Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Spotlight/Book Giveaway/Guest Post: Death of a Crabby Cook by Penny Pike

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Food Festival Mystery Series
Publisher: Obsidian Mystery
Release Date: August 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads...

First in a new series!

At the San Francisco Seafood Festival, someone is steamed enough to kill a cook....

When restaurant reviewer Darcy Burnett gets served a pink slip from the San Francisco Chronicle, she needs to come up with an alternative recipe for success quickly. Her feisty aunt Abby owns a tricked-out school bus, which she’s converted into a hip and happening food truck, and Darcy comes aboard as a part-timer while she develops a cookbook project based on recipes from food fests in the Bay Area.

But she soon finds someone’s been trafficking in character assassination—literally—when a local chef turns up dead and her aunt is framed for the murder. The restaurant chef was an outspoken enemy of food trucks, and now Darcy wonders if one of the other vendors did him in. With her aunt’s business—and freedom—on the line, it’s up to Darcy to steer the murder investigation in the right direction and put the brakes on an out-of-control killer….


Author Guest Blog

Guest Post
by Penny Warner

I have heartburn.

It’s from all the research I’ve been doing for the first book in my new series, DEATH OF A CRABBY COOK, featuring food trucks and food festivals. But if eating a lot of different foods is the price I must pay to make sure my story is authentic, then so be it. Could be worse. I could be writing a book about insects and have to do research on the larvae cycle of the tse-tse fly. Luckily I chose food.

I had my first food truck experience a couple of years ago before the “meals on wheels” phenomenon swept the country. I was in Napa, CA, doing research for another book (AKA drinking a lot of wine), and spotted a circle of colorful trucks offering intriguing specialties. I decided to try some plein air dining.

Now, I’m not the adventurous type when it comes to trying new foods. When I go out to dinner, I order the same foods at the same restaurants—rigatoni Bolognese at the Italian place, cheese enchilada at the Mexican place, and teriyaki at the Japanese place. So I was a little hesitant to sample the wares from trucks named Kung Fu Tacos, Happy Dumplings, The Boneyard, Fins on the Hoof, Me So Hungry, and Naked Chorizo.

Turned out I liked just about everything!

Now that food trucks have finally come to my hometown, I can please my inner glutton every weekend—and combine it with research for my new series. I head over planning to have just “one bite” of everything, and end up stuffed to the gills.

Here’s my typical game plan: I start my research at Cluck it Up, ordered garlic parmesan wings, and called that the appetizer. Next stop: the Grilled Cheese Bandit, where the sandwiches are named after folk legends like Jesse James and Butch Cassidy. I had the Giuliani (a folk legend?), a grilled mozzarella, parmesan, tomato and pesto sandwich, and called it lunch.

After that it was a blur. A Peruvian pork sandwich from Sanguchon. A burrito cone from Twister. A Coca Cola braised pork sandwich from the Chairman. And I’d only made it half way through the trucks. Luckily I had just enough room for dessert. I managed to down two cream puffs from the Pacific Puffs truck—chocolate and salted caramel—before I spotted the Frozen Kuhsterd truck and had to have the ice-creamy sundae with caramel, chocolate and salted almonds. I knew, with a hospital located right across the street, I could seek medical attention after this food orgy if needed.

These visits to the local food trucks were my inspiration to write a series set among the food truck community. I created Darcy Burnett, a total foodie who loves to eat, but barely knows how to heat a frozen dinner in the microwave. To complicate things, I made her a restaurant reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle, suddenly downsized, and desperately in need of a job. While eating a therapeutic Caramel Espresso Cream Puff whipped up by Jake Miller from the Dream Puff Truck—and recognizing a hot food trend when she sees one—she’s inspired to write a cookbook full of food truck recipes.

Her first source is the upcoming San Francisco Seafood Fest. Darcy plans to use her journalistic skills to gather recipes for everything from Crab Mac and Cheese from her aunt’s Big Yellow School Bus food truck, to Hangtown Oyster Omelets from the Bacon is the New Black truck. Combined with the local food festivals—The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, Gilroy Garlic Festival, Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival—she’s sure the book will be a best-seller, filled with recipes for such tasty treats as “Red Velvet Whoopee Pies,” “Garlic Ice Cream,” Key Lime Cream Puffs,” “Cronut Dossaints” (croissants crossed with donuts) and so on. (Recipes included in the book!)

