Cackleberry Club Mystery #9
By Laura Childs
Author’s website: www.laurachilds.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
A murder in the local hospital is raising everyone’s temperature in the latest book in the New York Times bestselling Cackleberry Club series.
Suzanne Dietz, co-owner of the Cackleberry Club Café, is visiting her fiancé, Dr. Sam Hazelet, when a masked gunman bursts into the emergency room. He shoots two people and would probably have done more damage had Suzanne not brained him with a thermos full of chili. Still, the gunman manages to escape.
Now the ladies of the Cackleberry Club are determined to find the killer before he finds them.
It has been several years since author Laura Child graced readers with a new book in the Cackleberry Club mystery series so I was excited to read Egg Shooters and revisit this Midwest egg themed café and its three owners. Unfortunately, it was not worth the wait.
This time around the action starts out big right away when the main protagonist Suzanne gets caught up in a shooting at the hospital when the pharmacy is robbed. She immediately gets involved in the investigation with Toni, one of the other café owners, as her sidekick. Aside from the main mystery, there are other subplots to solve, and, to the book’s credit, they do all come together to form a cohesive story.
I have read, and mostly enjoyed, this series because I am a big fan of Childs’ Tea Shop series. The Cackleberry Club books have always been a bit grittier, yet still cozy, and Egg Shooters begins with murder and injuries that do not appear “off page”. Some readers may find this too jarring. Child also touches on PTSD and other real world problems, but lightly.
Suzanne has always been the main investigator in these tales, and she is mature and obviously intelligent. Here, though, she comes across as arrogant and a bit narcissistic in her disregard for her actions’ effect on others. She makes some poor choices, and, with Toni, does some pretty “too stupid to live” stuff. It is all just too over-the-top. Yes, one scene is almost Lucy and Ethel level shenanigans, but even it left me shaking my head in disbelief.
The characters feel stagnant. Everyone’s situation is the same as it has been throughout much of the series. Toni and Junior are still married but in name only, but they are more annoying than ever. I just do not like Toni. Petra is not featured enough to please me. Poor woman…always relegated to the kitchen behind closed doors away from the action. These characters need some growth.
On a brighter note, I still love the café setting, the small town atmosphere, all the talk of good food, and the recipes included in the back of the book.
Egg Shooters ended up not being my cup of tea, but other fans of the series should read the book to form their own opinions. I hope there is another book coming that remedies my disappointment.