Crunch Time: A Novel of Suspense

Image of Crunch Time: A Novel of Suspense
Release Date: 
April 4, 2011
HarperLuxe Adult
Reviewed by: 

Caterer and professional snoop Goldy Schulz lives in Aspen Meadows, Colorado, a small, friendly town where everyone knows everyone. The hills are mossy green in the summer and in winter children play hockey and moms watch while sipping cocoa as snowflakes gently fall. Church potlucks are common and the wealthy live happily side-by-side with those less fortunate.

If this place seems too good to be true—it is. Aspen Meadows (not a real town) might just be the murder capitol of Colorado. After reading Crunch Time and watching the bodies stack up, it might even be the murder capitol of the country, and you have to wonder why Goldy and her family haven’t packed their pots and pans and fled in the night.

In this, the 16th book of the series, Goldy cooks up a mess of a plot as she tries to help her longtime friend and fellow chef Yolanda Garcia out of a jam or two. It seems that the rental house shared by Yolanda and her pain-in-the-butt aunt Ferdinanda, has been destroyed by arson. Then there is a dead ex-cop. And a litter of puppies and stolen family jewels and shady Cubans.

By the end of the second chapter, the reader will feel as if Mott Davidson has already thrown in the (kitchen) towel.

Concerned for her friends, Goldy invites them to stay with her and her son, Arch, and her husband, Tom—a sheriff’s department investigator—which is where the belief factor really starts to get suspicious. When Tom cooks up a ham dinner and all the fixings’ for the guests while they are being grilled by the cops and then shares information with his wife, the plot is already such a mess that even an expert chef like Goldy can’t save this one.

Ms. Mott Davidson has a huge following; and her cozy mysteries have entertained readers for more than a decade. While her books are, for the most part as light as meringue, the recipes and the peeks behind-the-scenes of a caterer’s life make up for the easy-to-read plots and fluffy characters.

In the past her books have been enjoyable, but this one is filled with so many convoluted storylines it may leave even the biggest fan with indigestion.

Filling the pages of this confusing book are too many characters, too many murders and too many subplots. Goldy, who is supposed to be an amateur sleuth à la Miss Marple, ignores the dangers to her family as she goes about gathering clues to solve the murders. She gives false statements to the cops, breaks into suspect’s homes and commits all sorts of other crimes along the way.

Her husband not only covers up her criminal behavior, but encourages it. When Goldy and Tom make a decision at the end of the book it’s completely out of the blue—forget the fact that it’s unbelievable.

Logic, not to mention suspense, is completely thrown down the drain in this overdone and overlong book. It seems that, for some reason, the author decided to work without a recipe this time around.

When the last page of Crunch Time has been turned, the reader will conclude that the author is the only one who is getting away with murder.