Author: Joanne Fluke
My Copy: Review Copy via Kensington
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: April is a busy time for Hannah Swenson and her bakery; there’s just something about the warm weather that makes folks in Lake Eden crave something sweet When Hannah hears that the Cinnamon Roll Six jazz band will be playing at the town’s Weekend Jazz Festival, she’s more than happy to bake up a generous supply of their namesake confections to welcome the band to town.
Before the festival even begins, tragedy strikes when the Cinnamon Roll Six’s tour bus overturns on its way into town. Among those injured is Buddy Neiman, the band’s beloved keyboard player. At first Buddy’s injuries appear minor, until his condition suddenly takes a turn for the worse–as in dead. Hannah’s no doctor, but she suspects that the surgical scissors someone plunged into Buddy’s chest may have something to do with it.
Once the investigation into Buddy’s death begins, a slew of suspicious facts come to light. It turns out that Buddy Neiman isn’t the victim’s real name. In fact, no one is really sure who he is, or what secrets may be lurking in his past. Hannah also has her eye on a few local suspects. There’s Doctor Bev, who seems to know more about the victim than she’s willing to admit. And Devon Murphy, the aspiring young keyboard player who wanted a spot in the band so much, he just might have killed for it. Truth be told, Hannah isn’t sure just how she’ll unravel the mystery, but one thing’s for sure: there’s nothing sweeter than bringing a killer to justice.
I’ve heard great things about Joanne Fluke and her Hannah Swenson series. When the opportunity came to review Cinnamon Roll Murder, I was excited and ready to dive in. In the end, I make the mistake of not reading the other books that precede Cinnamon Roll Murder since it picks up where Devils Food Cake Murder ends. I do feel in order to better appreciate Cinnamon Roll Murder, one has to read the previous books in the series.
I really wanted to like Fluke’s Cinnamon Roll Murder, but it just falls flat. As I stated, it is part of a series and by the time you get to the fifteenth book there’s only so much you can do regarding character development. For a new reader it’s easy to get lost trying to figure out who’s who, etc. The writing is good, but quickly jumps from one scene into the next. In terms of the mystery, it wasn’t very difficult to figure out who the murder was. Fluke spends her time focusing on Hannah and her ex, Norman with a few clues inserted here and there. When the killer is unmasked, I wasn’t surprised and that disappointed me because I was looking forward to a good cozy mystery.
As I stated, I’m not familiar with the series, but admit to being disappointed that Hannah wants to stop Norman’s wedding. I was rooting for Mike since he seems like a good fit for Hannah and she keeps alluding to the fact that he’s attractive. I’m not sure if it’s Fluke’s intention or not and I haven’t read the previous books, but I did get the feeling Hannah likes Mike. Plus Mike is always around Hannah and she’s constantly cooking for him. It seems a bit cruel to deny the man a relationship if they seem like a good fit. I’m also dissatisfied with how Doctor Bev is handled. I understand she claims to have Norman’s child in a previous book and that’s why Norman’s with her and not with Hannah. Doctor Bev comes off as a caricature in Cinnamon Roll Murder. I’m not sure if it’s because Fluke needed her out of the way in order to reunite Norman or Hannah, but I think she lost out on a great opportunity to bring in some great conflict between Mike/Hannah and Norman / Bev.
If I can point out something that annoyed me, it was the fact Hannah wasn’t aware of technology. I get the feeling she’s in her thirties and if so, would have some knowledge about email and how it functions. The fact she has to go to Norman for help seems a bit too contrived. If Fluke wanted them together, I’m sure there would have been a better to bring them together instead of using the excuse of Hannah not knowing how to download a cell phone picture.
What ultimately doesn’t work for me is the whole Hannah / Norman relationship inserted in a mystery. I’m sure at some point Fluke needed to bring everything out in the open, but it’s easy to lose focus. Sadly, this was my first Hannah Swenson book and more than likely my last. The recipes inserted at the end of chapters would serve better at the end of the book so it doesn’t disrupt the flow of narration in the novel. I do admit some of the recipes sound delicious, but they aren’t worth buying the book. Maybe one day Joanne Fluke will publish the recipes in an exclusive book.