Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Death Takes the Cake, by Melinda Wells (2009)

Death Takes the Cake by Melinda Wells:

Briefly, I wondered if one of the other contestants had tried to kill me but I quashed that thought. It was just too ridiculous. This was a cake contest, with a prize of only $25,000.00. That amount of money meant a great deal to me, but it wasn't one of the million dollar prizes the broadcast networks offered on their reality competitions. We bakers weren't being made to live in jungles, or build our own shelters, or eat revolting things, or let slimy creatures crawl all over us. In my opinion, those people earned the big prizes, and I hoped they'd used some of the cash to pay for therapy.

Synopsis: Della Carmichael, host of a cable network cooking show, agrees to enter a televised cake bake-off at the behest of her producer. Unbeknownst to her, the organizer is a woman who's hated her since college. And who winds up dead in a bowl of cake batter.

See, this is why I don't enter baking contests.

I really wanted to like this book more that I did. I mean I really, really, *really* wanted to like this book. The protagonist is appealing, as is her emotional baggage, and the mystery was well thought-out, and the setting immersive and the supporting characters meaningful. So what happened? Subplot overload is what happened.

Look. It's a wee mystery book, okay? 125 pages in, 125 out, give or take 40. If you add in more than six supporting characters--yes > 6--and give them all drama, and backstory and then try to feed them all into the main plot while still creating an immersive setting, your reader will, like me, throw their hands in the air and pray for the book to end. In other words, skim. Skim skim skim. This book just wanted way too much from me, caring-wise, and thus I am not likely to either reread it or pick up any of the others in the series. Overall, the characterization just wasn't strong enough to carry the load it had been assigned. Meh.

No comments:

Post a Comment