Best friends Jacobia (Jake) and Ellie have been through a lot together, from fixing up Jake's old house to homicide investigation. Now it's time to move on, and with Ellie's old family recipes their new bakery, The Chocolate Moose, should be a hit with visitors and locals alike there in Eastport, Maine. There's only one--large-- fly in the ointment: Matt Muldoon, a local bent on closing the bakery down. When he's found dead in the bakery kitchen, Ellie is first and foremost on the police department's suspect list. With no alibi for the night of the murder, Ellie is in serious trouble, and it's up to Jake to find the real killer.
I have an embarrassing confession to make. I began reading Sarah Graves' Home Repair is Homicide cozy series, enjoyed it a lot, but didn't keep up with the books. Shame on me, but I am trying to make amends by starting afresh with her Death by Chocolate series. I don't know if you all are aware of it, but there's a group of very talented mystery writers in Maine, and Sarah Graves is one of them. Her series is set in Eastport, Maine, which is a real place on an island within spitting distance of Canada. There is a vibrant sense of place in Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake that adds a great deal to the book. (And should I mention that I love the name of the bakery?)
After sixteen books in her previous series, it was obvious that Jake really needed to call a ceasefire on the repairs to her house. After all, they'd taken almost twenty years. (Well, in publishing time, anyway!) But the characters weren't ready to retire just yet, and I'm glad because the characters were the best part of the other series. Jake and Ellie are two strong, intelligent women, Jake has a wonderful relationship with her husband, and Jake's son is a loving, caring young man, but he's not the generic Stepford Kid you usually run into when reading a cozy.
There's a good, solid mystery to be found in Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake, and it's a fast-paced, almost exhausting book. Why exhausting? Because Jake and Ellie keep getting more and more demands for those cheesecakes, that's why! And... although the dessert was mouthwatering when the book began, I found myself to be a bit sick of them after witnessing so many being made. However, I know I will recover in plenty of time for the next book in the series.
Good mystery, good setting, good characters. Here's a new series to enjoy from the very first book!
Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake by Sarah Graves
Kensington Books © 2018
eBook, 240 pages
Cozy Mystery, #1 Death by Chocolate mystery
Source: Net Galley