Book Review: “Caramel Pecan Roll Murder” by Joanne Fluke

 

Cover of "Caramel Pecan Roll Murder" by Joanne Fluke
Cover of “Caramel Pecan Roll Murder” by Joanne Fluke

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’ll be reviewing “Caramel Pecan Roll Murder” by Joanne Fluke! I’ve read many of her books admittedly out of order, but it’s fair to say that I have a love-hate relationship with this series. At this time of writing, however, “Caramel Pecan Roll Murder” is one of Fluke’s latest books in the series released so far. Here’s a quick summary so we know what it’s about:

“Embracing a sweet escape from her usual routine at The Cookie Jar, Hannah gets asked for her help in baking pastries at the local inn for a flashy fishing competition with big prizes and even bigger names. But the fun stops when she spots a runway boat on the water and, on board, the lifeless body of the event’s renowned celebrity spokesperson…

Famed TV show host Sonny Bowman wasn’t humble about his ability to reel in winning catches, and no one knew that better than his tragically overworked sidekick, Joey. Did Joey finally take bloody revenge on his pompous boss–or was Sonny killed by a jealous contestant?

With goodies to bake and a mess of fresh challenges mixed into her personal life, it’s either sink or swim as Hannah joins forces with her sister, Andrea, to catch a clever culprit before another unsuspecting victim goes belly up…”

Plot Development: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I thought that the main story was okay to read, but some of the sideplot-related material, including learning more about Sonny’s fiance’s backstory, was a bit much to get through. It did add to the main plot, but it was also mildly confusing when it tried executing the plot twist/reveal of who the murderer was. I thought that the pacing of the reveal could be handled better.

I also think it did not help that much of the backstory was revealed in monologuing exposition by the true murderer. This slowed down the tension in what should have been a few life-and-death scenarios, especially during the final confrontation between Hannah and the murderer. I also wish that there was some way that Hannah can stop needing to be rescued by someone else. Considering that her life is threatened in most books, one would hope, by this point in the series, that she learned some basic self-defense or figured out creative maneuveurs to get out of nearly being killed herself.

Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars

Hannah actually got some development for once in this series. I’m glad the author took the time to draw out the consequences of Hannah’s fake marriage with Ross (and his murder) in this book, rather than dropping the plotline like a hot potato as if it never happened. I liked how the murder case featured in this story was similar to Hannah’s past situation with Ross, and how it affected her personally while she investigated the case. It forced her to confront her own feelings and also empathize a bit witht he murderer in the attempt to talk them out of, er, murdering more people.

Interestingly, the book ends with Mike planning to quit being sheriff for good. It’s not fully elaborated as of why at this time in the series, but I presume this is a subplot that will be discussed in the next book. Part of me doubts that he’ll actually quit for sure, but we’ll see how this goes in the next book.

Overall, I’m rating this book 2.5 out of 5 stars!

The plot is engaging enough but can be a bit confusing with the plot twist/reveal, and Hannah does at least get some development. However, I do wish that there could be more development of the minor characters featured in each book, and more development could be given to pacing of the main story.


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