Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cozy Mystery Book Tours: Final Sentence

Author: Daryl Wood Gerber
Title: Final Sentence
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date:   July 2, 2013
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Blurb:In need of a change, Jenna Hart leaves the high-pressure world of advertising to help her aunt, Vera, open a culinary bookshop and café. Back with her family in Crystal Cove, California, Jenna seems to have all the right ingredients for a fresh start—until someone adds a dash of murder.

As a marketing expert, Jenna wants to make sure the grand opening of the Cookbook Nook draws a crowd, and no one is better at getting attention than her old college roommate, celebrity chef Desiree Divine. But when Desiree arrives in quiet Crystal Cove to do a cookbook signing, the diva stirs up more trouble than business… especially when she turns up dead.

Known for stealing husbands and burning bridges, Desiree left behind plenty of suspects —including Jenna. Though the celebrity’s life always appeared to be an open book, Jenna will have to read between the lines in order to clear her name, and catch a killer before another body is served cold.

Review: Final Sentence is the first book in a new series by Daryl Wood Gerber and it is a great beginning. In fact, I can find very little about this book that isn't great! The cover is so adorable! And the story is fantastic.

I love Jenna and her aunt Vera who are running the Cookbook Nook bookshop and cafe. And all the other characters are just full of...well...character!

Some characters who will catch your eye are, Pepper...the chief of police's mother and a very nasty woman. Cinnamon, the police chief...who has ties to Jenna's dad, Katie...the chef at the bookshop...Rhett....can you say love interest...(we hope) and of course our dead person Desiree and her entourage!

The flow of this book is perfect. There's enough get to know you information about everyone to make you feel at home in Crystal Cove and the killing happened pretty early on so things stayed interesting.

I also loved all the celebrity chef's that were mentioned in the book as well as their cookbooks. It made me want to put on the Food Network and watch some of my favorite shows.

The best thing about the mystery is how Daryl keeps you guessing until the end about the killer's identity.

This is definitely a series I'm going to be keeping up with. Oh and the recipes look fab!

Rating: 5 flowers

DARYL WOOD GERBER aka AVERY AAMES pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series. As Daryl, she writes A Cookbook Nook Mystery series, featuring a culinary bookshop and café owner. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. As an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more. Visit Daryl & Avery at Check out her recipes on her blog And friend her on Facebook

Every year I go to a writers and fans’ conference called Malice Domestic, held in Maryland. Last year, at a dinner that our editor gave its authors (I have a very nice publishing house), we went to Ruth’s Chris restaurant. The steaks are fabulous, the desserts divine. We swooned so much over the dessert that I promised everyone at our table I would make it my mission to figure out how to make the flourless chocolate cake.

I tried a couple of recipes that I found on the Internet, tweaking until I got it right, but then I was lucky enough to go to Ruth’s Chris again, and I told them my plight. I needed my creation a little bit creamier, a little smoother. I begged the waitress to help me get the secret recipe. The chef was super lovely and sent out a recipe. For about 144 portions!!!  LOL

But I used to do chemistry and I can do math. I broke down that honker of a recipe into what should serve 8-10 comfortably, and this time, the consistency was perfect (if I do say so myself).

Like my protagonist in A Cookbook Nook Mystery who is learning to cook, there are times I feel like I’m out of my depth. This was one of them. But practice makes perfect, or nearly so.

Enjoy a bit of sinful chocolate decadence.  I’ve even provided a half-recipe (for a smaller springform pan).


        2 cups half-and-half
        2/3 cup sugar
        ½ cup applesauce
        2 oz. flavored liquid of your choice (cordials, coffee, etc.) * I used espresso
        2 lbs. dark, milk or mixed chocolate, chopped (5 CUPS)  * I used half dark, half semi-sweet
        6 eggs (whisked)
            Preheat the oven to 300º. Brush a 10" spring-form pan with butter, line the bottom with buttered parchment and wrap the pan in foil in case of any leaks. [MINE DIDN’T LEAK AT ALL BUT IT’S A GOOD PRECAUTION.]
            In a saucepan, bring the half-and-half, sugar, applesauce, and coffee JUST to a boil. Place the chocolate into a mixing bowl.  Pour the hot milk mixture over the chocolate.
            Let sit for a few minutes. [It will melt nicely.]
            Mix at low speed for two minutes.
            Add the eggs in all at once and mix thirty seconds, until incorporated.
            Pour batter into prepared spring-form pan. Bake until the cake is “set” - about 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. The cake will still look wet and slightly loose in the very center, but the edges will be set, slightly puffed and have small cracks. [looks like a cheesecake – I cooked mine one hour then turned off the oven and let it set for another 20 minutes]
            Allow cake to cool on a rack (this takes about 2 full hours), then chill for 6 hours or overnight before removing pan sides. 

