Red Velvet Revenge (Cupcake Bakery Mystery)
by Jenn McKinlay
Cover Artist: Jeff Fitz-Maurice
Review by Harriet Klausner
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425251386
Date: 03 July 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
It has been in the triple digits in Arizona for the last few weeks. Those who can, stay indoors; while those poor souls who must go outside keep their time in the oppressing heat to a minimum. This also means people are eating and drinking cold comestibles.
No one makes special trips so Fairy Tale Cupcakes has few customers. The owners Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura realize they need to find something to bring people to their bakery. Their friend Marty owns a refrigerated truck; he suggests that if no one is coming to Fairy tale Cupcakes, they bring their baked goods to their customers. His vehicle is a clunker that breaks down. However, legendary cowboy Slim Hazard invites them to sell cupcakes at the annual Juniper Pass rodeo, an event 20,000 people will attend.
Silent partner Tate Harper, an attorney general who has been friends with Mel and Angie since grade school, helps them prepare for the rodeo. Tate (see Sprinkle with Murder for his wife's murder) loves Angie, but conceals his feelings as she is involved with Hollywood star Roach and must decide whether to move to Southern Californian to be with him.
Their donuts are a huge success as everyone loves them. Things look great for the ladies until the opening ceremony. Someone shoots Slim in the shoulder and the star bull rider Ty Stokes is hostile towards Mel and Angie. Not long after that Ty is murdered. Angie finds the pitch fork that killed Ty as Mel, unable to stop herself as it is in her blood, begins to investigate the homicide and murder attempt.
The lead protagonists are a delightful duet whose actions seem plausible. They are best friends who cover each other's back as they step into drippings of trouble. Tate is terrific as he also is there for his childhood friends. The support cast bring to life the rodeo and Arizona in an unbearable summer heat wave that impacts severely on what people do; like leaving the bakery empty of customers.
The fourth Cupcake Bakery Mystery (see Death by the Dozen) is an exciting amateur sleuth mystery. The storyline contains a wonderful whodunit, humor especially when the BFFs bet some redneck who can sell the most food. Readers will enjoy Mel's inquiry as she follows the clues that link events in the past impacting the present with someone seeking revenge while she realizes the victim was not a nice person.
Jenn McKinlay provides a delightful mystery that should require a warning not to read on an empty stomach due to the delicious recipes.