Sunday, April 6, 2014

That Old Black Magic by Mary Jane Clark

Author: Mary Jane Clark
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: January 2014

Aspiring actress and wedding-cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her pastry skills at the renowned French Quarter bakery, Boulangerie Bertrand, when a ghastly murder rocks the magical city. Intrigued by the case, Piper can't help but look for the "Hoodoo Killer" among the faces around her. Could it be the handsome guide eager to give her special private tours? Or the inscrutable jazz musician who plays on historic Royal Street? What about the ratings-starved radio talk-show host? Or even the amiable owner of the local Gris-Gris Bar?

Cake decorator/ aspiring actress Piper Donavan is back in That Old Black Magic.  This time around, she has traveled to New Orleans to work with a world famous baker and bake a cake for a wedding.  Of course, someone is murdered and Piper can't help but stumble into the mystery.  I did like this mystery and the killer took me by surprise.  I liked how Piper put it together this time.    As in her other books, the list of suspects is long and filled with many who could definitely have done it!  

I have to admit to not really loving this series in the beginning.  It has definitely gotten better over the 4 books in the series. I have enjoyed seeing Piper grow as both a person and a detective.  She still has some TSTL moments, but they make the story that much more entertaining.  One of the things that I loved about this book was how Piper is still feeling the after effects of the previous case.  Particularly in the claustrophobia and insomnia.  For me it made Piper more realistic since I think a lot of people would have some PTSD after being poisoned and almost dying. I feel like in a lot of mystery series, once the case is solved the main character moves on and it's almost like the danger in the book before never happened.

My only two complaints were the pop culture references.  Those drive me crazy! Having real actor names thrown into a fiction book really throw me off.  The part about Piper acting in a movie with Channing Tatum had me rolling my eyes.  Not a big deal, just a personal preference.  I also want more Jack!  This relationship needs to move forward.  I look forward to the next book, hopefully with more Jack and Piper together!

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