★★★★ Murder on the Menu by Jerri Lee George is the first book in the Candace Kane Chronicles, whose eponymous hero is a hotshot caterer just getting her business off the ground in Denver, Colorado. One day while on the job, Candace receives a troubling phone call from her uncle—who raised her after Candace’s parents died in a car accident when she was young—that sends her speeding over to his ranch house in New Mexico. After succumbing to an unexpected attack, Uncle Dan seems to have slipped into a coma, meaning his attacker can’t be identified unless he wakes up—or unless Candace and her crew can piece the clues together. But when the mysteries of the past start to unravel, Candace learns that the suspect might be someone within her own social circle. Will she end up saving her uncle? Or will Candace herself soon need rescuing?
A foodie’s dream, this fast-paced whodunnit is a feast for the senses. The author’s own experience as a caterer lends overwhelming flavor to her text, creating a realistic backdrop for the action. Candace has a winning personality, her determination shining through not only in her entrepreneurial verve, but in her pursuit of her uncle’s attacker, too. With little information to act on, she is able to really dig into the mystery and drive the truth to light. Her love interest, Anton, is equally appealing, and while the two characters’ chemistry simmers away on low heat for a while, George brings everything to a boil by the book’s end, ensuring that readers will come away fully sated.