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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Penne Dreadful (Italian Chef Mysteries #1) by Catherine Bruns

Penne Dreadful

Paperback, 416 pages
Expected publication: July 30th 2019 by Poisoned Pen Press

Goodreads synopsis:
Tomato sauce isn't the only thing that runs red...

Local chef Tessa Esposito is struggling to get back on her feet following her husband's fatal accident. And when the police knock on Tessa's door, things just get worse. They've discovered Dylan's death wasn't an accident after all, and they need Tessa to start filling in the blanks. Who would want her beloved husband dead, and why?

With the investigation running cold, Tessa decides it's time to save her sanity by reconnecting with her first love-cooking. And maybe the best way back into the kitchen is to infiltrate Dylan's favorite local pizza parlor, which also happens to be the last place he was seen before he died. But the anchovies aren't the only thing that stink inside the small family business, and with suspects around every corner, Tessa finds that her husband's many secrets might land her in hot water.


4.5 Stars

This is the first book in the Italian Chef Mysteries series by Catherine Bruns. She also has a popular series called the Cookies & Chance Mysteries.

Tessa Esposito is still in a daze after her husband of six years dies in a car accident. Then her cousin, Gino tells her that it might not have been an accident at all. It was murder. So Tessa goes into sleuth-mode searching out the killer. 

I thought this was a great book. I only wish there had been more scenes with her hubby’s best friend, Justin, the fire fighter. He really needed a bigger part to play in this, in my opinion. I know she was still reeling from her husband’s death. I found it odd that not one but two different guys who weren’t her husband were also so in love with her they longed after her. Matt the shady mechanic was married but still didn’t want any other man with Tessa and Justin had pined for her since the day he met her.

Tessa applies for a job at Slice, pretty much an order to-go family owned pizza joint. But there was so much more going on behind the scenes. Here is where she meets Anthony and Vince. Vince dislikes her from the start and Anthony, who thought of her hubby like a son only wanted access to Tessa’s award-winning tomato sauce recipe to use for his own pocketbook.

I am kind of sad that Tessa’s husband wasn’t the great and upstanding guy she thought he was. And here is this guy Justin behind the scenes who is everything she deserves. The husband, Dylan does get redeemed a bit in the end but still I feel for her circumstances.

The mystery was great and some of the characters really had me fooled. I look forward to knowing more about Vince in future books and maybe seeing a Vince/Tessa/Justin triangle forming. Maybe even a Vince/Tessa restaurant partnership. Good beginning to a series of fun mysteries. I am excited.

Great read. Check it out.

Highly recommended.

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