My sister, Christie, and I talk about characters in cozy mysteries the way some women used to talk about characters in soap operas. These are people we know, and we get upset with them when they do something that makes them TSTL, Too Stupid To Live. And, as much as we love Mel Cooper and Angie DeLaura in Jenn McKinlay's latest bestseller,Dark Chocolate Demise, we were also a little exasperated with them. Isn't it great that Jenn brings her characters to life so much that we had an entire phone conversation complaining about their actions in the new Cupcake Bakery mystery?
While Angie is happy that she's finally engaged to the right man, Mel's upset that Angie's brother, Joe, rejected her proposal. Joe's caught up in the murder trial for a local mobster, and he isn't seeing Mel in order to protect her. But, it doesn't appear to be Mel that needs protecting. When the team take their Fairy Tail Cupcake van to Scottsdale's first Old Town Zombie Walk, one of the undead turns up extremely dead in the bakery's prop coffin. And, she's dressed just like Angie.
Now, Angie's brothers rally around, and the bakery is under twenty-four hour surveillance. The two women are so upset with the murder, and so exasperated with their guards that they hatch a couple outlandish plots, as they try to clear suspects, convince themselves that Angie isn't a target, and, hopefully, find the killer so they can move on with their lives. But, screwball plans will only lead to trouble.
OK, Jenn. We get it. Strong, independent women hate to be guarded and controlled. But, in this case, we both see that Mel and Angie are loved. And, for some reason, they just can't see that. They're too angry dealing with being watched and followed. And, that anger just makes them act rashly.
Dark Chocolate Demise? It's filled with Jenn McKinlay's trademark humor and fun characters. For some reason, I can just see Lucy and Ethel. Mel and Angie may be younger and prettier, but they could step into those shoes easily. This time, it's Lucy and Ethel in a zombie walk and hiding from mobsters. Now, I'm sure you can see it perfectly.
Jenn McKinlay's website is www.jennmckinlay.com
Dark Chocolate Demise by Jenn McKinlay. Berkley Prime Crime. 2015. ISBN 9780425258934 (paperback), 295p.
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