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Final Sentence: 10/17/22
Final Sentence by Daryl Wood Gerber is the start of the Cookbook Nook mystery series. Jenna Hart has left a high stress job in San Francisco to move south to Crystal Cove where she will help her aunt run a culinary bookshop and café. The celebrity chef (and long time frenemy) invited for the grand opening is murdered, her body left on the beach as part of a mermaid sand sculpture.
Crystal Cove is the second fictionalized Santa Cruz I've read featured in a mystery series. The other one is Santa Sofia, featured in the Bread Shop mystery series by Winnie Archer. Despite the similar location, this novel reminds me most of the Fixer-Upper mysteries by Kate Carlisle.
Jenna has come to Crystal Cove as a recent widow. In this regard she's like Anna Pigeon (written by Nevada Barr) or Merry Wynter (written by Victoria Hamilton). The question for me, is how well will she move on? Will she continue to mourn for volumes and volumes like Anna or will she continue to live her life like Merry?
Like many first volumes this one suffers from trying to do too much at one time. There's setting up the characters, the main character's new life and business, introducing the new town, creating an ensemble cast, and finally setting the basic tone of the series. Final Sentence didn't gel for me as well as it could have. The pacing seemed off and Jenna doesn't seem well suited for her new life running a cookbook shop.
The second volume is Inherit the Wind. I have it on hand and will be reading it. Then I'll decide if I want to continue with the series. There are eleven books in total, so far.