Friday, June 17, 2016

Eclair and Present Danger

Can you believe it is Friday already?  Time went by so slowly when I was a kid, but it seems so fast now that I am older!  Have you noticed that?  I had a pretty average day (doing errands and household chores).  The most exciting thing to happen to me today is Doozy waking me up at 4:30 a.m. because he wanted a treat!  He then proceeded to do tricks to earn one.  What can you do except laugh!

Éclair and Present Danger by Laura Bradford is the first Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery.  Winnie Johnson is thirty-four years old and has inherited a vintage (1960) ambulance along with Lovey (the cat) from Gertie Redenbacher.  Winnie was hoping to inherit some money that would help her keep her bakery, Delectable Delights, open.  Her landlord has decided that Silver Lake is the next big thing and has raised the rents on all his properties.  Luckily, Winnie comes up with the idea to use the ambulance to deliver desserts and call it Emergency Dessert Squad (clever idea).  Renee Ballentine (her friend and employee) will be the “dispatcher” for the business.  Winnie will make and deliver her delicious treats (with a rescue theme).  Winnie and Renee work to outfit the ambulance and come up with unique desserts that work with the new theme.  If her venture does not succeed, Winnie can always sell the ambulance to Greg Stevens (who they dubbed Master Sergeant Hottie) the new EMT in town.   Business is slow at first but then it starts to take off.  Winnie goes over to Bart Wagner’s house to deliver his peach pie (Winnie promised his wife, Edith—before she passed away—to continue to make Bart’s favorite pie every week).  When Bart does not answer, Winnie goes inside and finds Bart deceased.  Winnie lives on Serenity Lane which houses many senior citizens and Winnie loves it.  She has found a family in the wonderful people on this street.  Poor Bart was murdered.  Winnie is determined to find out who hurt her friend. Winnie will be busy with her new business, investigating the murder, and a new love interest.  You will just have to read Éclair and Present Danger to find out what happens!

The premise for Éclair and Present Danger is cute, but the novel does not live up to the title (or synopsis).  The dialogue is awkward and the focus of the book was not on the mystery.  I found the majority of the novel dedicated to Winnie’s new romance, her elderly neighbors, starting up her new business venture, and that awful cat, Lovey.  The mystery definitely took a backseat.  I found the pace to be slow.  I liked Winnie’s bakery concept, but it seemed unbelievable that she could have her new business up and running within a few days.  I know it is fiction, but there has to be some reality (like health inspections, permits, business plan). You cannot run a business (especially a food related business) without a health inspector and a business license (even in a fictional town) especially with Winnie baking the desserts in her apartment (and she has a cat in the kitchen which is not allowed).  I got tired of the neighbor Mr. Parker and his hearing aids quickly (he turns them off and misunderstands what people are saying to him).  Once or twice is funny.  After that it is plain annoying.  The same with the cat, Lovey (who dislikes Winnie).  It seems to “escape” frequently and does not like Winnie (which was mentioned way too many times).  I had a hard time liking Winnie.  She would get distracted by a cute guy or thinking about a guy, and then say “focus focus” (yes, this happened multiple times).   I thought that the mystery was a cinch to solve (more time is devoted to the dessert descriptions than the mystery).  I give Éclair and Present Danger 3 out of 5 stars.  I just expected more from Laura Bradford. Will I try the next book in the series?  Yes.   I will check it out to see if there is improvement.

You can follow Laura Bradford on Facebook and on Amazon. If you get an opportunity, check out Ms. Bradford's An Amish Mystery series and her Southern Sewing Circle Mystery series (I just love this series). I received a complimentary copy of Éclair and Present Danger from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.

I want to thank all of you for your support by visiting my blog.  I really appreciate it.  I am currently reading Sunshine Beach by Wendy Wax.  I am off to enjoy dinner and relax (I am watching Gilmore Girls).  I hope all of you have a delightful evening! Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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