Good Day! Catherine Bruns lives in upstate New York with her husband, three sons and several cats & dogs. She holds a B.A. in English and Performing Arts. Catherine is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. When she is not writing, Catherine likes to travel, shop and read. She is the author of The Carrie Jorgensen Mystery series, The Cindy York Mystery series, and The Cookies & Chance Mystery series. You can find out more information about the author and her books on her website. Readers can connect with Ms. Bruns on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can sign up for her newsletter here.
Penne Dreadful by Catherine Bruns takes us to Harvest Park, New York in November. Tessa Esposito lost her husband, Dylan five weeks ago in a car accident. She is knocked for a loop when the police tell her that after an investigation, they believe someone tampered with his car. Tessa has no idea who would wish to harm Dylan. The investigation has stalled which frustrates Tessa who wants answers. Dylan was an accountant who did the books for the local pizza parlor, Slice and it was one of the last places Dylan was seen before his death. Slice needs a cook and, with Tessa being an Italian chef, she applies hoping she can get helpful information while working there. After Tessa starts working, she begins asking questions and does a little snooping when no one is around. She believes pizza is not the only item Slice is serving to its customers. Someone is unhappy with Tessa’s sleuthing and sends her a note warning her off. Tessa cannot be dissuaded from dishing up answers and serving up justice for her husband.
Penne Dreadful is the first book in An Italian Chef Mystery series. Tessa Esposito is from a large Italian family and she is known for cooking up a delectable tomato sauce. She lost her beloved husband, Dylan five weeks ago and she has been holed up in her home ever since. When her cousin and police officer, Gino Mancusi tells that Dylan’s car had been tampered with, Tessa is determined to find out who committed the crime. As Tessa searches for the guilty party, we are introduced to a variety of characters (townspeople, Dylan’s co-workers, Tessa’s friends and family). I liked Gino, Gabby, Vince, and Justin. They enhance the story especially Gabby. Tessa also owns a tuxedo cat named Luigi. Tessa was a hard person for me to like from the way she acted in Penne Dreadful. She is determined to get answers no matter what the cost. We follow her as she makes enquiries and “sneaks” around looking for clues. Tessa is blunt when she asks questions and her snooping is not sneaky. Tessa frequently gets herself into sticky situations and takes unnecessary risks. I did not know if she had a death wish or was oblivious to the danger. I did not find some of the situations to be unbelievable, but, of course, this is fiction. I hope Tessa improves her questioning technique in future books along with her stealth. The mystery was multifaceted with red herrings, multiple suspects and a twist. Those who are not avid cozy mystery readers will be surprised by the guilty person’s identity. I thought Penne Dreadful was a slow starter, but the action does pick up in the second half of the book. There were repetitive details that could have been eliminated along with the foul language. I was surprised there was a love interest for Tessa so soon. I hope that the author will let the relationship progress at a relaxed pace. I enjoyed the descriptions of Tessa’s Italian dishes and there are recipes at the end of the book. Penne Dreadful has pizza pies, family meals, unexpected revelations, simmering sauce, suspicious suspects, and one determined widow.
Penne Dreadful is available at Amazon (and other major retailers). To see if Penne Dreadful is the right fit for you, I suggest you download a sample to your e-reader. Thank you for stopping by today. I am featuring The Time for Murder is Meow by T.C. LoTempio on August 9 as part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book tour. I hope you will find the time to visit. I am taking my mother to the doctor today. Wish me luck in getting her there on time (she is always late). May you have a cheerful day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader