Today, I'm bringing you two books by the same author! Fun, right? I happened upon them for the Kindle, and enjoyed the first one so much that I went back and got the second.
RETIREMENT CAN BE MURDER
By Phil Edwards
Jake Russo is a reporter for a New York paper who was reassigned to Florida, to write about retirement communities for said paper. When he lived in New York, Jake was a fat guy; his editor refused to believe that Jake had taken up running and lost substantial weight after moving to Florida. (I don't really think this is relevant to the book, it's just a nice detail that helps us to like Jake more, I guess.) So, when reporting about an event at one retirement community, an old lady told him that she knew a secret about the owner of this community that he wanted no one to know, that pertained to planned development in the area. Jake agreed to come meet with her in her apartment the next day, along with his 80 year old photographer, Gary; she was dead when he got there. Another murder followed, along with an attempt on Jake's life. Oh, and Jake became romantically involved with the pretty, young event planner at said community (an unbelievable occurrence, according to his editor). This was a fast-paced and entertaining mystery, not too deep, but with enough plot twists to keep the reader interested. 4/5
DEATH BY GUMBO
By Phil Edwards
Jake and Gary have been transferred to New Orleans to cover the restaurant scene for their New York paper, leaving Jake's girlfriend and Gary's wife behind in Florida. The book opens as Jake and Gary are going to a grand opening for a new restaurant in a seedy area, which promises to be unlike any other restaurant around. The decor would support that: one wall is painted with a Periodic Table of the Elements, and the cuisine is supposed to be "molecular gastronomy," whatever that might be. The opening occurs, but later that night, the owner, who is highly allergic to seafood, is murdered. Police declared it an accidental death, because he ate gumbo, but the owner's girlfriend convinced Jake and Gary otherwise. This book is a fun romp in New Orleans, with Jake and Gary investigating the owners of competing restaurants. It also plays up Gary a little more than the first book. For instance, Gary is a great mangler of truisms, such as, "That is the proof of pudding." Gary also has started a food blog - which became a real sensation on the web. In the end, of course, Jake and Gary solve the mystery, but Jake has developed a problem with his grilfriend. Gary urged him to return to Sarasota and fix it, saying, "Love is a river and you can't step in it twice." Again, it's not Agatha Christie, but it is fun. 4/5