Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Eat, Drink and Drop Dead by T.C. LoTempio

Posted April 18, 2023 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, mystery/suspense, romance, T.C. LoTempio / 12 Comments

Tiffany Austin Food Blogger Mysteries #1

GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Severn House
RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2023
PAGES: 292

A former chef gets mixed up in murder when she moves back to her Southern home town in the first Tiffany Austin food blogger mystery – a culinary cozy that will make your brain work and your stomach rumble!

Food critic and blogger Tiffany Austin has the best job in the world: she gets to eat for a living. At least, she hopes she has a job. Her trial period at Southern Style magazine is up – and rumors are swirling that management are making a choice between Tiffany and a rival columnist: the ambitious Jenny Lee Plumm.

Former chef Tiffany knows she has a battle on her hands . . . but she didn’t realize it was to the death! When her rival’s body is discovered after the two have a very public argument, Tiffany finds herself the prime suspect in a murder investigation. The lead detective might be very hot – but Tiffany’s definitely not ready to go down for a crime she didn’t commit.

Ably assisted by Hilary, her best friend and partner in (non) crime, and bolstered by the unconditional love of her Siamese cat Lily and King Charles Cavalier puppy Cooper, Tiffany plunges into an investigation of her own. After all, she has a degree from the CIA – the Culinary Institute of America – and she’s not afraid to use it. But can she find the real killer before she’s served up to the cops on a silver platter?

Eat, Drink and Drop Dead is a great pick for fans of delicious culinary cozies by Joanne Fluke, Lucy Burdette, Krista Davis and Jenn McKinlay – if you like smart, savvy female sleuths, twisty mysteries and delicious food, why not give it a try!


Eat, Drink and Drop Dead is everything I love about cozy mysteries: A strong protagonist who is a lot of fun, a sidekick who is the Ethel to the heroine’s Lucy – or vice versa, a swoony romantic interest (bonus points if he’s a detective), a cute pet or two, a quirky cast of supporting characters, and a layered mystery that keeps me guessing.

I’d never read anything by this author before picking up Eat, Drink and Drop Dead, but this will definitely not be my last read by LoTempio. For starters, I will definitely be following this series, as I was completely charmed by it from beginning to end. Tiffany Austin was a talented, up-and-coming chef in NYC when a messy situation caused her to jump ship and head to small town Georgia where she is thriving as a food blogger and magazine columnist. I loved her personality, her warmth & wit, and her relatable blend of gutsy and anxious. Best friend Hilary is a hoot and reminded me a lot of Nancy Drew’s Bess, and while she may not be the most reliable sidekick, she is sincere in her efforts.

The murder mystery is full of delicious layers, and you’re never quite sure what Tiffany will uncover next. There is no shortage of people who strongly disliked the victim, so she has her hands full trying to pin down the right suspect and the right motive. Why is a food blogger/chef investigating a murder? Well, for starters, this is a cozy mystery haha. But also because Tiffany herself is on that suspect list and she just can’t seem to help herself when it comes to puzzling this one out. In the process, she ends up in yummy Detective Bartell’s crosshairs more than once, allowing ample opportunity for the attraction that hums between them to spark into flame.

That messy situation I mentioned earlier? I am still not quite sure why Tiffany reacted as strongly as she did to Jenny Lee’s threats to uncover the truth behind her NYC exit – it didn’t seem to warrant that level of panic. It also felt like Tiffany could have resolved that issue in the first place by having a conversation with a certain boyfriend instead of fleeing NYC, particularly as we can see how dogged she is in solving Jenny Lee’s murder. So I’m interested to see if this comes back into play in future books, more specifically if that former boyfriend shows up in some way, and we get some more information that will clear it up for me.

Bottom Line: Eat, Drink and Drop Dead is my first read by author T.C. LoTempio, and I was drawn into this delightful mystery from the very first scene. Tiffany is such a fun character, which works out well considering the story is written in her first person POV, and I also loved her best friend Hilary and their relationship. They make a dynamic amateur sleuthing duo (well… mostly haha), and it’s certainly never boring when they’re on the case. I would hang out with them in a heartbeat. Speaking of great relationships, the chemistry practically sizzles between Tiffany and the swoony chief of detectives and, champion of KissingBooks that I am, I cannot wait to see how this plays out in future books. The mystery is full of twists and turns and the ever-present red herrings, as well as all the yummy food Tiffany gets to eat while investigating. A series I’m definitely going to follow, while I catch up on this author’s backlist!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / really fun read

KissingBook Level: 3+ / will forget to breathe on occasion

Reviewer’s Note: Readers of this blog may want to be aware that there is some mild – and scattered – cursing, as well as one instance of a stronger curse word, in this novel.

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While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She and her cat pen the Nick and Nora mystery series originally from Berkley Prime Crime and now with Beyond the Page Publishing.  They also write the Cat Rescue series from Crooked Lane and the Pet Shop series, originally published by Midnight Ink and rebranded last year as “Urban Tails Pet Shop Mysteries.”  Book six in the Nick and Nora mysteries, A PURR BEFORE DYING, released this February from Beyond the Page.  There is also a new series, Tiffany Austin Food Blogger, coming out in April.

You can cat-ch up with them at ROCCO’s blog, or her website,

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12 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Eat, Drink and Drop Dead by T.C. LoTempio

  1. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “Eat, Drink and Drop Dead” by T.C. LoTempio and for being part of the blog tour.

    Sounds like a fabulous book and one I know I’m going to enjoy reading.

  2. Mary Holshouser

    Love Toni’s books. Great to get in on the
    start of a new series. Looking forward
    to it. thanks.

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