read the first two books in the series – Pane and Suffering & Shards of Murder – to enjoy the third)! A+
Savannah Webb is the owner of Webb’s Glass Shop. She has just hired her friend, Amanda Blake to be the new manager and teacher of a new class in glass art called “Upcycling”. A quirky group of characters make up the class, including a diver who brings in glass bottles that look like they may be more valuable than an empty vodka bottle! The next day a death is reported on the beach. It turns out to be one of the Amanda’s glass students and Samantha finds herself and her friends being pulled into the murder investigation. This book is a great read for lovers of cozy mysteries. I really enjoyed learning something about glass recycling and glass art. The plot was interesting and enjoyable. The author is from Florida and her descriptions are so thoughtful and vivid that I could feel the warm sun and sand between my toes all the way through the book. Cracked to Death is the third of the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series. Cracked to Death by Cheryl Hollon will be published June 28, 2016 by Kensington Publishing. An egalley of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Cheryl Hollon's Cracked to Death Pirate Treasure, Diving, Mystery, Murder, Suspense, Intrigue and Secrets make for a good read!!! Savannah Webb’s father died leaving her the Webb Glass in St Petersburg, Florida. Various classes related to glass are offered. The current classes is upcycling. Each class member is to bring bottles with them. One of the class members brings blue bottles to class requesting an appraisal on them. Well defined, colorful and vivid characters plus Suzy, Rooney and Charlie (the dogs) and Beowulf (the cat ) are all well written into the twists and turns of the unpredictable plot. This book is the third in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series. It can be read as a stand alone. You will find directions for upcycling and all sorts of glass tips following the story. Plus resources for classes are included. Thank you to Net Gallery and Kensington for this eBook. My opinion is my own.
Cracked to Death is the third Webb's Glass Shop Mystery by Cheryl Hollon and by far her best mystery yet in the series. Savanah Webb has opened the Webb Gallary and is leaving Amanda in charge of Webb Glass Shop teaching a class on recycling bottles. Amanda, normally very reliable is late for the first class and continue to be unpredictable during the rest of the week. On the first day of class, one of the students brings in two very old cobalt blue glass bottles he found snorkeling, neither Amanda or Savanah will allow him to recyle the bottles and Savanah takes them to do research on them. Next day a diver is found murdered on the beach and it is Martin Lane from Amanda's Class. Are the bottles part of a pirate's shipwreck? Was Martin killed because he knew the location? Why do cell phone records show many calls and texts between Martin and Amanda and why didn't she tell anyone she knew Martin? While the glass classes played an important role, as well as opening the new gallery and letting space to new artists takes place, as well as Jacob returning to restoring glass work, it did not overwhelm the book. This time the mystery of Martin's death and its relationship to the old bottles and the research into the bottles, which does go into how bottles were made over time, take parimont. I love how the posse gets together, only to end up finding out this time it is primarily to clear Amanda of murdering Martin. I always love the entire cast of characters from the class. The new characters introduced round out the plot nicely. Amanda is totally erratic during the book, only to make herself look more guilty. Yet, her mother is ill and explains part of her problems. There are great clues throughout the book, dropped neatly into the storyline. I admit I kept moving from character to character as to who may have murdered Martin, and Savanah's and Edward's investigation into the crime was great. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Great mystery and story.
