Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Deadly Feast by Lucy Burdette: Reading Room Review

It's #9 in the Key West Food Critic Mysteries, and this series is still as fresh as the seafood that can be found at the Eaton Street Seafood Market in that island paradise. Every book gives us new insights into the fabulous food and unique life that Key West boasts. As you read about Hayley Snow's visits to different food venues in the series, you begin to make your own list of familiar restaurant names, places Hayley has already taken you and places that are new, and there are always new places to add. And, yet, with all the mouth-watering food dishes and interesting places Lucy Burdette includes in the books, she expands beyond the cozy factor of these mysteries to issues that real people face in a setting that on the surface looks picture perfect. There is a balance to the stories that, while readers absolutely enjoy a positive and fun read, the issues like homelessness and island politics and drugs are weaved into the story lines. Of course, even in a mystery set in paradise, there must be places where the sun doesn’t quite reach.

A Deadly Feast sees Hayley gearing up for a busy Thanksgiving week. Not only is there the big turkey dinner with family and friends, she and Nathan Bransford are getting married the day after Thanksgiving. So, Hayley's trying to keep other activities to a minimum and have an uncomplicated build-up to her big day. There will be enough stress with her father, step-mother, and step-brother coming to town for a Thanksgiving Day meal and the wedding. Hayley is nervous about her father meeting Sam, her mother's new husband, and Nathan, Hayley's husband-to-be. Hayley's job as food critic at Key Zest, the online cultural zine for Key West, is looking like a breeze to get through during wedding week, as she only has to go on a seafood tour her friend Analise is running and do a write-up on it. But then, one of the attendees on the food tour dies, drops dead on the last stop, which is sadly her last stop ever.  Haley has heard rumors that the woman had a stroke, but then Analise calls Hayley in a desperate state, worried what effect the death will have on her food tours business if the death is ruled suspicious, Hayley promises her friend to do some investigating of the places on the tour. With every intention to just ask some questions and try to ease Analise's mind about it, Hayley feels she is keeping her word to her fiancĂ© Nathan to stay out of police business. Anyway, Nathan himself is buried under a hush-hush operation the Key West Police Department is involved in.

Although Hayley is reassured by Steve Torrence, Nathan's colleague at the police department and the officiant of their wedding ceremony, that all will go smoothly at the ceremony, Hayley is just hoping there is a ceremony. She's getting more and more involved in the dead tourist on the food tour situation, and Nathan seems to be repeatedly unavailable because of his secret assignment. Hayley’s hopes of the food tour problem going quietly away are dashed when one of the chefs on the ill-fated food tour admits that her key lime pie in jars she served may have been tampered with. Haley thinks there's much more that this chef, Martha Hubbard, isn't disclosing. As if Hayley's and Nathan's investigations aren't complicating things enough, the houseboat that Nathan bought next to Miss Gloria's houseboat (Hayley's current abode) has fallen through the cracks of work on recent hurricane repairs in the Keys, and the contractor has put their houseboat at the bottom of a long list. It looks more and more like Hayley’s gotten a bad hand dealt from Lorenzo.

One of the great benefits of reading a series is having the opportunity to watch the established characters grow and new characters find their niche. Lucy Burdette has created one of my favorite set of characters in a mystery series. They are supportive of one another and bring their interesting lives to the table in different degrees in different books. By this ninth book, A Deadly Feast, Hayley and Nathan have gone through some real growing pains of a relationship and are ready to bring compromise and thoughtfulness to their communications. Nathan being willing to live on a houseboat (he’s not a fan of them) so that Hayley can be next to her octogenarian best friend Miss Gloria is a brilliant way to establish how committed he is to Hayley. Readers, don’t miss A Deadly Feast to see if Hayley and Nathan make it to the alter on their chosen day. And, don't forget the bonus of some delicious recipes at the end of the story.

I was fortunate to receive a copy of A Deadly Feast from the publisher, and the above is my honest review of a delightful book.


  1. This series has always sounded good to me, so I took the plunge and bought the first one on Kindle.

    1. Oh, good! I started reading this series because I love Key West, Margie, and I still read it for that reason. But, I also read it for the great characters and the great story lines, too. Key West is such a unique place, and Lucy captures it perfectly. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Margie!