Review: Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen and her bakery, The Cookie Jar, bask in the glow of Hollywood glamour when Main Street becomes a movie set. And although tensions simmer as the cameras roll, no one expects the action to turn deadly. . .until it’s too late. . .
There’s no such thing as privacy in Lake Eden, but Hannah never thought things would go this far. Everyone has been telling her what to do ever since she got not one but two marriage proposals. Movie mania soon shoves Hannah’s marriage dilemma into the background and even gives her cat a shot at stardom. The Cookie Jar serves as snack central with Main Street rented out for the week. She stirs lots of fresh gossip, whipping up treats for cast and crew, including demanding director Dean Lawrence’s favorite–cherry cheesecake. (Goodreads)

I initially gave this book 3.75 stars, but thinking long and hard, enumerating what was good and what was not that good about this book, I decided to change my rating. I ducked 0.75 stars from my original rating and settled with 3 stars and here are reasons why:

  1. Length: I personally found this book could have been much shorter. Don’t get me wrong, the story per se is entertaining. In particular, the addition of new character, Ross was especially positively unexpected and added a lot of excitement and intrigues to the book. The movie plot was also well-incorporated and interesting. So, I did enjoy the story itself.
    That said though, as I said earlier, the whole story could have wrapped up in less than 300 pages, possibly less than 250 pages at tops. This is quite unusual with Fluke, but I did find there were A LOT OF what I perceived as unnecessary descriptions in this book. You don’t need 3 to 4 pages of descriptions on how wonderfully Delores and Carrie set up the movie set UNLESS it integrates either romance or mystery in the scene as far as I’m concerned, and I thought there were an awful lot of such scenes in this book. Here’s number 1.
  2. Verbosity: this correlates closely with reason 1, and I know I’m practically saying the same thing as I did with reason 1, but yes, I have to say this again: I felt this book is pretty much filled with unnecessarily long descriptions and I’d even go out on a limb to say that the whole story involving the mystery was stretched far too thin just to make it a full length book. This could have been more brisk, short and sweet if such descriptions had been trimmed. Here’s number 2.
  3. Status quo: lastly, the whole “going-back-to-status quo” plot. This is a kind of a letdown. I was expecting some developments in this book in the romantic department, yet it was brought back to square one. Then what the heck was the point of throwing Ross in the game in the first place?? Just an attempt to make reader go crazy and positively frustrated so that they would pick up the next book?
    It might work with some hardcore fans of this series including me. Heck, I’ve already bought the next 10 books thus there’s no way for me not to read the next installment, yet I believe some readers could be disgusted and disappointed by this obvious attempt to keep readers hanging in the air.

As I mentioned earlier in my review, the story per se is not as bad as I made it out to be, I enjoyed following what would happen between Hannah and Ross, and the whodunit mystery involving the murder of the movie crew as well as episodes with townspeople in Lake Eden. I love the warm and cozy vibe that a close-knit community Lake Eden has, I’ll probably pick up the next book as well.
Nevertheless, it pains me to say this book kind of fizzled out as far as I’m concerned. This book started off really strong, making me frustrated and anxious to know whatever happens to the romantic triangle among Hannah, Mike, Norman and Ross, but as I dug deeper into the book, the story became a bit blurred, extended and expanded a bit too thin and I ended up feeling there wasn’t as much meat in this book as I initially anticipated. If this series is only going in this direction in terms of the length and descriptions, I am not 100% sure if I can be patient enough to be a faithful reader and stick with this series.

Delectable, cozy, indeed. I’ll give you that, but this book was a bit too long for me. Let’s hope the next installment is better than this one! Fingers crossed!


10 thoughts on “Review: Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

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      1. Well it is a well known secret I read only cozies for 2 months and my jeans don’t fit, they don’t go up beyond my knees. So I have stop with this genre as the jeans are the stretchy kinds and they are stretched to maximum to point of tearing…

        Can’t give up the jeans… Can give up food cozy

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Aw, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like this one so much, Noriko. I know how much you love this series! Hopefully the next one is shorter & helps you jump back on board. 🙂 Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

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