Genres: Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths
Published by Amazon Digital Services Source: Purchased
April 11, 2015 | Pages: 149
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Despite the sudden loss of her aunt, Maeve Kinkaid is thrilled when she inherits the popular food truck Dogs on the Roll. She has no idea how cutthroat the food industry can be. She meets a Basque chef whose interest in her is overshadowed by his desire to possess the food truck, which he insists Maeve’s aunt promised to leave to him. And when the owner of a rival food truck is decapitated and served up like a gruesome new dish, Maeve becomes embroiled in a mystery that may cost her the food truck, the chef, and her life.
Murder to Go is fast paced, with murders, clues, and new suspects coming along all the time. Maeve’s strained relationship with chef Land, who had believed he was to inherit the truck, makes for a tense work environment, but she follows his lead with the food, chopping, cleaning and taking orders at the window. When detective Jax Danvers treats Maeve as a potential suspect in the murder of rival food truck owner, his questions about her business raise her curiosity into how her elderly aunt decided to buy a food truck and was able to finance it. At first more questions arise than answers, but when Maeve discovers the decapitated body of a health inspector, Jax starts to look at her more closely and Maeve realizes she is more involved than she thought. Maeve and Land begin to talk about the business and her aunt a bit, learning more about each other, but almost always ending on an awkward or suspicious tone. Maeve has to carry on until an almost bitter, definitely acrid, end proves she’s a victim in all of this too. Murder to Go has many twists and kept me guessing as to the bad guys up until the reveal.
Much of the confusion in Murder to Go could have been avoided if the three main characters spoke with each other. At times, it seemed like each was actually deliberately keeping secrets that would clear their own name or help another find more information. The murders, while spectacular, were not described as much as stated, and didn’t make sense in the context of their situations. A decapitation would cause extreme splatter and blood would be all over the killer, yet both murders happen during the day and everyone around gets up close to the body before they realize something is wrong. The police didn’t seem to be doing any actual detecting, just following Maeve around as she discovered information.
As the main character, Maeve was unusually difficult to know. She comes across as very self-centered and impulsive and rarely seems to empathize with others. She is definitely on the prowl, always checking men’s left hands for a ring, but she has no girlfriends to serve as wingman and seems to have no social life outside of an occasional meal with her parents. Even that relationship is based on what they can do for Maeve, letting her live at home and do nothing when she was unemployed and meeting up to give her information, yet her descriptions of them are mostly belittling. Both Land and Detective Jax are described as very attractive, possibly making for a love triangle going forward with the series. Land has a mysterious secret and is a more developed character while Jack is very one dimensional as a jerky, suspicious cop going after the first potential suspect.
Overall I felt like Murder to Go could have used some fleshing out of characters, and more details at the beginning about the origin of the truck. The mystery and murders make sense, and readers are given information at a good pace, but not necessarily in the best order to follow the crime. There is also one murder that is not solved, and questions about setting up the business that still need to be answered. This leaves things open for a sequel but is not really a cliffhanger because I don’t care enough about the characters to deliberately come back and have these questions answered. I would read a second book, but not for those answers.