Half Recipe for 6” springform pan

1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1 oz. espresso  (2 tablespoons)
1 lbs. dark chocolate chips (approx.. 2 ¾ cup chips)
3 eggs whisked

COOK ONLY 45 MINUTES FOR “MINI” CAKE, let rest 10 minutes in oven, remove cool as before.

TIP OF THE DAY: If you don’t happen to have half-and-half on hand, I found out you can use regular milk plus 1 tablespoon of butter to create half-and-half. I haven’t tried it, but it’s a good thing to know. J

QUESTION: Do you ever take risks in your life? Has anything been so risky that you are certain you’ll never try it?  Have you ever begged a chef for a recipe?  LOL


1 random commenter will win a print copy of Final Sentence. Please leave your email in the comments so I can contact you.

Winner to be announced Monday July 15th


kiki w said...

Can't wait to read this book. Thanks for a great recipe.

bn100 said...

Never asked a chef for a recipe

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

rhonda said...

Recipie sounds delicious

Anonymous said...

I'm not much of a risk taker. I've never asked a chef for a recipe. I do try recipes from the newspaper that come from local restaurants.

This sounds like a great new series.


Donna E said...

No, I don't think I've ever asked a CHEF for a recipe. But I'm always asking friends, or family. This recipe sounds delish - but I don't know that I would ever make it. First, hubby doesn't like chocolate, and especially rich chocolate which this sounds as if it is. Second, I've never had any luck using a spring-form pan, and in fact, gave mine away. Third, :) I'm afraid :) .
And yes, I have taken some risks in my life; but there are more I've never taken, probably because I am afraid of failure [ this cake? lol ]


Linda said...

Sounds like a great recipe and a greater book! Yes, I did get a recipe from a chef.for a dessert similar to tiramisu (but more delicious).


lkleback said...

Really looking forward to this one!

SandyG265 said...

I've asked friends for a recipe but never a chef

Rita Wray said...

Thank you for the review,sounds like a good read.


Elaine said...

The biggest risks I have been taking is driving the 750 miles to my parents' house alone and back. I always fear I will fall asleep. But I did it 4 times last year and one and a half times this year. I did smash my windshield on one trip last year when a big bird committed suicide on it. That shook me up and makes me worry a little more again about those trips.

I have never asked a chef for a recipe. I did once work in an Olive Garden kitchen and wish I could remember the recipes for some things they no longer make, like the 29 layer lasagna. I loved that stuff! But I don't remember what the layers all were.

Elaine said...

Oops! Forgot my email address.

traveler said...

Wonderful post and enticing recipe. I request recipes from my friends who are gourmet cooks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Daryl Wood Gerber a.k.a. Avery Aames said...

Love all these comments. Elaine, I'm so sorry about the big bird in the windshield. Scary!

Donna, I totally get being scared of a springform. I've used one my entire life. My grandmother made a great cheesecake and taught me how to use one. It's all about making sure the cake is entirely cooled (about 2 hours) before removing from the pan.

Linda, want to share that tiramisu recipe? I LOVE tiramisu. I make one gluten-free. :)

Best to all and happy reading.
Savor the mystery.

Daryl aka Avery

petite said...

This recipe is delectable. I don't ask for recipes since most hate to part with their creations. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

I am so not a risk taker. Besides, my cardiologist would probably kill me. As far as asking for recipes, no, I've never asked a chef for their recipe. I will complement them, though.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Congrats Donna Durnell you are the winner

Ann Summerville said...

Recipe looks delicious.

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