Hummus and Homicide
By Tina Kashian
A Kebab Kitchen Mystery #1
When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she’s getting—the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn’t on the menu . . .
Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn’t mind. She doesn’t even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It’s fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who’s married to a cop now.
She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school . . . and unfortunately, she’s just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen—where she’s tallied up a whole list of bogus violations—she falls down dead in the street. Word on the grapevine is it’s homicide, and Lucy’s the number one suspect . . .
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With Hummus and Homicide debut author Tina Kashian begins a delightful culinary cozy mystery series set on New Jersey’s coast. It’s character depth that makes or breaks a story for me, rather than food or a similar theme – and this story delivered. Kashian uses an ethnic family restaurant as the backdrop for an engaging family and supporting cast that makes me want to read more. But I will say that fans of culinary mysteries will absolutely adore this story.
Family helped family …
One of the things I liked most is that, at its heart, this is a story about family. Thinking back to why she left her family and the restaurant eight years earlier, Lucy reflected that “the smothering could be as thick as the sugar syrup on her mother’s baklava – sticky, sweet, and as effective as superglue.” But Lucy came to realize where her passion truly lay and the bottom line is that “family helps family.” I liked Lucy’s parents, but would like to see them fleshed out more in future stories.
The mystery itself is well-crafted and the murder’s identity was a complete surprise. There’s also a couple of romantic interests for Lucy – Azad, her first love who is a chef, and Michael, a bad-boy type whose father owns the bicycle shop next door. It’s too early to have a clear favorite, but I’m leaning toward #Team Azad.
Hummus and Homicide is a clean book, with the exception of a little mild profanity that I wish had been omitted. Tina Kashian is a fresh voice in the cozy mystery genre and I hope this series goes on for a good while. Book #2, Stabbed in the Backlava, releases in August 2018.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Tina Kashian spent her childhood summers at the New Jersey shore, building sand castles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business where her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. She worked almost every job—rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager.
After college, Tina worked as a NJ Deputy Attorney General, a patent attorney, and a mechanical engineer. Her law cases inspired an inquiring mind of crime, and since then, Tina has been hooked on mysteries. The Kebab Kitchen Cozy Mystery series launches with Hummus and Homicide, followed by Stabbed in the Baklava and One Feta in the Grave by Kensington Books.
Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit www.tinakashian.com and join her Newsletter to enter free contests to win books, get delicious recipes, and to learn when her books will be released.