Funeral Hotdish by Jana Bommersbach

Funeral Hotdish by Jana Bommersbach
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Recent Historical, Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (238 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Sensational crime, intrepid reporter, deaths too close to home Seeing Sammy the Bull Gravano strut through a Phoenix restaurant shocks investigative reporter Joya Bonner. The notorious Mafia hitman nineteen murders and FBI snitch testimony sent Godfather John Gotti to prison is hidden in the federal Witness Protection Program, yet he s now a successful drug lord. His products travel national highways with tragic results for Joya s Midwest hometown, where grief turns to revenge, violence, and murder. By chasing the biggest scoop of her career, Joya risks her job, her love, and her life to see if Sammy can be stopped. Can she spur her family and neighbors at home to do more than let sleeping dogs lie?”

This funeral hotdish is more like a good chili – a whole lot going on and with a dash of spice.
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I love a good mystery. I cut my teeth on Agatha Christie novels when I was in junior high, so when I saw this book up for grabs, I nabbed it.

The premise of Funeral Hotdish is exciting. There’s possible murder, overdoses, family drama… oh and a mob situation to boot. With all of that in the plot, the story kept my attention. I wanted to know how everything would shake out. I mean, Sammy Gravano and John Gotti in a book? Yeah, this has to be a winner.

Well…kind of a winner. While the book was good and the plot had more twists and turns than a mountain road, I had a few issues.  Ms. Bommersbach has a definitive writing style and while she’s descriptive, the author tends to head hop a bit. I had to go back an reread to make sure I knew whose point of view I was in a few times. Some readers might not be bothered by this. Unfortunately, I was. Another thing I had a tick of trouble with were the descriptive parts. Now don’t get me wrong. I felt like I was right there with Joya sorting out this mystery. I did. But there were times the story felt more like informational dumps, rather than pulling me in with description.

Now I know it sounds like I wasn’t thrilled. Not so. There is a thread of family and heartbreak that runs through this tale and I’m glad it did. It made me more emotionally involved with the story. The teen and boyfriend who takes the ecstasy…that thread hit close to home because the time the story is set (the late 1990s) was a formative time for me. I could see my friends in the characters of Amber and Johnny. So kudos to Ms. Bommersbach for reeling me in that way.

If you want a book that’s got twists and turns to boot, has characters you won’t forget and heart, then this might be the story for you.

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