It isn't easy to write humorous mysteries. Jenn McKinlay is one of the smartest mystery writers I know, and at the same time, she's one of the funniest. In her latest Cupcake Bakery mystery, Red Velvet Revenge, she manages to take her characters out of the heat in Scottsdale, enabling them to avoid the "Cabot Cove Syndrome". And, she knows that the frustrating relationship between two characters has gone on long enough, and she makes fun of it before readers can tire of it. Very, very shrewd. It makes Red Velvet Revenge one of the most enjoyable books in this fun series.
Angie DeLaura and Melanie Cooper, owners of Fairy Tale Cupcakes are debating closing the bakery for a couple weeks. One hundred and fourteen degrees is typical in the Valley of the Sun during the summer, making business in Scottsdale, Arizona nonexistent. Angie could go to L.A. to visit her rock star boyfriend. However, their intern, Oz, shows up in a beat-up old van, insisting it's a cupcake van. A van drag race with the bakery's archenemy leaves the staff on the side of the road where they're rescued by Slim Hazard, a rodeo legend. His invitation to sell cupcakes at the Juniper Pass Rodeo sends Mel, Angie, co-owner, Tate, and the staff of Oz and Marty north to cooler weather as they hit the road in their tricked out cupcake van. That invitation also sends them straight into trouble.
Sure, some of the trouble is funny. There's the bet with Billy and Bob, "the Bubbas", owners of the barbeque smoker parked next to them at the rodeo. The bet isn't so funny, when someone pulls the plug on the van. But, that's minor. Slim is shot during the rodeo parade. And, following a confrontation with Mel, a rodeo star is found dead. Oz seems to know a little more than he should about the activities of the dead man. So, once more Mel finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.
Only Jenn McKinlay can put a cupcake-loving bull, a rock star, cake pops, old movies, a fun bet, and a cat named Captain Jack into a mystery and wrap it up in neat package. And, anyone who follows the series has to admire the way she indicates the situation with Tate and Angie has gone on long enough. Mel says she's "Fed up with the Tate and Angie show - honestly, just like that Fonzie on water skies episode on Happy Days, it had jumped the shark."
Can I entice you with fun characters, a great deal of humor, and mystery, along with cupcake recipes? Red Velvet Revenge is the perfect recipe for enjoyable mystery and entertainment.
Jenn McKinlay's website is www.jennmckinlay.com
Red Velvet Revenge by Jenn McKinlay. Berkley Prime Crime. 2012. ISBN 9780425251386 (paperback), 288p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author gave me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.