But her plans are interrupted by a loud commotion in the Ft. Mason food truck area. Chef Oliver Jameson is arguing with a petite woman wielding a large knife. The woman happens to be Darcy’s sixty-something Aunt Abby (Abigail Pike), a former school cafeteria cook who now owns her own tricked-out school bus and serves comfort food to hungry diners. Abby accuses Jameson of harassing the food truckers in the area—competition for his brick-and-mortar Bones ‘n’ Brew restaurant—which he denies. Did he really plant a rat in her bus to get her in trouble with the Health Department? When the chef is suddenly poisoned by his own crab bisque—and Aunt Abby becomes a suspect—Darcy smells a rat. Together with Aunt Abby’s hacker son Dillon and dream puff Jake Miller, she discovers something rotten in the food truck world.

Writing DEATH OF A CRABBY COOK was such an inspiration, I’m thinking of opening my own food truck. I plan to serve Vanilla Zantac, Chocolate Prilosec, Curry Maalox, Grilled Pepto, and Tums-on-a-Stick. I think it will be a hit.


How would you like to win a paperback copy of Death of a Crabby Cook by Penny Pike? Thanks to Obsidian, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.

2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

3) US Residents Only

4) For one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.

5) For one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.

6) For one extra entry:  Follow this blog...old followers, too!  Just let us know how you follow and under what name.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on August 6th (midnight est) and ends on August 13th (midnight est).

The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I really need to check the cozy shelf at the library

  2. Cover is great...definitely need to add this to my wish list.

  3. thank you for the chance to win , looks great.

  4. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. It looks fun!

  5. This sounds fun! I love the restaurant reviewer/food truck angle!

  6. Hi Penny, I own a few of your other books and really enjoy your stories. I'm a big fan of culinary books because I love the recipes that many include and I have an adopted son who is a C.I.A. graduate baker. So bring it on, I want to win this book.

  7. This book sounds delightful and intriguing.Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Food trucks are all the rage these days. Great idea for a book! Though the "research" in eating the different food truck foods sounds like a treat I might want to help you with. Foodie about the heart burn!! Take a Tums and keep enjoying and writing!! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

  9. Food trucks being all the rage today makes this an even more exciting series starter. Sampling all the food truck foods sounds like a treat. I'd love to help you with the research. Heartburn can be easily cured with Tums!! Let's read and research. Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

  10. I need to read this book.

  11. This sounds like a fun read, I love books involving food.

  12. This cozy sounds terrific! How clever to write about food trucks. :-)

  13. Love all the research you did! TUMS in your purse???

  14. I love the sound of this book!!
    My husband and I love food trucks, and almost bought one a few years ago. Lately we've been talking to our bff's about going together and buying one.

  15. Who knew murder could be such a fun read? :)

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  16. I love the author's sense of humor!

    And I have a soft spot for food and arts festivals. It was after working at my mother's Swiss Choir's food booth one May afternoon in 1996 that I went home and found out I was pregnant for the first time! :O)

  17. I love Cozies! I'd love to read this story! Thanks!

  18. Food trucks are even getting to be popular up in our neck of the woods. Love cozies--thanks for your contest.

  19. Okay. I probably should have skipped reading the guest post. I am NOW really hungry. I love idea for the series. Aunt Abby sounds awesome.

  20. a 'must-add' to my Wish List!!
    congrats & continued success to Penny!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

  21. Sounds like an interesting new series.

  22. I want to read this book. It's very interesting. I love the cover.

  23. Mysteries and good food, who could ask for anything more?!

  24. This sounds like a fun read—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  25. One of my dreams and nightmares is having to start over with a career. As exciting as it sounds it is also a big leap. I love a book that involves that AND a food truck! On my wish list!

  26. Sounds like it will be a good read!

  27. Hi Penny, your book sounds great. It combines my two favorite things food and a good mystery. Thank you for the giveaway.

  28. It sounds like a fun mystery. I have seen school buses used for a lot of things but not a food truck. I would love to read this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  29. It sounds like fun. The whole food truck idea really interests me.


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