Monday, January 12, 2015

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: In Hot Water (Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade #3) by JJ Cook

Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, has the world’s hottest and sweetest peppers—as well as a ghost that cooks and a fire chief who fights crime…


Stella Griffin should be bubbling over with joy now that she’s the full-time fire chief of Sweet Pepper, except trouble is brewing on her doorstep. An angry resident has purchased her cabin, and—with a bulldozer in tow—is ready to tear it down. But as Stella worries over the fate of her home and Eric, her ghostly roommate, there’s soon an even greater cause for alarm.

A suspicious house fire in the pricey Sunset Beach community at Sweet Pepper Lake claims the life of ex-state representative Barney Falk. The nature of the death has Stella feeling out of her depth, so she teams up with the state’s arson investigator. Moving full steam ahead with the case, they must smoke out a killer before the firebug strikes again…


In Hot Water
By Elvita Quick and Theodora Mangrum
Co-Directors of the Sweet Pepper Festival

“You know, I don’t randomly talk about people, do I, Theodora?” Elvita Quick asked.

“No, you don’t, and neither do I – but this isn’t random, Elvita. There’s something peculiar going on up here at the old fire chief’s cabin,” Theodora Mangrum answered.

“You mean Eric Gamlyn’s old place. Might as well say it.”

“It’s not nice to say. Bless his soul.”

“But Eric has been a ghost up here since we were young enough to remember. Now he’s helping Chief Griffin run the fire brigade.” Elvita crossed herself.

“Not that I didn’t think Eric had a handsome face.” Theodora smiled. “He was a real man, wasn’t he?”

Elvita sighed. “Yes! He was glorious – when he was alive.”

“Very true! But now – I just think the new fire chief should move into another place where she isn’t pestered by Eric’s ghost.”

“Is she pestered by him?” Elvita frowned.

“We are, aren’t we? We can’t go inside without him making scary noises,” Theodora declared.
Elvita giggled. “Or him trying to pinch my rear end.”

“He never pinches me!”

“We’re only here to talk to Chief Griffin about her work with the Sweet Pepper Festival. I don’t think being teased a little by Eric Gamlyn’s ghost should warrant tearing down his cabin that he built.” Elvita was confident in her decision.

“Not that we have anything to say about it anyway,” Theodora reminded her. “It’s between Chief Griffin and the town council.”

“I don’t like it when they tear down the old places. The firehouse Eric built is gone, and the Sweet Pepper movie theater in town. We should protect the old things.”

“Never mind all that.” Theodora stared at the log cabin in question. “One of us needs to get the recipes from Chief Griffin. “It’s your turn to go up to the door.”

“I wish I could see Eric one more time. Not as a ghost, but as a real person. He was such a nice man.”

“Just run up and grab the recipes, Elvita, and quick mooning over a dead man.”

“All right. But don’t leave without me like you did last time.”

“This time – run faster!”

Joyce and Jim Lavene write bestselling mystery fiction. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, and Charter Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family, Quincy, their black cat, Stan Lee their tabby and their rescue dog, Rudi.

I feel as though a lot of my reviews are starting to sound mundane and repetitive.  Sadly, when you read a particular genre, the set up is quite often the same, so it's difficult to not mention some of the same elements time and time again.  So, to make this a little less conventional and to change it up a little, I'm going to give you my what I liked/disliked spiel. :)  

What I Liked: 
*Stella.  She's got the drive and personality that sells the character's role as Fire Chief.  

*Eric.  Because this story isn't complete without him.  Seriously, he's a hoot! 

*The town of Sweet Pepper.  I believe one of the things that brings a cozy to life is the setting itself. And the town of Sweet Pepper does this story tremendous justice.  The picturesque little town becomes it's own brilliant character. 

*A fire themed series. What a creative idea! While fire is never funny, it certainly adds an air of mystery to any story.  

What I Didn't Like: 
*The victim. No, not because of his personality... just because of the potential I felt was ignored with this story. Anytime politics are involved in any sort of mysterious death investigation, it's carte blanche as to what they were hiding.  And while the authors did a good job with the story, I feel like so much more could have been done.  Maybe it's just the espionage/political thriller fan in me to want something more.  

This book was good.  Really good. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I'll continue reading the series.  With a female fire chief, how can this series ever go wrong? :)  

Rating: 4.5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own.  

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 copy of In Hot Water by JJ Cook to give away to one of my lucky readers! Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways! 

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