After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.
As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.
My Review: The writing team of Jim and Joyce Lavene (under the pen name JJ Cook) have created a wonderful new Southern cozy series - the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Series - set in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee.
Stella has left a cheating boyfriend behind in Chicago to start up a fire brigade in Sweet Pepper - not knowing there is an ulterior motive behind her being chosen for the job. When her good friend Tory dies in what appears to be an accidental house fire, Stella suspects arson and murder, especially when she discovers suspicious fires have haunted the woman for years. Aided by the ghost of the former fire chief Eric Gamlyn, Stella attempts to sniff out a killer while weeding through the townsfolk's secrets, including a few right in her own family!
There are so many questions left unanswered by the end of this book that the wait for book #2 is going to be a killer. Stella and Eric have developed a surprisingly touching relationship, and are a crime-solving duo to be reckoned with.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.
About the Author:
J. J. Cook is a pseudonym for authors Joyce and Jim Lavene who write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com.