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#FlashbackFriday – Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery) by Lilly York

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Chili to Die For (A Willow Crier Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Oklahoma
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wide Awake Books (November 18, 2015)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 152 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0692583289
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0692583289
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0186KVBIK

A northerner by birth…

Willow moves south when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop.

From the slow southern dialect to the crazy drivers, Willow finds herself at odds with what most call “southern charm.” She becomes obsessed with cook-offs and bake-offs, wanting those trophies for her mantle. With the chili cook-off just around the corner, Willow manages to provoke one of the judges to a fit of road rage.

When that judge ends up face down, dead, in a bowl of Willow’s chili, police chief Grice looks to the newest town resident as his number one suspect. Willow must find out who wanted Ms. Delonda Posey dead before the good citizens of Turtle, OK run her Yankee bottom out of town.

*Contains NO swearing, sex scenes (maybe a kiss or two), or graphic violence

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I purchased this book because it was set in Oklahoma, a state I needed to fill for my Literary Escapes Challenge.

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, and Willow Crier comes when she inherits her grandfather’s ice cream shop. She also enters cook-offs with a pure drive to win. But the latest chili cook-off comes with a huge hitch. Willow has met one of the judges and that meeting did not end well. When that judge falls dead face down in Willows chili she becomes the police chief’s prime suspect. She becomes close to the chief as she strives to find more viable suspects.

I did not like the way this story began. No introduction, readers just drop in with Willow in an argument with another driver that quickly escalates and is recorded by others and appears on social media. Willow is not alone in her vehicle, a woman who we later learn is her daughter is also a witness to this bit of road rage. This intro leads up to an event in chapter two. Maybe had I had access to the prequel before I read this story instead of after I would have known the main players. I do blame the novella-length for the author not providing a better introduction of her protagonist.

Also due to the shorter length, Willow is quickly cleared of any wrong doing to set up a very friendly relationship with the police chief. We do get to know the characters a little better but I would have appreciated more of a backstory for Willow. There are also several other characters we get to meet as Willow ferrets out the real killer but not to the depth I would like.

What I really liked about this story was the relationship that was built between the Turtle police chief Steve Grier and Willow. He decided she needed a watch dog and knew just where to get her the perfect puppy and it also opened a way for her to meet more of his family. Then together they worked on finding the killer. It turns out the victim has plenty of enemies but I did tag someone quickly for the crime.

This book sorely needed better character development and the mystery was an easy solve but this series does show some promise. I do want to get to know these characters and see where Ms. York takes them.

Chili to Die For was a Satisfactory Excursion. The author did write 6 books in this series so I hope she adjusted to the novella length and provides more details about her characters and stronger mysteries.


Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Lilly York? How about Lilly Belle; a mis-plant northerner, living in a southern world. Southern charm is lost among late nights with a two-year-old granddaughter, heat flashes competing with hell, copious re-runs of Murder She Wrote with Jessica Fletcher catching the bad guy and a vivid imagination keeping insanity at bay.

In both humor and mystery, Lilly draws inspiration from terrible twos, a 24-year-old daughter who questions her sanity, a son who constantly spews bad puns, and a husband who has selective hearing. Though, that’s perfectly alright with her, because what can you love more than a good laugh and a family so dysfunctional they almost seem functional?


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This book is from my private collection. Amazon Purchase.