Cracked to Death by Cheryl Hollon is the third book in the third book in A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series. Savannah Webb lives in St Petersburg, Florida and owns Webb’s Glass Shop. Savannah is starting a new venture and is calling it Webb’s Studio. Savannah is offering studio space and equipment to glass artists. While Savannah will be at the studio, Amanda Blake will be watching the shop and teaching a class. Amanda is the office manager and will be teaching her first class (all on her own). The class is on upcycling. Taking glass bottles and turning them into usable items (like cheese trays, spoon rests, and clocks). Amanda is a little nervous about teaching her first class and asks Savannah to hang around a little while. The students were all asked to bring in bottles. One student, Martin Lane brought in some beautiful, old bottles. He would like Savannah to evaluate the bottles. Martin is an artist who uses salvaged materials for art pieces. Martin claims to have found the bottles on the Intracoastal Waterway near Treasure Island (while diving). Savannah agrees to look into the bottles for Martin. The bottles look very old and there are rumors that Gaspar the Pirate had buried his treasure in the area (hence the name Treasure Island). Before Savannah can look into the bottles, Martin is found dead on the beach. He has a dive bag with him with another bottle inside. David Parker, a homicide detective with the St. Petersburg Police Department, hires Savannah (a first) as a consult. Savannah gathers her group (Amanda, Jacob, Edward) together to look into Martin’s death and the bottles. Are the bottles related to Martin’s demise? Do the bottles have anything to do with pirate treasure? Join Savannah and her friends on another escapade in Cracked to Death. Cracked to Death was an entertaining book to read. This may be the third book in the series, but it can be read alone (the writer does a good job of bringing the reader up to date). Cracked to Death is well-written, easy to read, and has a good pace. There is a romance going on (between Savannah and Edward), but it does not dominate the novel (I like how the romance is progressing). I appreciated the mystery and how it incorporated the antique bottles and their history. It is easy to figure out the killer, but it did not bother me because I was delighted by the overall mystery. It was interesting how Ms. Hollon incorporated Gaspar the Pirate (which leads to Gasparilla, a local festival). I give Cracked to Death 4.5 out of 5 stars. There is a good reference to Haslam’s in the novel. It is a local bookstore that has thousands of books. You can spend many pleasurable hours wandering through Haslam’s. One thing I thought was really not needed in the book was Arthur’s (a man who purchased studio space at Webb’s Studio) bathroom issues. One mention I could let slide, but a couple of times is too much (and I really did not need the details). I will definitely be reading the next book in A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery. I received a complimentary copy of Cracked to Death in exchange for an honest evaluation of the book.
For Savannah Webb, life is complicated. There’s the Glass Shop she runs after inheriting it from her father. The new studio she has opened, hoping to provide work space for fellow glass artists. Her employees, Amanda, a certifiable flake and her teenaged assistant Jacob who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. And a lovely fellow in her life. All is good; except for her penchant for getting caught up in the local murders, that is. One of the main characters is the setting of St. Petersburg, Florida. Here we have the beach, pirates’ treasure, the heat, eccentric clientele, scientists and lots of breweries. As a part-time Floridian, I enjoyed seeing the area through this author’s eyes. She surely caught the atmosphere of the region. I also enjoyed the characters, mostly the batty twins and gruff boat’s captain and colorful Amanda. A good cast for sure. What sets this cozy apart from others is that we do not just follow the story through Savannah’s eyes; we see the story unfold through the eyes of other main characters as well. This is done nicely; indeed, I would have liked to see more of it. This is the third book of the series, but the first I’ve read. Am on the lookout for the others! A fun read, to be sure. I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Savannah Webb is working hard at her Glass Shop. She's moving on after the death of her father and has found happiness in her new life with Edward. She's feeling hopeful until one of her students is murdered. She agrees to help the police as a consultant on a glass bottle he had with him. Suddenly the police believe her friend and office manager, Amanda, is the murderer. Savannah knows they are wrong and decides to find the killer. Will she and her friends be successful? I love that Savannah has the spunk and desire to help a friend in trouble. She has a keen eye and a quick mind. Edward is there by her side. They are perfectly matched and work well together. I enjoyed the British terms that he uses. They were a nice touch. I've always had an interest in glass so the setting was perfect. I wish that Amanda had been honest with her friends. Her secrecy made her a prime suspect. Cheryl Hollon wrote an interesting cozy mystery. Her characters are diverse and charming. I liked them and cared what happened to them. The hint of pirate treasure added to the mystery. Who doesn't enjoy a treasure hunt. Cracked To Death was fast paced and had many unexpected twists that kept me guessing. It wasn't until the very end that I knew who the killer was. I'm looking forward to Savannah's next adventure. I know that there will be one. She has a talent for finding a murder. I received a copy in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Cracked to Death by Cheryl Hollon Cracked to Death is very readable. The author drew me in immediately and I just loved the subject matter (the glass work, not the murder), possibly because stained glass is one of my hobbies. In the introduction the author said she relied on experts, and it shows. The characters are well drawn and likeable. This is not the first book in the series and I haven't read the introductory book, but I definitely will. Savannah's new relationship is perfect for her and I look forward to seeing where it leads. The author has included in this series a young man with Asperberger's Syndrome. Based on people I know with Asperberger's, the author has fairly represented their issues. Another thing I like in this cozy is that Savannah has a good relationship with the lead police detective. So many times, the police are made out to be bumblers who need help to solve the crimes. All in all, this is a great book and I highly recommend it. I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review.
