Very Mild Violence
Sometimes you need a sweet tooth to take a bite out of crime . . .
Bailey King is living the sweet life as assistant chocolatier at world-famous JP Chocolates in New York City. But just when Bailey’s up for a life-changing promotion, her grandmother calls with news that her grandfather’s heart condition has worsened. Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio, where her grandparents still run Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where she was first introduced to delicious fudge, truffles, and other assorted delights.
She finds her grandfather is doing better than she feared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a local Englisch developer, whom Bailey finds dead in the candy shop kitchen—with Jebediah King’s chocolate knife buried in his chest. Now the police are sweet on her grandfather as the prime suspect. Despite the sincere efforts of a yummy deputy with chocolate-brown eyes, Bailey takes it on herself to clear Jebediah. But as a cunning killer tries to fudge the truth, Bailey may be headed straight into a whole batch of trouble . . .
This was a buddy read with Jackie from “The Bookworm Cafe.” It was my first ever buddy read!
When I went into “Assaulted Caramel” I did not know what I was going into, since it was not my choice of a book. I knew that it was a cozy mystery and that in the past I have enjoyed books with a mystery element, so I had high hopes for the book. As I started to read, I at first thought that I was not going to enjoy the book. This quickly changed though. I remember telling Jackie that I nearly quit reading the book because of the strong religious focus it seemed to have right at the beginning, but as I removed myself from those elements a bit and the book did as well, I really loved it.
There are a lot of quirky and fun characters in this. One of my favorite characters was Juliet and her pig Jethro. Jethro had a personality all his own, but it was the heart that his presence gave to Juliet that I enjoyed the most. His presence made me instantly love Juliet, as a character. The main character is Bailey and she is a great protagonist of this book. She is a bit outside of this world of Amish people and this helped me get into the book, as someone not Amish. It allowed me to feel that I was seeing my own perspective. This helped my immersion into the world that Flower was creating. There are a lot of characters, but there is never a moment where it felt like I had the characters confused because they are spaced out appropriately. Flower also does nicely to make sure that she is not giving the exact same traits or personalities to the introduced characters. They each serve their own purposes, which helps greatly in keeping them straight. For example, the preacher’s wife, Ruth Yoder, was a character that stuck with me. She is barely in the book, but because she was the obvious gossiper and Flower showed that on the page I remember her. I have never felt so immersed in the characters, which is interesting as someone that is usually driven by plot primarily when I read. The characters are what makes this such a great book.
The plot is interesting as well. You have a great mystery of who killed this developer, that everyone in the town knows for his nefarious acts in trying to acquire the various buildings in the Amish community. Then there are also the nice cozy setting aspects, like Bailey having to bake for a wedding! The whole time I was reading I found myself going back and forth saying who I thought it was to Jackie. For one of the first times I did not guess it correctly. This is partially due to a slight flaw though in the writing as it felt like it somewhat came out of left field. This normally would make me feel cheated, but when I started analyzing elements of the story, I realized that there were slight clues in Flower’s words. It bothered me a bit though because it wasn’t presented by the characters, but more from her. I do believe, if I remember correctly, that a character does mention something that may have gotten us to at least consider it could have been who it was, but it felt like a bit of a leap. I do not like when it has to be such a big leap, like it was here. This, however, is not a big flaw with the overall story. There are still so many twists and turns that I did not find myself upset with this. I found it still interesting and the moment when Bailey is face to face with the killer, I found myself truly terrified. I felt scared for Bailey in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time with my reading. To feel actual panic means that Flower had created the tension just right. I was scared for her the entire time!
There is another book in the series that I am planning on reading during August. I think, if it is anything like this, then I will love it just as much. This may be a regular author for me. I cannot sing the praises of this book enough and anyone that loves a cozy mystery will enjoy this. This mixture between the mystery and cozy elements are perfected here by Flower. I do not normally give ratings, but this is 5/5 for me. It was such a fun and enjoyable read.
Amanda Flower has a few other series that are also mystery books, such as the “A Magical Bookshop” mystery series. The first book in that series is “Crime and Poetry” available at major book outlets now!