Southern Sass and Killer Cravings
Marygene Brown Mystery #1
By Kate Young
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .
For generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.
But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . . (Goodreads)
Southern Sass and Killer Cravings is a great first book in its series. Author Young does a good job of balancing the Georgia island setting with an unpredictable touch of paranormal.
Marygene left her family and her family business to experience the big city. Unfortunately, that experience included an older, abusive husband. Escaping the violence, she has the courage to file for divorce and move home to help her sister Jena Lynn and half-brother Sam run the family diner. They all have baggage and relationship issues, but they come together, with some assistance from Marygene’s mother’s ghost and her sheriff biological father, when a customer dies to solve a murder and save the diner and their reputation.
I really enjoyed getting to know Marygene, her family, and her neighbors. The characters show a lot of growth throughout the book, and I look forward to seeing them continue to blossom as the series progresses. Marygene, as a domestic violence survivor, is a rare protagonist, and it gives her some gravitas while staying quirky and Southern. I like that Sheriff Eddie is not a bumbling policeman and that he and Marygene work together. I particularly enjoyed Marygene’s mother; instead of being a silly, cartoonish ghost, she brings an interesting perspective and abilities that really help in the crime solving.
The book is well paced, and the writing has a good conversational flow. The mystery itself is complicated enough to keep readers’ interest. I did pin the bad guy relatively early on, but this did not decrease my enjoyment. The island setting and Southern culture make a nice backdrop for the story, and I really want to eat at the diner. I look forward to more adventures with Marygene.