A Key West Food Critic Mystery, Book #7
By Lucy Burdette
Author’s website: www.lucyburdette.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
It’s Fantasy Fest at Key West, and food critic Hayley Snow is ready to celebrate. But a killer seems intent on crashing the party. . .
Every year, Key West’s weeklong Mardi Gras–style festival has tourists and locals alike lining up for costumed revelry and delicious eats. Key Zest magazine has assigned Hayley to write a piece on the fest’s grab-and-go food, so she’s planning on hitting up the mobile eateries while checking out the party preparations.
Hayley’s office mate, Danielle, recently elected Queen of Fantasy Fest, is also buzzing between festivities and fundraisers. But when a former royal rival gets taken out, Hayley needs to put down her party hat and her pen and figure out who served up a side of murder—before Danielle gets crowned a killer. . .
As usual, magazine food critic Haley Snow has a lot on her plate. Aside from her article about grab and go food on the island, she is assigned to cover Fantasy Fest , her mother is coming to town to wed on the beach, a hurricane is headed toward Key West, her boyfriend is physically and emotionally distant, and her coworker Danielle becomes a prime suspect in a murder case. Danielle, who has recently been crowned the Queen of Fantasy Fest, gets into a very public altercation with one of the other members of the royal court Caryn. The next day Caryn dies after she collapses during the zombie bike ride. Haley feels compelled to help clear her friend’s name and sets out to find all that she can about Caryn. Hopefully, she can find the answers before it’s too late.
Killer Takeout is the seventh installment in the Key West Food Critic Mystery series, and it reads as fresh as the first book. Ms. Burdette excels in creating atmosphere. I felt the heat and humidity of Key West, the frenetic energy of the weeklong Mardi Gras like Fantasy Fest, and the threat of severe weather. She really makes Key West come alive and leap from the pages. I feel as though I was there among the revelry and can taste the glorious food Haley describes.
At this point the characters are well developed, but I appreciate that Haley continues to mature and come into her own. She is independent and logical in her actions (most of the time) and quite likable. I wish she would get over her relationship insecurities, and hopefully good things are ahead for her in the future. Perhaps even more than Haley, I like the supporting characters. Her roommate Miss Gloria and her best friend Eric are particularly enjoyable, as is her new step-father Sam. Of course, with the good comes the bad, and I found Haley’s boss Palamina to be unpleasant. The way Danielle handles the stress of Caryn’s death and subsequent suspicion of murder is tedious. Perhaps I should chalk it up to her youth. Finally, as is often the case with the victim, Caryn is just awful.
I hate to admit it, but the mystery here leaves me wanting more. Caryn’s background is poorly developed. Medical issues come to light but are then dismissed, but they could have really led to something interesting. The eventual cause of death and motive are a little disappointing. But, do not let this deter you from reading. The characters and setting make up for what is lacking.
Killer Takeout is an amusing trip to the Keys. I recommend it to fans of the series and those who like an island locale and food theme. Now, I must be off to make the strawberry cake recipe that is included.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*