Book Review: DEATH ON EAT STREET by J.J. Cook

Series: A Biscuit Bowl Food Truck Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Released: April 1, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Zoe Chase always wanted to own her own restaurant—but first, she’ll have to serve up a heaping helping of meals on wheels, with a side of mystery.

When she’s once again passed over for a promotion at work, Zoe decides to take the big leap and go for her dream. She quits, gives up her fancy digs, and buys a fixer-upper diner in a shady part of town. To keep above water during the renovation, she buys a used food truck to serve the downtown and waterfront of Mobile, Alabama.

Zoe starts to dish out classic Southern food—but her specialty is her deep-fried biscuit bowls that blow traditional bread bowls away.

After a promising start, things start to go downhill faster than a food truck without brakes. First, someone tries to rob the cash register. Next, Zoe is threatened by the owner of a competing food truck for taking their spot. And when the owner ends up dead inside Zoe’s rolling restaurant, Zoe and her sole employee, Ollie, find themselves hopping out of the frying pan into the fryer. They need to find the real killer, before both of them get burned.


DEATH ON EAT STREET is a tantalizing start to a new culinary cozy mystery series from J.J. Cook. I was drawn in by the unique food truck setting, and it was exciting to see how this mystery on wheels played out.

The owner of Mobile’s latest food truck is Zoe Chase, and her specialty is deep fried biscuit bowls filled with savory or sweet treats. Zoe spent years in the banking business, but she gave it all up to follow her dream of opening a restaurant, which irritated her affluent parents to no end. It doesn’t help that  the dilapidated restaurant she bought is in the wrong part of town, or that she has to depend on food truck sales to pay for the renovation. On top of that, poor Zoe finds a dead body in the front seat of her truck on her first day out. Zoe’s new life is not off to a good start.

I enjoyed everything about this book. The murder mystery was well-crafted, and I was so intrigued to learn who and especially what was behind the victim’s death. Very clever. I also thought the characters were wonderful. I felt like I really got to know Zoe, Ollie, and the rest of the colorful cast. Zoe was so likable, and I thought she was brave to take a chance on her dream and not give up when things got crazy. Go, Zoe! I have a sweet spot for Miguel Alexander, the defense lawyer who comes to Zoe’s aid. He’s smart, handsome, and strong, but he has a hidden vulnerable side caused by a tragedy in his past. There was a spark of something between Zoe and Miguel, but it’s going to take a while to grow.

In addition to a great mystery and cast of characters, DEATH ON EAT STREET includes yummy Biscuit Bowl-inspired recipes. This is the first book by J.J. Cook I’ve read (a.k.a. Joyce and Jim Lavene), and I can’t wait to read more.

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.