Are my readers ready for a brand new, just started, cozy series? I hope so because I have a fabulous one to tell you about. Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz is a lovely start to what promises to be a great series.
From the cover:
Pepper Reece, owner of the Seattle Spice Shop, thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix…
After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars.
But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on her doorstep, with a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest Tory Finch, one of Pepper’s staffers, for murder.
Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…
There are a few things that really made this stand out. The first was that there are little fun tidbits at the start of each chapter. Some are about the area and some are about something related to the chapter. I thought that was a nice extra touch. The second was attention to detail in the creation of the setting. I have never been to Seattle, nowhere even remotely close, yet I was able to easily slip into this town and feel like I had grown up there. When the setting feels so real it makes the story more real and all the more enjoyable.
This lovely setting was filled with fun characters that I enjoyed getting to know and look forward to getting to know better in future parts. Pepper was of course the main focus and she was a joy to follow along. I was happy to see she made choices that anyone would make and she felt very genuine for that. The supporting cast was also fun and I really look forward to seeing if future books in the series will flesh them out more as well.
Overall, you won't be disappointed! This has a great setting, lovely characters, and a fun mystery that moves along at a great pace.
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