Readers are thrown headfirst into an imaginative mystery when they open the pages of Bonnie S. Calhoun’s debut novel, Cooking the Books. Her main character, Sloane Templeton, used to work in a Cyber Crimes Unit investigating computer forensics. She decided to give up that life when she inherited her mother’s bookstore. Now she works hard to juggle looking after her eccentric aunt and her zany customers. But the real mystery begins when Sloane starts getting cyber threats.
Things keep getting worse for Sloane as the story progresses. The threatening emails and messages on her work computers are easy to ignore. Her abusive ex-boyfriend, Trey, is not. Sloane wonders if it’s safe for her to continue dating the stunningly handsome Andreas. Aunt Verline and the bookstore manager, Fifi, contribute a lot to the story while attempting to keep Sloan out of trouble. The real uniting feature among the female characters is their lack of respect from the men in their lives. Verbal and physical abuse unites them. Sloane and her lady companions grow as the novel progresses, and they learn to look at themselves as “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139: 14).
For a first novel, Bonnie S. Calhoun has woven an admirable tale. Cooking the Books, with its quirky characters and twisting plot, would be best enjoyed by women who are interested in urban mysteries. It is by no means limited to that crowd though. This reader would recommend it to avid cozy mystery fans and Christian readers looking for a light enjoyable book. – Katelyn S. Irons, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
After her mother dies from a heart attack, Sloane Templeton goes from Cyber Crimes Unit to bookstore owner before she can blink. She also "inherits" a half-batty store manager; a strange bunch of little old people from the neighborhood who meet at the store once a week, but never read books, called the Granny Oakleys Book Club; and Aunt Verline, who fancies herself an Iron Chef when in reality you need a cast iron stomach to partake of her culinary disasters. And with a group like this you should never ask, “What else can go wrong?”
A lot! Sloane begins to receive cyber threats. While Sloane uses her computer forensic skills to uncover the source of the threats, it is discovered someone is out to kill her. Can her life get more crazy?