Monday, February 1, 2016

Murder on Wheels (A Tourist Trap Mystery #6)

Author:  Lynn Cahoon
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; E-book; Audiobook
ISBN #:  9781601834201
Lyrical Underground Publishing
198 Pages
$15.00; $4.61; $24.99
February 2, 2016
Five Stars

The food truck craze has reached the charming coastal town of South Cove, California, but before Jill Gardner - owner of Coffee, Books and More - can sample the eats, she has to shift gears and put the brakes on a killer.  Now that Kacey Austin has got her new gluten-free dessert truck up and running, there's no curbing her enthusiasm - not even when someone vandalizes the vehicle and steals her recipes.  But when Kacey turns up dead on the beach and Jill's friend, Sadie, becomes the prime suspect, Jill needs to step on it to serve the real killer some just desserts.     


Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, is trying something new:  geocaching - thanks to her best friend Amy's boyfriend, Jason, who thinks this is a great new hobby.  Unfortunately, neither Jill nor her boyfriend, Greg, have the same thoughts, but unwilling to hurt Amy's feelings, they say nothing and go along with it.  But something is rotten in South Cove:  while out treasure hunting, Jill meets the president of the local geocaching club, Kacey Austin, and after talking with her, she decides she likes her, but soon has a  slight problem...she discovers that Kacey is the wife of the local bike shop owner, Dustin Austin.  The same Dustin who broke her friend Sadie's heart when he went back to his wife - and took Sadie's best recipes with him.  Everyone in town is under the impression that Dustin only dated Sadie to get the recipes (and they could be right).  And now Kacey tells Jill that she is opening a new food truck (the same food truck that Jill tried to buy earlier) filled with gluten-free desserts - Sadie's desserts, modified to be gluten free.

But before the food truck can get up and running, Kacey is found dead on the beach, and Sadie is the prime suspect.  Jill knows her friend didn't commit murder (even if she thought about it) and Jill is determined to figure out who killed Kacey (though she's warned off the case by her police detective boyfriend).  So she decides to do a bit of sleuthing herself while trying to stay under the radar in doing so.  But oh, if this were her only problem...

The mayor has decided because of the California drought that a committee needs to be formed to decide what to do in order for the city to save water.  The committee is comprised of Jill's Aunt Jackie, Amy, Jackie's beau Josh Thomas, and Harrold Snider, owner of The Train Station.  But when Amy asks Jill to spy on a neighbor to see if she's been watering her grass, Jill rebels and tells Amy no, which prompts Amy to stop speaking to or have anything to do with Jill.  This naturally hurts Jill, but she's knee-deep in trying to find a killer, so knows any repairing of their relationship will have to wait, and both Jackie and Toby are encountering problems in their own relationships to boot.

So when Jill starts getting closer to what might actually be the truth, the killer also realizes it, and it's only a matter of time before Jill's sleuthing could make her the next victim...

Jill and Greg are moving forward in their relationship, but not being thrown forward, if you get my drift.  I'm quite comfortable with the way they're progressing.  And in this book we also get to see a little bit of how people are looking at Jill - that although she's the owner of the shop, she's just the money behind it (read the book and you'll understand that statement).  I enjoy the fact that in each book the characters (other than Jill and Greg, of course) are given equal "face time;" there is always a side plot or two that involves someone in the town and gives us a little more insight into that person.  It makes for delightful reading, indeed.

Ms. Cahoon is one of a handful of authors who manages to keep a series feeling both interesting and new, without resorting to trite plot lines in order to do so.  Each book is a true delight to read, and as always, she again has given us a lively mystery that keeps us interested from beginning to end.  Although I'm not interested in geocaching - where you take an object and hide it, coordinated to a GPS in order to locate it - she doesn't overwhelm the book with it; in other words, doesn't bombard us with so much information regarding it that you get bored reading about it.  It is part of the plot, but it is not the main plot, which is the murder, and well it should be.

When the ending comes and we find out who the murderer is (and to be honest, I had enough clues along the way that I knew the who but not the why), it makes perfect sense and even if you do figure it out early, as I did, it doesn't make any difference, because these mysteries are well written and entertaining.  Highly recommended.

More on Lynn Cahoon's books:


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