Retro Reading: Red Velvet Revenge by Jenn McKinlay
A Little Get Away Can Be Murder
When Fairy Tale Cupcakes' teen employee Oz inherits an old ice cream truck his first thought is to take the bakery on the road. He thinks it'd be a cool idea but owners Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura aren't so sure.
Thus begins the fourth installment of the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series by Jenn McKinlay.
In Red Velvet Revenge Oz convinces the girls (and Marty) to hop in and take a spin with him but things go wrong (much to the delight of rival baker Olivia Puckett) when the truck breaks down on the freeway. But luck is on their side when local legend Slim Hazzard and his wife pull up and take them back to the bakery.
Marty's enthralled with meeting the legend and as a gesture of thanks, Melanie gives the couple some cupcakes which they fawn over. Even though its a hot summer and business is way down, Slim invites them come up to the annual Juniper Pass Rodeo to sell cupcakes. The girls don't think it'd be a good idea but are convinced after Slim tells them how many people will be in attendance.
After agreeing to go north for a week, they have to figure out how to get Oz's truck fixed and Angie asks one of her brothers to help her out. The truck comes back ready for service and the gang (along with silent partner Tate Harper) head north along with 20,000 cupcakes.
On the night of the rodeo parade someone takes a shot at Slim and he's not going to let a little flesh wound cancel the rodeo. The rodeo is one of the town's biggest moneymakers and without it the town will go broke.
As they prepare to open the truck the next morning, they discover their truck has been sabotaged to shut down. The group believe that "neighbors" Billy and Bob of the barbeque station had a hand in the destruction. They seem to be the suspects since they were teasing them about their cupcakes and can't see how anyone would pass up meat in favor of cupcakes.
While they were able to salvage some cupcakes, Melanie comes up with an idea for cake pops and French toast cupcakes. As in any good book they became a hit with the massive crowd and Oz has also created some Vegan cupcakes.
Even though Slim was doing fine after being wounded, the focus of events turn to bull riding star Ty Stokes who was found dead in a barn. Unfortunately, one of the outsiders has to become a suspect and the unlikely Oz has the murder pinned on him.
Oz tries to convince everyone he was at the local diner using the kitchen so that he could come up with the Vegan cupcakes.
Having now read all four books in this series (I suggest grabbing all books in a series and reading them one after another) I have to say this one is probably the best so far. I think it's because McKinley took the characters out of their comfort zone and took them on a "working vacation." It works well and as a reader, all of the minor characters aren't on top of one another vying for attention.
In the future I hope Angie and Tate become a little more active when it comes to solving the crimes. With Melanie carrying the burden it does get a little cumbersome and really it would be beneficial if the movie quotes would slow down.
Once again at the ending of the book you'll find some great cupcake recipes to keep your stomach rumbling!