This is a great book; this is the third book in the A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series written by Cheryl Hollon. Savannah Webb is the owner of the glass shop in St. Petersburg, Florida. She comes up with a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane. When Martin's lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. She puts her sleuthing skills to work to find out what happened. This is a great book with a wonderful story and well developed characters. This book will keep you reading long into the night. This was such a great read and full of surprises. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
It is awesome! ‘Cracked to Death’ is the third offering in Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series; each novel is better than the one before it! One does not need to read the earlier ones to enjoy this one, but I would suggest that one go back to read the earlier ones if enjoying this one. Savannah left her life in Seattle to take over her family’s glass shop after the murder of her father and his business partner, and things are looking brighter for the near future. Savannah is happy about her future, and is using the skills learned from her father years earlier. She is opening a studio where students can lease space to work on their glass projects but can’t yet afford their own studio. Her Office Manager, someone skilled in several areas of stained glass work, Amanda, at the original shop location is beginning to teach her first class. Jacob, a young man with Asperger’s who had worked for Savannah’s father, will work at the new location on the special, detailed glass orders and be available if the lessees have questions he can help with. The second day of the new class and the opening of the studio, it was in the news that a diver had been found murdered; the victim was one of the Amanda’s students. As the days progressed, not only was Amanda’s mother struggling with health concerns, but it was discovered that Amanda had secrets that put her at the top of the suspect list of the murder victim. Once again, the ‘posse’ banded together to find who the real killer was to keep one of their own out of jail. The characters continue to grow since the beginning; Savannah is the best-defined and we learn more about the others through her eyes and their actions and conversations. Amanda, Jacob, and Edward are probably the next in line that we learn about, then the detective who they are all too familiar with. There are characters with fascinating careers, such as the couple with the ‘ROV’, and potential suspects and neighbors. Most are very likable folks that I’m looking forward to visiting in the next cozy mystery. One thing I appreciate in this series are the new and/ or interesting things to learn, such as upcycling and salvage work. The salvage in this case would be from historic shipwrecks that had not been previously located, with the goods being of historic value, and learning the specifics of one of the things salvaged. Another, and probably most important thing learned is more about people with Asperger’s Syndrome. The author highlights, through Jacob, their gifts and talents rather than their challenges. The author has planned and executed a novel of excellence! The plot in itself was part of the learning processes, and this reader confesses to have often been so wrapped up in the technology and glass techniques that I wasn’t actively trying to guess who the bad guy/ gal might be. While I thought I knew who the culprit(s) were, I was wrong – and very surprised! There was a couple intriguing plot twists that altered the course of the investigation, and enough suspects to keep the suspense rising. I highly recommend ‘Cracked to Death’ to cozy mystery lovers who appreciate well-crafted, tightly woven plots, fascinating information about stained glass and various scholastic endeavors, and a suggestion of romance tossed in. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.