Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Crunch Time

Summary: Caterer and sleuth extraordinaire Goldy Schulz returns in another tasty and suspenseful adventure from New York Times bestselling author Diane Mott Davidson

Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz cooks up big trouble as she tries to help her longtime friend and fellow chef Yolanda Garcia. When the rental house shared by Yolanda and her irrepressible aunt Ferdinanda is destroyed by arson, the pair move in with cop-turned-PI Ernest McLeod. But then Ernest is shot dead and his house is set on fire, nearly killing Goldy, Yolanda, Ferdinanda, and nine beagle puppies that Ernest had recently rescued from a puppy mill.

Concerned for her friends, Goldy invites them to stay with her while the sheriff’s department investigates. Yet even Goldy’s house isn’t safe, and after a failed break-in by an unknown intruder a cop is sent to keep an eye on things. Then a second body is found.

Swapping her chef’s hat for a sleuthing cap, the intrepid Goldy steps up the investigation. But she’s got to move fast. It’s crunch time to close in on a killer, before he can close in on her.

Filled with danger as well as laughs, wonderful food, and scrumptious recipes, Crunch Time is a delicious indulgence sure to satisfy all of Goldy’s fans. -- William Morrow

Way back when, I was a huge fan of Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Schulz mystery series. I loved the characters and the mystery, and the descriptions of the food and recipes didn't hurt either. It's been a few years since I've picked up a book in this series, but I thought with my Mystery Monday feature, I should revisit these books. The latest Goldy novel is CRUNCH TIME: A NOVEL OF SUSPENSE, and I'm happy to say that this novel encompassed everything good that I remember about this series.

This might sound strange but I was shocked when I first picked up CRUNCH TIME -- it was pretty heavy for a mystery. In fact, it came in at over 470 pages. It's not that I minded the book's length because I do love Goldy (and there were quite a few recipes included!) It's just that I wasn't expecting for this type of mystery to be quite so long. I won't go so far as to say that it was too long for me, but I did find myself losing interest a little bit in the middle. I think I've just gotten used to reading mysteries like this in one or two sittings, and that wasn't the case for CRUNCH TIME.

In CRUNCH TIME, Goldy once again finds herself helping a friend. This time, it's her employee Yolanda who ends up homeless after her last two residences go up in flames. Yolanda and her aunt (who happens to be a piece of work) move in with Goldy, and Goldy's family finds that they are now at risk because of their visitors. Goldy, with the help of her friends and police investigator husband, set out to solve the murder mysteries and bring some semblance of normalcy back to their lives.

I found CRUNCH TIME to be a very enjoyable mystery. Of course, I love Goldy and her family and friends, but I also appreciated that this novel had a little bit of something for everyone. There was murder and mystery, some complicated twists, and lots of suspects. And I admit that I had no idea whodunnit or why. In addition, there was enough about Goldy's personal life (and her especially her relationship with her husband) to make things interesting. In fact, I was quite surprised with how this book ended and I can't wait to see where the next book picks up as far as Goldy's marriage goes. Lastly, there were lots of references to food and drink; and I challenge any food lover not to drool over some of Goldy's (and Ferdinanda's) concoctions.

And it wouldn't be a Goldy book without some awesome recipes. I swear I was hungry the entire time I read this book (except for the yucky murder parts!) CRUNCH TIME included ten recipes and some looked terrific. I especially liked the ones for Crunch Time Cookies (an oatmeal, chocolate chip, Heath bar cookie), Tex-Mex Ham and Cheese Casserole, and Ferdinanda's Florentine Quiche. I have never tried any of Diane Mott Davidson's recipes, but I'm sure they would be delicious.

I think fans of the Goldy Schulz series, as well as anyone who loves a good foodie mystery, will enjoy CRUNCH TIME. I definitely recommend this novel... and the rest of the series!

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a "somewhat" regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I've never tired this series or Davidson's work and now I'm wondering how in the world I've missed it! This one sounds good to me.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Even when I think these food cozies aren't up to the level of other mysteries, I still love reading them. Such a great combo of topics!

Anonymous said...

I haven't gotten around to this series but it looks like a lot of fun!

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I've also never read any books by this author, but we are looking for a good mystery for our book club and maybe this author will be the perfect fit.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read this series before but I've heard nothing but good things about it. This may be the perfect summer to start.