Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to share my thoughts today
about The Enemy You Gnocchi by Catherine Bruns!
The Enemy You Gnocchi: A Christmas Cozy Mystery
(Italian Chef Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – New York
Publisher : Poisoned Pen Press (October 26, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback : 336 pages
ISBN-10 : 1492684317
ISBN-13 : 978-1492684312
Kindle ASIN : B08VYFC2VJ
A delicious new holiday mystery from USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns! It’s Christmas time in Harvest Park, so grab your cocoa and sleuthing snow boots for a Christmas cozy mystery sure to sleigh!
It’s the deadliest thyme of the year…
With snow dusting the ground and sauce sizzling on the stove, local chef Tessa Esposito is ready to serve up some holiday cheer. And with the annual Festival of Lights underway, it seems nothing can dim her spirits. Not even Mario Russo, the newest scrooge in town whose espresso bar has been quickly disrupting businesses and stealing customers from Harvest Park’s favorite coffeehouse.
But when Mario is discovered at the festival’s opening, face down in a Santa suit, Tessa realizes the bah humbug runs deeper than she could have imagined. And when one of her dearest friends is implicated in the crime, she must make a list of Mario’s enemies, check them twice, and discover the cold-blooded killer. Especially before they can sleigh again.
Anything’s Pastable (I love that name) is open and owner and chef Tessa Esposito is ready for the holidays. She is baking tons of cookies to be served at Harvest Park’s annual Festival of Lights and getting ready for her Breakfast with Santa on Christmas Eve morning. She is also serving delectable meals at the restaurant on a daily basis. Working long 12 hour days are tiring her out but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Harvest Park newcomer Mario Russo has become a daily customer who appears to have a crush on Tessa and most of the other women in Harvest Park. He opened The Expresso Lane, a coffee bar, about 3 months ago directly across the street from the beloved Archie Fenton’s Java Time. He is a pushy deplorable man that turns off Tessa in every way possible, plus his business is putting a huge dent in Archie’s business and several other Harvest Park businesses. Tessa tries to keep the Christmas Spirit but the man sure does not make that easy.
The first night of the Festival of Lights appears to be a grand success until Marco Russo’s dead body is found outside The Lake House where refreshments were being served and where kids could visit with Santa, the aforementioned Mario Russo. Sadly, the police have pegged Archie Fenton as their prime suspect but Tessa knows the list of Mario’s enemies in long and while most may be nice, someone was naughty and decided Mario would not be brewing another cup of coffee or listening to any more children’s wishes. Tessa with the assistance of her cousin Gabby hopes to identify the killer who will be getting the coal in their stocking behind bars.
This story contains a fabulous mystery set during the holiday season but it is so much more. Catherine Bruns has created characters that I have genuinely grown to enjoy following through their daily joys and trials. Tessa is an excellent protagonist. She has a curious nature and a huge heart. Her best friend Gabby makes an excellent sidekick and will support Tessa in any way she can. Gabby’s brother Gino is a cop who begs them both to stay in their lanes and let the police handle the investigation. Tessa’s landlord Vince is much more than he originally seemed and that made me happy. Firefighter Justin was Tessa’s husband’s best friend. Since her husband’s death, he has helped her in any way he can and has admitted that he does have feelings for her. She also has feelings for him but never wants to lose the friendship they have built so she is afraid to take their relationship to the next level. These characters are very likable and true to life. They face some very dramatic/dangerous situations but they all have each other’s back and will always be there for each other.
The author also includes a wonderful supporting cast that are believably connected and have purpose that adds to the story. Both the core and supporting characters are developing at a reasonable pace. She also created the swarmy Mario and gave this reader plenty to hold against him which led predictably to his death.
This mystery was a lot of fun because there were a lot of suspects. The plethora of suspects added several exciting moments. I just couldn’t zero in on the actual killer so the reveal was a thrilling surprise.
The Enemy You Gnocchi was a fantastic read. I love the way this author blends mystery with just the right amount of romance. The story is also written to draw the reader in and hold on tight. The main mystery is joined by delightful subplots and flows flawlessly. It truly was a Perfect Escape. I can’t wait to return to Harvest Park to see what these characters get into next.
Note – Ms. Bruns has included some marvelous recipes. You will want to try all of them before, during, and after reading this story, so plan ahead.
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About the Author
Also by Catherine Bruns
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”