CHARRED by G.P. Gottlieb
SERIES: Whipped & Sipped Mysteries #3
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: DX Varos Publishing
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2023
“A very entertaining book that was quite a refreshing change from the usual fare.” – Donna Thompson, Goodreads
Alene Baron is dealing with frustrated employees, closed schools, and a homeless man who harasses customers outside the door of her café. Then, two dead bodies turn up in the burned remains of buildings owned by the husband of Alene’s best friend and pastry chef, Ruthie. Both bodies are wearing jackets that once belonged to Ruthie and crumbled in the pockets are the café’s distinctive wrappers. At the same time, Alene’s uncle, a convicted felon, has resurfaced after disappearing for 22 years. It’s all too much for the owner of the Whipped and Sipped Café.
Other Books In This Series
Alene Baron, the owner of the Whipped & Sipped cafe (a spot for healthy-but-delicious food) is a likable & relatable protagonist, even though I’d hadn’t met her until this third book in the series. She has common-to-us-all struggles, whether we are in her precise stage of life or not, and she is surrounded by a handful of equally likable supporting characters. From her dad, her kids & her boyfriend (a Chicago homicide detective) to her cafe’s employees and her friends, readers will enjoy the personalities that make up this story.
For its own part, Charred is a cozy mystery with several ingredients, if you will. There is more than one mystery to solve, for starters, as well as a surprise historical find in the cafe’s basement, an estranged family reunion, and relationship struggles of the romantic, friendship, employee/employer, and family varieties. And then there’s the pandemic which throws a whole other wrench in things. Yes, Charred has the dubious honor of being set in May 2020 at the height of anxiety over the virus and its potential long-term fallout. While I honestly wasn’t ready for a book this immersed in those tense days, I do have to admit that it definitely shaped the mood of the story as it dominated Alene’s thoughts & the cafe employee’s conversations.
Bottom Line: Charred by G.P. Gottlieb is an easy-going cozy mystery with interesting characters and lots of layers. Each subplot added a bit of flavor to the plot, and readers will enjoy trying to figure out which of these ingredients play a part in the final dish and which are merely snacks along the way. While this is my first read of the series, it’s not difficult to feel like you’re mostly up to speed. One word of caution: If you’re not of a mindset yet to enjoy reading fiction that is set during the early days of the pandemic, this one may need to go on the backburner for you for a bit longer.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 3.5 stars / enjoyed it!
Reviewer’s Note: Readers of this blog may want to be aware that, while certainly a clean read, there are a couple of very mild curse words as well as implications of intimate activity in this book.
Known for her imaginative baking and fabulous dinners, G.P. Gottlieb was always an avid reader. She enjoyed several careers, but after recovering from cancer, turned to writing in earnest, melding two passions: nourishment for mind and body, and recipe-laced murder mysteries. She is also the host for New Books in Literature, a podcast of the New Books Network.
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What about you? What makes you want to read Charred by G.P. Gottlieb?
This book looks really good. I love mystery books so this is right up my alley.
Sounds like a fun mystery. Would like to read it. Thanks for featuring it.
Nice review, Carrie.
thanks, Cindy 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
you’re welcome 🙂