Tuesday, February 5, 2013

To Brie or Not To Brie by Avery Aames

book cover
To Brie or Not To Brie
by Avery Aames

ISBN-13: 9780425255544
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: February 5, 2013

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Charlotte Bessette, owner of The Cheese Shop, has a lot on her plate: setting a date with her fiancĂ©, feeding the actors in her grandmother’s production of Hamlet, and planning the menu for her best friend and cousin’s upcoming wedding.

Just days before the wedding, the abusive husband of her future sister-in-law turns up dead in the Igloo Ice Cream Parlor's freezer. She has no choice but to add one more thing to her to-do list: find the killer before the villain destroys all that she loves.

My Review:
To Brie or Not To Brie is a cozy mystery. It's the fourth book in a series, and you'll probably enjoy it most if you've read the previous books in the series (which I haven't). We're introduced to 25 characters in the first 28 pages--along with their back story--while several of the women are yelling accusations and cat-fighting with each other.

Since I was new to these characters, it was terribly confusing and hard to keep track of. Since the next scene occurred days later and introduced yet more characters, I set the book down and read two other books before I felt up to trying it again. Even having read the beginning twice, it was difficult for me to keep track of who everyone was because there were so many characters and some of them didn't show up again for chapters. It took about 100 pages before I felt like I was getting a good handle on who was who.

There were many scenes with people yelling, saying mean things to each other, grabbing or nearly hitting each other, and/or smashing things. All of the characters were very opinionated and most seemed to specialize in annoying each other, so it's not surprising that I found about half of them annoying, too. I might have liked those characters better if they were more developed, which I'm assuming would have been another benefit of reading the previous novels.

Charlotte was scatterbrained, passive aggressive, and very imaginative. She invented wildly imaginative scenarios about whodunit rather than logically thinking things out. She stumbled across the answer to whodunit, yet it was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Using logic, I was able to guess whodunit about halfway through (though it wasn't obvious). The clues kept confirming my guess and I turned out to be correct, so I didn't find uncovering "whodunit" very challenging even with the confusing-for-me beginning.

There was some fake bad language (e.g. dang, heck). Charlotte couldn't seem to keep her hands off her fiancé, but there were no graphic sex scenes or encounters. If you're a cheese expert and love all things cheese or if you enjoy watching cat-fight dramas, then you might enjoy this book. But I'd recommend starting with the first book in the series.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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