Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Death on Eat Street by J.J. Cook (Review/Guest Post/Giveaway)

About the Book

Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: April 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery…

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.

My Review

After losing out on a promotion at the bank where she has been a senior loan officer, Zoe Chase quits. She always wanted her own restaurant, so she follows her dreams and buys a run down diner and food truck. The area isn’t in the safest location, but it’s all hers. Zoe is filled with excitement and hope for a bright future. However, her wealthy parents and her fiancé, Tommy Lee, aren’t impressed and think she’s lost her mind. She realizes she and Tommy Lee have different outlooks for the future and she breaks things off. It’s an easy decision, especially after she sees him kissing another woman.

As her parents and Tommy Lee do everything to convince Zoe to change her mind, she puts her heart into making her food truck and diner a success. Her specialty dish is her biscuit bowls and they are a huge success. Her future looks bright until she discovers a dead body in her food truck. To make matters worse, the body belongs to one of her food truck competitors who she happened to recently fought. Of course the police immediately suspect Zoe of the murder, giving her parents another reason to get her out of the restaurant business.

Things continue to go downhill for Zoe when her truck is broken into and she receives threats. Adding to her misery is someone thinks the dead man gave something valuable to Zoe. She has no idea what this is all about but things are heating up and not in a good way. With the help of some friends and her cat, Crème Brulee, Zoe finds her dreams of running a restaurant may come to an end before they even start.

J.J. Cook is fast becoming one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. This is another brand new series and I loved it from page one. Zoe is a fun, lively character. She has a lot of energy and a huge heart to match. She can easily become a beloved character as the series continues. There’s a potential romance in the air with attorney, Miguel Alexander. I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops.

Zoe’s parents and ex-fiance were a bit annoying at times and treated her like she was ten years old but she stood up to them and held her own against them. There is a diverse array of supporting characters that I’m looking forward to reading about again. Of course my favorite, next to Zoe, was her heroic cat, Crème Brulee. What a great name for a cat!

The mystery moved along at a good pace, although I must admit I did suspect the culprit rather early. However, there were so many twists or turns along the way, I wasn’t really sure. I enjoyed this one and will definitely have my open for the next release.

For reading challenges:
2014 ARC Reading Challenge
2014 Foodies Reading Challenge
2014 My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge
Where are you reading? challenge (Alabama)

FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.

Author Guest Post

Writing about food and mystery
Biscuit Bowl Mysteries
By Joyce Lavene

Food and mysteries seem to go so well together. I’m not sure why that is, but I have to accept it as fact! Just look at how many fabulous food mysteries are out on the market today.

It’s not always easy writing about food in this context. What if someone doesn’t like the food you have in your book? That could throw them off the whole story.

When we (my husband and I write together as J.J. Cook) decided to write Death on Eat Street, the first Biscuit Bowl mystery, we wanted to write about comfort food.

The good thing about comfort food is that it’s hard to go wrong. Not everyone likes caviar, but most people like potatoes. Bread—as in biscuits—is also a food everyone loves. Maybe they deny themselves because of their waistlines, but not many people sneak a bite of celery when they’re looking for something good to eat.

Our protagonist, Zoe Chase, has a deep love for Southern comfort food. She’s been raised with it around Mobile, Alabama, from her uncle’s restaurant, to friends’ eateries. She loves the smell and taste of simple food made in wonderful ways.

She really wants her own restaurant with hundreds of fans waiting outside to get in each night. But she knows that takes time. She’s willing to build her reputation by making the best biscuits and fillings ever. She has faith that it will come to her if she works hard enough.

Zoe has help from her Uncle Saul, who owned a restaurant when he was younger. She also has Ollie, with his grandmother’s recipes for great Cajun food. Together, they’ll battle the odds every new business finds stacked against them. And they’ll do it with great food!

Which comes back to my point about food and mysteries. Great food is at the heart of good food mysteries—whether they’re in food trucks like Zoe’s—or in small cake shops. Recipes are tested, and approved, before they’re put in the back of books. The love of food is woven into each chapter, providing delight, and hunger pains, to each reader.

What is your favorite food mystery? Do you enjoy the more sophisticated foods, or would you rather read about foods you might make at home in your kitchen every day? Have you ever used a recipe from the back of a food mystery?

It makes me hungry just thinking about it. It might be time to try a new biscuit bowl recipe!


How would you like to win a paperback copy of Death on Eat Street by J.J. Cook? Thanks to Berkley, 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 leave the way you follow and the name you use.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on April 9th (midnight est) and ends on April 16th (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've been wanting to read this! Sounds like a fun read!

  2. Maybe I could make the library get it *thinks*

  3. Love cozies! this one sounds great!

  4. I'm looking forward to reading this

  5. Congrats to Joyce and Jim on the debut of a new series! I agree, the cat's name sounds great! Can't wait to read it. Thanks!

  6. the book looks fantastic: i hope i get a chance to read it :)

  7. Sounds like a book that I will love.

  8. Great review, sounds like a good read.

  9. Thank you for the chance to win.
    Carol Smith. penelope223(at)yahoo(dot)com

  10. Between the two of you (authors) who is the better cook?

  11. This book sounds wonderful and unique. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. I have this on my TBR list! sarah2323 at gmail dot com

  13. Can't wait to read this one!! It looks fantastic!! Thank you for giving us such wonderful stories!!

  14. What an interesting concept....a food truck!! Sounds like a good mystery to me!! And, a husband and wife team....that is a 'novel' idea!!! Must made for some interesting conversations and fun eating, trying out the recipes. I love to read about food....comfort food is the best!!

  15. Looking forward to reading this one. I love the authors' other series.

  16. A biscuit bowl sounds pretty tasty to me. I hope there are lots of recipes.

  17. I love their other series also. So, I might like this series also.

  18. This really looks like a really good read. I have put it on my TBR list.

  19. Sounds like a fantastic book. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the opportunity of the giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson

  20. Looks like a great cozy mystery.

  21. This sounds like another cute cozie!

  22. Sounds like a good cozie to curl up with!

  23. This sounds like a book I would really enjoy!

  24. With all the food trucks here in So Cal, I really should try a few more.

  25. Sounds like a great story. I like the idea of the food truck. It has a cute cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  26. We have an Al Fresco court downtown with several food trucks. I would love to read this,

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

  27. Sounds like an awesome book. Have to make sure I'm not hungry before I read it, lol.

  28. Love the cover. The books sounds really good. We almost bought a food truck a few months ago and are still looking for one.


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