Review: The Cheesecake Fake by Nancy McGovern, Cyra Bruce

Faith Franklin feels like she’s walking on air since moving to beautiful, sunny Florida.

Her café, Slice of Paradise, is thriving. She’s met the man of her dreams. And, together with her friend, Laura, she has even begun writing a recipe column for the local paper, The Paradise Gazette.

Everything is falling into place!

So, when she’s asked to prepare some of her delicious treats for a boat party hosted by the newspaper, no one is surprised when her catering is a huge hit. What is a surprise, however, is the drowning that occurs when the fashion columnists falls overboard.

Was the fashionista’s death an accident? The Sheriff’s Department seems to think so. But something just doesn’t sit right with Faith. And she’s determined to discover the truth… (Goodreads)

Quite honestly, I’m still debating how many stars I should give to this book.
The overall writing is still solid and strong, yet I felt the ending quite rushed, hastily rustled up, not giving me enough time to digest and process. This maybe the biggest issue that I had with this book.

As a matter of fact, my immediate afterthoughts on this book turned out quite a mixed bag. While I enjoyed the mystery and the story on the whole, it didn’t satisfy and entertain me as much as the previous book did.

My first issue is what I perceived as excessive dramatization. In particular, Faith’s panic attacks. I assume the author put this aspect to make Faith more interesting and add some layers to her character, but it felt a bit melodramatic, even unnecessary. I myself have never had panic attacks, so I may sound quite harsh and inconsiderate – pardon me if I am – nonetheless, they come all of a sudden and at a point where I feel not necessarily relevant, thus sometimes it felt a tad redundant. My impression could have been different had the tone been a bit more subdued. I appreciate the diversity in characters, showing everybody has their own flaws, but you don’t have to go overboard with dramatizing it to give a book depth.

In addition, I think the supporting characters were reduced down to be superficial this time around. They all seem kind of flat and two-dimensional, even the friendship between Faith and Laura seemed a little skin-deep this time. I don’t know why.

Frankly speaking, I think the rushed ending ruined the book for me; the story was actually nicely built up with two consecutive murders and interesting multiple suspects. There are lots of intrigues and red herrings that throw the readers off track and have them guess who the real murderer is, I was in fact, kept on the edge of my seat to a point, I was enjoying the ride.

And then the descriptions of Deputy Valdez, a show-off and quite a joke. I seriously don’t know what to make of him. A typical incompetent law enforcement officer who is at odds with Faith for absolutely no reason. It was nice to see his character change in the end, but still, once again, this is simply a joke and overdone.

Now that I got two books down in the series, I’m ambivalent about continuing this series to be honest. As I said time and time again, while I did enjoy the mystery in which the mounting tension was well executed, I saw some negatives in this installment as well. My overall impression is still positive, but when it comes to reading the sequels … the jury is still out.

That said though, I think I’ll give this series another chance by reading the next book and see if I like it. 3 pancakes!

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