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Kernel of Truth
Popcorn Shop Mystery #1
Kristi Abbott

Berkley Prime Crime
April 5, 2016/ ISBN 978-0-425-28091-1
Mystery / Cozy / Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


Following her divorce from celebrity chef Antoine Belanger, Rebecca Anderson has moved back to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio. Her life in California had been pretty easy, but she wasn't happy and after Antoine abandoned her in Minneapolis following a call from his agent, she knew it was time for a divorce.

Back home where she began, in Grand Lake, she decided to open a gourmet popcorn shop, POPS, and was relieved to have the guidance and care from family friend Coco Bittles, who had the chocolate shop next door. Coco is killed in her own shop, and Rebecca doesn't believe it was a robbery gone wrong. She sets out to find who killed her dear 72-year-old friend and why before the murderer can strike again.

The book starts out with excitement, as Coco's niece, Jessica, discovers her aunt's body on the floor of her chocolate shop. My heart was pounding right away, and there were plenty of suspenseful scenes until the killer was eventually captured.

As a debut cozy novel, it gets a new series off to a good start. There is murder and romance, small town antics, family relationships and a lovable dog. There are even popcorn recipes after the story, including one for popcorn fudge!

While I was able to figure out who the killer was, and was fairly sure about why the crime was committed, I was interested enough in the characters and the subplots that I didn't even mind, and in fact, hoped that I was wrong. I wasn't wrong, but that's OK. I was hooked already and am looking forward to the second book, Pop Goes the Murder, which is coming soon.

This is a mystery that is chock full of twists and turns, and characters who will pop right off the page and entertain you. I enjoyed Bec's wit, was sorry that we lost Coco's wisdom so fast, and fell in love with the big poodle, Sprocket. Get yourself a copy today so that you can get in on the start of a promising new cozy series.

Reviewed 2016