Title: Behind Chocolate Bars Author: Kathy Aarons Expected Publication: October 4th 2016 by Berkley Format: ebook; Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages Genre: Cozy Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this
book. Series: Chocolate Covered Mystery #3
Good thing that sob/tear/cry were not drinking words or I would not have made it through this book. I do not recall the last time that certain words popped out so obviously in a book, but after a while, they became quite annoying.
Best friends Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell run their respective businesses Chocolates and Chapters out of the same storefront in the sleepy little town of West Riverdale. While preparing for the annual Halloween fair, the body of a woman is discovered in an unfinished housing development, nicknamed Cuesta Verde aft the Poltergeist movies and it appears that Dylan Fenton, their new teenage intern and his friends from Erica’s comic book club, know more than they are willing to tell. Faith Monette, or whatever name she is currently going by, has left a trail of unhappy men and with Dylan’s arrest for her death, Michelle and Erica jump right into the fray to save their new friend.
After their last mystery solving adventure, Michelle and Erica wanted no part in this investigation that is until Reese Everhard, the annoying local newspaper blogger invents some lurid headings, and they feel that it is their duty to clear this young man’s name.
Surprisingly, Kathy Aarons introduces a subject matter that is not often discussed in the cozy mystery arena. Michelle’s brother Leo continues to suffer the effects of his time in Afghanistan and with his recent motorcycle accident and Michelle’s life in danger, he spirals down into a PTSD depression that he might not get out of. This brother and sister team is all that they have left of their family and with their love for each other, they will make it through as long as this cannot compare to the worst day of their lives.
There are additional marginal stories going on in this book and most of them have no true relevance. The reader is constantly jumping for one antic to the next and then brought back to the chocolate shop and the truffles that Michelle are either selling or inventing. Maybe it was me, but the book was too busy, half of the layers that Kathy Aarons tried to add could have easily been removed and the story would have had a more consistent flow.