Book Review (and a Giveaway!): A Crust to Die For by T.C. LoTempio

Posted January 17, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, clean, contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, mystery/suspense, T.C. LoTempio / 6 Comments

A Crust to Die For book review

A Crust to Die For by T.C. LoTempioA CRUST TO DIE FOR by T.C. LoTempio
A Tiffany Austin Food Blogger Mystery #2
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean with mild language)
PUBLISHER: Severn House
RELEASE DATE: January 2, 2024
PAGES: 278

The Bon-Appetempting Pizza Bake-Off has the small town of Branson, Georgia buzzing. Not least its organizer, Southern Style‘s food critic and blogger Tiffany Austin. But right before the finals one of the celebrity judges falls ill, and to Tiffany’s horror the magazine replaces him with none other than handsome TV star and restaurateur Bartholomew Driscoll.

Tiffany once gave his restaurant a poor review, and she’s convinced he’s only accepted the job to get revenge. She fully expects Driscoll will find a way to ruin the contest . . . but she definitely doesn’t expect to trip over his dead body backstage!

Soon, it’s clear Tiffany wasn’t the only person who had less than positive feelings towards the sharp-tongued Driscoll. She’s surrounded by suspects – but which of the motley crew of contestants, family members and scorned friends and colleagues had the guts to commit murder?

With the help of her BFF Hilary and annoyingly handsome detective Bartell, and with cat Lily and puppy Cooper as emotional support, Tiffany investigates, only to discover that revenge is indeed a dish best served cold . . .


Other Books In This Series

I read – and watch – a lot of cozy mysteries, and sometimes the murder victim is someone whose death is unexpected and very sad. Other times you can tell almost at once exactly who is going to be killed and – much as this probably reflects badly on you me as a person – you can’t wait for them to go. In A Crust to Die For, it’s definitely the latter when it comes to Bart Driscoll. He is an odious and sleazy person, to be sure, and while I never rejoice over even a fictional character’s death, I also wasn’t weeping over his demise. However, as the book progressed, LoTempio does a wonderful job of posthumously revealing much more nuance to his character than we first realize is there, and I love that she did actually make me feel some sadness over his murder after all.

That wasn’t the only surprise waiting for me on the pages of A Crust to Die For, though. For starters, when I realized it was set around a pizza contest that Tiffany Austin (our marvelous protagonist) is spearheading for Southern Style, I thought I pretty much knew how the suspect list would play out. Contestants, judges, other chefs… and, while those categories were definitely represented, the author took the story down some really intriguing paths that kept me eagerly turning the pages. It just kept getting more layered and more complex as Tiffany uncovered several long-held secrets that give even some of the people in her circle a motive to kill.

What was NO surprise to me was how much I continue to love Tiffany’s relationship with her BFF Hilary and with a romantic interest in the police department. This time it’s Tiffany’s turn to be there for Hilary, and of course she will be. I was also very pleased to see that the sparks between her and Detective Bartell are fanning into something with lots of promise. I really enjoy the dynamics between Tiffany and Hilary – and Tiffany and Bartell. Both of them complement Tiffany’s personality in different ways and add several smiles to the reading of this book in their interactions.

Bottom Line: What do you get when you combine real estate agents, truck drivers, beauty queens, food critics, professional chefs, investigative reporters, interior designers, college professors, restaurant owners, a pizza contest, a murder investigation and a small town in Georgia? A delightfully entertaining read, for starters! As with its predecessor, I enjoyed A Crust to Die For in large part due to the strong protagonist, her fun commentary via the first person narrative, and her relationships with BFF Hilary and swoony Detective Bartell. Tiffany is such a great cozy mystery heroine – she’s smart, talented, savvy, witty, friendly, and good at making connections that others might not. The mystery she finds herself investigating in this book has several layers of deception and secrets, making it just as delicious to solve as the pizza contest Tiffany is spearheading. I enjoyed T.C. LoTempio’s writing voice once more and look forward to more on-the-page visits to Branson, Georgia. Another fun read in this series!

(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: 4 stars / loved it!

Reviewer’s Note: Readers of this blog may want to be aware that there is some mild – and scattered – cursing in this novel.

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T.C. LoTempio

T. C. LoTempio is the award-winning, national bestselling author of the Nick and Nora mystery series. Her cat, Rocco, provides the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat. She also writes the Urban Tails Pet Shop Mystery Series, as well as the Cat Rescue series. Her latest series is the Tiffany Austin Food Blogger series from Severn House. Check out her and Rocco’s blog,, and visit her website,, for more information.

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6 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): A Crust to Die For by T.C. LoTempio

  1. Donna

    I love seeing great friendships in cozy mysteries, so this sounds like a series to add to my list! Thanks for the helpful review!

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