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December 27, 2023

Coconut Drop Dead by Olivia Matthews ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Brooklyn’s annual Caribbean American Heritage Festival is finally here, and Spice Isle Bakery is thrilled to be one of the event’s food vendors. After all, the Murrays have been attending the festival for years. Co-owner Lyndsay Murray hopes their West Indian pastries and finger foods draw people back to the bakery in Little Caribbean. She’s looking forward to having fun, connecting with customers, and celebrating with her family. The day's festivities are cut short when Camille, lead singer of an up-and-coming reggae band, dies. The police think it may be a tragic accident. But Lyndsay’s cousin Manny was close to Camille, and he believes someone cut her life short. Now Manny needs Lyndsay’s help to make sure a killer faces the music.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of cozy mystery Coconut Drop Dead by Olivia Matthews
December 2023; Minotaur Books; 978-1250839084
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); cozy mystery

Coconut Drop Dead
 is book 3 in the Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries series. I read book 1 Against the Current but somehow missed book 2 Hard Dough Homicide. Even if you haven't read the first two books, you can start the series with this book with no problems. We are repeatedly reminded of what happened in the previous books.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned while reviewing Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal by Raquel V. Reyes that at first I confused it with another series. This is the other series that I was confusing it with. If you enjoy the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series then I'm sure you will enjoy this series.

 I like the characters of the Spice Isle Bakery series and the unique cultural flavor of the series. There is definitely a lot of diversity in the book. 

Overall I enjoyed the story. There is a lot of repetition in the book though that got on my nerves. I lost track of how many times were are told that both the main character Lyndsay and her mother had been the  focus of murder investigations. And I really wondered if we needed to be told every time Lyndsay inhaled that she smelled stew, jerk, and curry along with cinnamon and nutmeg. And what is up with the detailed description of clothing. No one wore khaki shorts, it had to be sand or taupe or stone colored. I found myself skimming a lot of the book because there was so much unnecessary detail provided.

As I read more cozy mysteries, I'm finding that I don't care as much for the ones that have incompetent police people. So while I do like when the amateur sleuth and the police detective work together, having the amateur sleuth show up the detective (and everyone point it out constantly) is a tired trope that I'm liking less and less. Right now how Bryce acts - jumping to conclusions, going with the easiest explanation even if it doesn't all add up - I'm not sure why Lyndsay would want to be in a relationship with him. I'm not saying that he can't occasionally be wrong or make a mistake, but repeatedly making the same mistake is not good, particularly if you want me to see him as a potential love interest.

The clues to the case are dribbled out so you can't really solve the case before the characters do. I think it is ironic that I've read two books recently that had the victim falling down stairs and they both used the way the victim landed as proof of murder but in each book the victim landed differently and the reasons the characters in each book gave for why it proved murder contradicted each other so now I want to look up whether how someone falls down the stairs can be used to indicate murder.

If you are looking for a book with colorful characters that is quick but fun read, then you should try this novel. If you are interested in Caribbean cooking be sure to check out the recipes. I've been looking for a sweet potato pudding recipe since I had it in Jamaica and so I'm looking forward to trying that recipe from the book.

Buy Coconut Drop Dead at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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