Book Review: Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz

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Assault and Pepper (A Spice Shop Mystery, #1)Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went on a cleaning spree and cut my TBR (To Be Read) by 50% last week. I also finished reading all of my commitments through the end of the year, so I could finally pick out a few books from my TBR that I’ve wanted to read for years. The ‘A Spice Shop Mystery series’ or any book by Leslie Budewitz, was one of those I kept on the TBR, and finally, I made room for it this week by taking on Assault and Pepper, the first in the series. What a fun book and treat to spend time in Seattle again…

Pepper worked in Corporate Human Resources for ~20 years and then left the company when things went belly up. Rather than jump back into the grind, she bought a spice shop and turned it into a new passion. [She and I have a lot in common, except mine was technology and writing books. Maybe I’m more like Leslie!] The first book begins months after the shop’s been open and things are growing for the protagonist in Seattle’s world-renowned market. Then a homeless man dies on Pepper’s doorstep one night. Pepper stays away from the death until she learns the man had a connection to one of her employees, who is later arrested for murder. When Pepper hears too many rumors about her store and friend, she throws herself into the investigation to try and clear her friend and her own reputation.

I’ve probably read ~400 cozies at this point in my life and with each new series, I try to find something educational and fun. This one has both… I also love to cook and experiment, so the exposure to the spice market is a nice addition for my reading queue. There’s a balance between setting the tone and lay-of-the-land in this first book as well as solving a tricky mystery. All the characters are defined, but I haven’t quite latched on to anyone yet. Pepper is strong, and I’ll definitely grow more attached as the series continues. I plan to read the next few in January and February so I’m current for when the 4th book comes out. It looks like the author wrote a few in the 2015 range, then took a few years off to write another series. But a new one comes out in early/mid 2019 and I want to try to get an ARC.

Budewitz is a talented writer. She draws you in and drops clues along the way so you can try to solve the case yourself. She’s created a wonderful fictional setting based on the real Seattle setting, and when I visit the city again next year, I’ll be sure to lookout for some of the places she’s mentioned that are real. I also like how Budewitz handled the social awareness aspects of the homeless population in Seattle, and how the city works with them rather than against them, as occurs in other cities around the country. There are clever name-drops of real authors and books who are the author’s real life friends and colleagues. I’ve read one and intend to read another this coming year.

For a new series, it’s got all the right potentials and basics to become strong. I’ll have to spend some time researching the author to see if she’s continuing past the upcoming next book or if it was just a fun addition to the series in the short term. Thanks for a fun few hours with this one, LB!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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17 thoughts on “Book Review: Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz

    kathyscottage said:
    December 17, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    Great review. Another cozy to my ever growing TBR stack! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Leslie Budewitz said:
    December 17, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    Thanks for the kind words, Jay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the trip to Seattle with me. The reason for the gap between the first three Spice Shop mysteries and the next two is simply that I got caught in the post-merger Penguin Random House cuts in mass market paperback originals. Took me a while to find a new publisher, but Seventh St. Books picked me up and there will be at least two more in the series, continuing with Chai Another Day (June 2019) and the 5th book, set for spring 2020 and tentatively titled The Solace of Bay Leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 17, 2018 at 2:02 PM

      You are very welcome, Leslie. I’m sorry it took me so long to get to the first one. But I’ll catch-up and then move on to your other series so I’ll have everything read by the next releases in 2019. I’m focusing more on cozies now that I have a few in my own series. I’m really glad to hear the news about the new publisher and plans. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Leslie Budewitz said:
    December 17, 2018 at 12:06 PM

    Thanks for the kind words, Jay — so glad you enjoyed the trip to Seattle with me! There’s a simple reason for the gap between books 3 and 4: I got caught in the decision of the post-merger Penguin Random House to dramatically cut its mass market paper back originals, and it took me a while to find a new publisher. Seventh St. Books picked up the series, so there will be at least two more: Chai Another Day, set for June 2019, and the 5th book, tentatively titled The Solace of Bay Leaves, in 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

    bettylouise31 said:
    December 17, 2018 at 1:42 PM

    I like anything vIllain have by this author. I have read this book and like it very much. The others are on my TBR list

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 17, 2018 at 2:08 PM

      Maybe we’ll end up reading the same one at the same time!

      Liked by 1 person

        bettylouise31 said:
        December 17, 2018 at 6:59 PM

        That could be fun. I am getting frustrated about all the problems I have been having of getting ARC/DRC that I have been approve to read. I had two more this weekend. Got one today but not the one I desire to read.

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        December 17, 2018 at 10:46 PM

        Wow. That’s not fair. Sorry to hear it’s been problematic. 😦

        Like

    bettylouise31 said:
    December 17, 2018 at 1:42 PM

    I like anything vIllain have by this author. I have read this book and like it very much. The others are on my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

    The Cozy Pages said:
    December 17, 2018 at 1:59 PM

    I like the back story and the premise and the cover…. hmm…

    Liked by 2 people

    Leafさんの夢が。。。 said:
    December 18, 2018 at 10:19 PM

    Good luck with getting through the rest of your TBR!!

    Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    December 21, 2018 at 6:11 PM

    Great review Jay. You always add a bit to your reviews that make me think. I have this on my TBR, but never gotten to it. I do enjoy this author.

    Liked by 1 person

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