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Book Review: Easy as Pie at Bobby’s Diner by Susan Wingate

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If the Ladies No.1 Detective Agency staff ran the Whistle Stop Cafe, the result would resemble Bobby's Diner and its sequel, Easy as Pie at Bobby's Diner. It has nothing to do with pie, in case you're wondering. Let's clear that up right at the start.

Comparable to Fried Green Tomatoes, the Ivy Towers Mystery series and The Potluck Catering Club series, in Easy as Pie Susan Wingate continues the story from her first success, Bobby's Diner. She has a contract for two more in this series about Georgette Carlisle, a southern gal transplanted to the American Southwest where she stole the heart of the owner of Bobby's Diner and wound up running it with Bobby's first wife, Vanessa, then Vanessa's daughter, Roberta, who is also the mayor.

The hoopla over the antagonist from the first book, Zach Pinzer, trying to secure ownership of the restaurant continues. Although incarcerated in the Mariposa County jail, Pinzer manages to manipulate Georgette's life through her new boyfriend, Hawthorne Biggs, who beds her dear friend, Helen, when he learns she may buy into the diner. This same "friend" also tried to seduce Bobby before he died five years ago.

After the first few very short chapters, no one will confuse Wingate's writing with chicklit. These are older, more mature women, though the text is strewn with name brands. They are not chic, or sophisticated in the least, and Sunnydale, Arizona, is nothing like New York City (or any other major metropolitan area). Georgette, 45 or 49, and Helen are middle-aged widows.  Roberta is married, but you do the math about her age.

The series is categorized as adult (and does contain violence and rough language about sex), mainstream, mystery, amateur sleuth, women's fiction and romance.The book is also described as a "breezy read," and readers may feel as if they are constantly trying to catch up in the story's breathless headlong rush to a predictable, if convoluted, climax. Georgette is owned by a cat named "Gangster" who provides a little relief in the story's relentless pace.  Gangster also plays an important part in untangling the the complicated mysteries of what's really happening.

Susan WingateBiggs and a cohort commit mayhem and almost murder both the cat and one of the characters, all of this supposedly masterminded by Pinzer from prison.  Can you sustain willing disbelief long enough to discover who did what to whom? How about a shootout with a flare gun?  And then there's all that gratuitous filthy language — F-bombs away!

The publisher, Blue Star Books, seems to be an offshoot of the distributor Book Hub.  I could find little about the company/companies, and I wondered if this publication was a co-op or subsidy arrangement, although the author has other published books written under pen names. My doubts were reinforced by the inability to access the book's press kit or find a decent photo of the author. She has a website and supposedly ran a recipe contest at another website that simply redirects to the author's site, which does not mention any contest.

Perhaps you'll have better luck finding Georgette's Facebook page which apparently already held a recipe contest.  The three winners appear in the back of the book.  The author started a Twitter account for her main character in December, 2009. It contains 14 tweets, mainly to well-known names. One includes a link to a website for the first book. It displays an ad for Vista Print. I think it's been hijacked.  Perfect, considering Georgette's adventures.

Consider Easy as Pie at Bobby's Diner a perfect beach read.  Or take it on a short plane trip for mindless perusal, punctuated by periodic language shocks to keep you awake.

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About Georganna Hancock

San Diego publisher, freelance editor and writer, blogged almost daily for eight years at A WRITERS EDGE. She helps writers on the path to writing success with critiques, edits and publishing advice. Find her author page on Amazon and her epublications in her Amazon Shop. Her business profile is on LinkedIn and her tweets on Twitter, where she's aka @GLHancock. Georganna's first writing appeared in print in the 1960s. She worked as a journalist for many years. She reviewed books for the FORT PIERCE NEWS TRIBUNE and THE LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL and wrote for THE MIAMI HERALD, regional publications, and many national magazines. She was a member of the National Book Critics Circle, the San Diego Professional Editors Network and the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, for which she served as Web Manager. Books reviewed may have been received as gifts. All her writings are protected by U.S. copyright law.