Book Review: “Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke

Warning: This book review contains spoilers for “Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke.

Cover of “Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder” by Joanne Fluke! I’ve read the prequel before, as well as another book further along in the series, but I’ve never laid hands on the very first book written in the series until now. I’m glad to have the opportunity to finally read it!

Here’s the summary, so we know what it’s about:

“Hannah Swensen already has her hands full, between dodging her mother’s attempts to marry her off, and running Lake Eden, Minnesota’s most popular bakery, The Cookie Jar. But when the Cozy Cow Dairy’s beloved deliveryman is found murdered behind Hannah’s bakery with her famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, Hannah sets out to track down a killer. The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up. This is one murder that’s starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah’s mouth, and if she doesn’t watch her back, her sweet life may get burned to a crisp.”

Character Development: 3 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed reading Hannah for the most part, though I pitied her because her mother, Dolores, wouldn’t stop pestering her to go get a man when Hannah made it perfectly clear that she was happy being single. However, I disliked the part of Hannah’s development when she ended up getting two potential dates, as her development turned to her being in a love triangle by the end of the book. I thought it was too sudden a turn in development, and I wish the author let Hannah stick to her guns and stay single, rather than force her into seeking a partner partially because of her mother’s bet with her close to the end of the book.

As for the other characters, I enjoyed reading and learning about their various connections to each other, and how all of that played into the mystery. Other than that, however, none of them had much development in their own growth. The love interests for Hannah don’t get much development either, which doesn’t help the eventual romance triangle that forms by the end of the book.

Romance Development: 1 out of 5 stars

There was virtually little to no chemistry between Hannah and both of her potential love interests in this book. I don’t understand why the book decided to try to pair Hannah with two men that she didn’t have much interest in, initially, even if both of them did express interest in her in the end. When she accepted their offers on going out with them, I felt like she did it solely to win her bet against her mother Dolores, who initially egged her to go get a man as is from the beginning of the book, instead of her actually being interested in both men. I wish the romance plotline had either been better developed to show that she had genuine interest in the men, or was just dropped entirely.

Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed the actual mystery portion of the plot, as I enjoyed the reveal of who the actual murderer was and why they did it. However, I did not enjoy the love triangle aspect of the plot that formed by the end of the book. I elaborated enough on this in the romance development section, but this book could easily be more enjoyable if the romance was left out entirely. I would even add an extra half-star for plot development if the romance was left out. Other than the love triangle, my only other qualm with the plot in this book was that it was a little too slow-paced in the middle, with a slightly rushed ending.

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

Enjoy this book for the mystery and the recipes, and not so much the love triangle and Dolores pushing her daughter to stop being a single woman.

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