2nd in Series Hardcover: 320 pagesSynopsis
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 16, 2014)
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 16, 2014)
A brand new finger-lickin’ good mystery featuring small-town Georgia spice shop owner Piper Prescott, a smart and spunky amateur sleuth…
Spices are flying off the shelves of Spice It Up!, and Piper Prescott couldn’t be happier. It’s that time of year again—time for the annual Brandywine Creek Barbecue Festival. Soon contestants and BBQ aficionados from all over the Southeast will converge on the town. Many of Brandywine Creek’s citizens plan to participate in the week-long festivities and are busily concocting savory rubs and sassy sauces. Among the locals vying for the grand prize are Becca Dapkins and Maybelle Humphries. The women have been arch enemies ever since Buzz Oliver dumped Maybelle after a thirteen-year courtship and started seeing Becca.
When Becca’s body is found near one of the festival booths, bludgeoned by a brisket, Maybelle becomes one of Chief Wyatt McBride’s top suspects. Determined to help clear her friend’s name, Piper begins her own investigation, much to McBride’s consternation. As the festival draws closer, will Piper and Reba Mae be able to find the real killer and clear Maybelle’s name? Will Piper make it to the annual shag contest with Doug Winters, the mild-mannered vet she’s been seeing? And, who will win the BBQ cook-off?
What I Thought!
I really enjoy this series and I think this book was better than the first. I love the setting and the quirky characters that Gail has created. This was a fast paced book that kept me turning the pages. Piper sure does have some close calls, but she is bound and determined to prove that her friend is innocent. There were also some laugh out loud moments in this book. This is one that really kept me guessing till the very end. Great job Gail, can't wait for more.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
About This Author
Friends accuse Gail Oust of flunking retirement. While working as a nurse/vascular technologist, Gail penned nine historical romances under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner. It wasn’t until after she and her husband retired to South Carolina that inspiration struck for a mystery. Hearing the words “maybe it’s a dead body” while golfing with friends fired her imagination for the Bunco Babe Mystery series published by NAL. Gail is currently writing the Spice Shop Mysteries published by Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press. Kill ‘em with Cayenne, the second in the series, was released December 2014. Her interests include reading, travel, golf, and spending time with friends and family.
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Years ago—pre everyone-has-a-cell-phone era—I called a repairman to fix my washing machine. In the course of his service call, the man asked to use my phone to call his office. While on hold, he happened to glance around my office and read the titles of the books on a nearby shelf. Titles such as Malicious Intent, Deadly Doses, and Armed and Dangerous. “Ma’am,” he said, clearing his throat rather nervously, “exactly what type of work do you do?” “I’m a writer,” I explained to his obvious relief. “I need these for research.”
Before I started writing mysteries, I wrote historical romance under the pseudonym of Elizabeth Turner. In my last two historicals, I introduced a mystery element, but the bulk of my research dealt with things such as period clothing, timelines of history, and regional history. I had an entire shelf devoted to dictionaries and almanacs to give my work verisimilitude. I even own, and often referred to, a set of Encyclopedia Britannica published in 1890. Most of my research was performed the old fashioned way via books I could hold in my hand.
Many changes have occurred through the years. Not only in the type of books I write—cozies—but in the way I do research. While methods may have changed, the necessity for research remains constant. When it comes to writing mysteries, today’s readers are a savvy bunch thanks to a plethora of crime shows such as CSI, Law and Order, and newsmagazines Dateline, 48 Hours, and 20/20. Readers aren’t easily misled and are quick to note any discrepancies. DNA, blood spatter, and gunshot residue are familiar terms.
I confess that I still own an assortment of books dealing with everything from poisonous plants to textbooks on forensics. Although my sleuth is an amateur, I’m a professional. I try hard to keep the details as accurate as possible. A lot of my research these days is done on the Internet. Google and I have become BFFs. I try to fact check my information from several sources for accuracy. I shamelessly avail myself of the expertise of friends and acquaintances. I’m fortunate to have friends who were in law enforcement and are always happy and willing to answer oddball questions. Once in response to one of my questions, a friend and former Detroit detective, came over and fired off a round in my backyard—much to the consternation of my husband--to demonstrate a point. Recently during my annual checkup, my doctor who knows I’m a writer volunteered several great suggestions on how to kill a person—provided I withheld my source.
Unlike revisions (which I detest) I actually enjoy research. Quite often research doesn’t deal with murder and mayhem but with fun things. Research for my Shop Shop Mysteries has increased my understanding and appreciation for spices that I took for granted. For example, I always assumed allspice was a blend of various spices therefore the name--allspice. In fact, allspice is a berry discovered by Columbus in the Caribbean and at the time thought to be pepper. Kill ‘em with Cayenne takes place around Brandywine Creek’s Annual Barbecue Festival. Chili peppers, I learned, carry a wide, wide range of heat. Hot, hotter, and hottest. It was fun having Piper advise contestants on how to Spice It Up! from the milder ancho to the little firecrackers called piquin. Read and learn, I always say—and enjoy the journey.