Dark Chocolate Demise
Cupcake Bakery Mystery #7
By Jenn McKinlay
Author’s Website: www.jennmckinlay.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
Scottsdale, Arizona, may not be the liveliest place on earth, but it’s never been as dead as this. Hundreds of fans have gathered together for the first annual Old Town Zombie Walk, and Mel, Angie, and the Fairy Tale Cupcake crew are donning their best undead attire to sell some horror-themed desserts to the hungry hordes.
But the fun turns to fright when Mel finds a real dead body in a prop casket outside of the bakery’s truck—and the corpse looks alarmingly like a zombie of their own. Knowing that Joe, Angie’s brother and Mel’s former flame, has been working on a dangerous mob case, Mel worries that the murder is a hit gone wrong and that someone near and dear was the real target. To keep any of her friends from winding up six feet under, Mel will do whatever it takes to find a killer—no matter how scary things get… (From Goodreads)
Oh mercy, I’m in love again. With…the Dark Chocolate Demise cupcake, star offering of Fairy Tale Cupcakes, owned and run by Melanie, and her best friends Angie and Tate at the first annual Old Town Zombie Walk in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona. If I had heard about the Zombie walk sooner, I might have paid a little more attention when my husband had the Walking Dead programs on so I could learn the vernacular. Whether or not one is a fan of zombies and the undead, Jenn McKinlay’s newest Cupcake Bakery Mystery is not to be missed. And if you like to bake, the cupcake recipes aren’t to be missed, either!
Melanie Cooper, Angie DeLaura, and Tate Harper have successfully run the uniquely flavorful bakery long enough for Tate to research and begin planning the first Cupcake franchise store. While Tate has been researching, Mel and Angie and their crew have been baking like madmen (and women). They will take their salesroom on wheels to the beautiful Civic Center Park to sell as many Dark Chocolate Demise and other flavored, zombie-decorated cupcakes to the gathering mass of zombies and undead. Tate and Angie, who are engaged, attend in a tux and gorgeous bridal gown (respectively!) that has to be seen to be believed.
The event has barely begun when Angie’s old flame breaks into singing “Angie”. ‘Roach’ is now a hit singer/songwriter who wrote “Angie”, the song about their breakup that zipped him to the top of the charts. They see each other across the park, and Mel wonders if Angie is having second thoughts. Mel returns to their cupcake showroom on wheels to find, in an empty casket on display as part of their zombie and Dark Chocolate Demise cupcake theme, a body. One that is dressed like one of their own crew. Dead. Enter the DeLaura brothers to oversee and protect Mel and Angie, as directed by Joe, the high-powered attorney brother who is prosecuting an even higher-powered and well-connected mob man. Joe, the one who Mel has been in love with since adolescence. Also enters Manny, an excellent detective to be one of those protecting Mel. Manny, who has a serious crush on Mel.
Jenn McKinlay has a way with descriptives that plunges one into the minds and emotions of Mel and her friends. Those descriptives – of their appearance, behaviors, and feelings – make the characters as memorable and (mostly) loveable as those in your own family. They are fun-loving, hard-working, creative people who are dedicated to their loved ones first, then their careers. I really enjoy both Mel and Angie. Mel’s beautiful cat, Captain Jack, kind of has me leaning more towards Melanie in terms of who I like the most; cat lovers have to stick together! I envy her skills to develop, bake and decorate such awesome treats.
Another thing I like is how the author tugs the reader into this mystery; it is so fast-paced that you are reading the last page before you realize it. Dark Chocolate Demise is at once fun and a nail-biter. It is authentic – I can picture the park, some of the streets of Old Town Scottsdale, and I enjoy seeing the names of streets that I frequently use. I love how Mel and her friends work together so well, and the insight that each member of the staff brings to their friendship. And how both of the ladies are ready to step in and do what is necessary to find the murderer, even when it means dodging bullets – literally – or stumbling about in shoes with heels so high that even walking is at their own risk. The plot is fraught with tense surprises and twists that build the suspense exponentially. Betrayals and lies are discovered that could end the Bakery – if not some of the key members. The murderer is not who I expected it to be! This mystery had sufficient clues but was still not easily solved, which is another fine trait.
One does not have to read earlier books in the series to join the Cupcake crew, as it is written so well that one gets to know the characters easily. This is the first time I have read a novel in this series, but have read books in Jenn McKinlay’s other series, and now have some of the earlier Cupcake Bakery novels in my teetering TBR stacks. That’s how good this one is! I highly recommend this to fans of fun, modern cozies that keep the readers on their toes! I also recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Jenn McKinlay’s other series, or is a “foodie” or chocoholic – there is something for almost every cozy lover!