While the first hints of autumn grace Boggy Creek, Florida, Gia misses the colorful harvest traditions she left behind in New York. On a scramble to make new fall memories—and promote her irresistible pumpkin spice waffles—things take a dark turn when she gets roped into the Haunted Town Festival, a spooky celebration held on deserted farmlands. The desolate area conjures plenty of eerie vibes at night, but Gia and her best friend, Savannah, are nearly frightened to death upon the discovery of the event organizer’s body buried in the nearby woods. More alarming, the local rumor mill says the woman’s shady dealings may have egged someone into sending her to an early grave. Now, there’s no shortage of creepy clues to feast on as Gia and her pals try to stop a killer with a very scary appetite . . .
Source: NetGalley and Lyrical Underground Rating: 4/5 stars
Gia Morelli would be perfectly happy if people would stop dropping dead around her. With Halloween on the horizon and the opportunity to participate in one of Boggy Creek’s most beloved events, the Haunted Town Festival, Gia was looking forward to the totally crime-free mayhem and madness. Unfortunately, one sinister being in Boggy Creek has it in for another resident and Gia will once again be lucky enough to stumble upon the mess.
As Gia and her best friend are checking out the site of the All-Day Breakfast Café’s haunted house, they have the misfortune of stumbling across the body of one of the town’s most devoted citizens. The poor woman spent her life devoting her time and energy to the Haunted Town Festival which serves as a fundraiser for the local animal shelter. While this seems like a completely selfless community service, the old bat wasn’t at all what she seemed and far too many people knew of her viler nature. While she’s managed to get away with her double life for years, someone finally had enough and put an end to her wicked ways.
For the first time, Gia isn’t at all connected to the crime or the victim and she’s absolutely determined to keep her nose where it belongs, in her own blinkin’ business. As with so many times in life, that sentiment is easier said than done and before Gia can say “BOO!” she’s up to her pretty little neck in an investigation. As always, Gia and her bestie begin digging around and what they discover are the secrets that many in Boggy Creek likely would have been happy to see go to their graves. The “poor” victim seems to have been blackmailing a load of people as well as getting up to her own shenanigans. By the time Gia puts all the pieces of the puzzle together, her life is very much threatened and her boyfriend, the good detective may not be able to get to her in time, this time.
The Bottom Line: I always worry about a series going stale after too many books, but so far, the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery Series is going strong and staying fresh. I like that not only are the plots staying fresh in interesting, but the personal narratives are also evolving. Gia has truly settled into Boggy Creek and she is surrounded by good friends and co-workers who truly have her best interests at heart. I like the spirit of community in Boggy Creek and how the regulars at the café have become trusted companions and great sounding boards when there’s murder and mischief afoot. I have high hopes for the future of this series.