Monday, January 6, 2014

Hello all! It's been a long time, but I'm back up and running and I can't think of a better way to start the new year than with a review of the following book.

PLAYING WITH FIRE by J. J. Cook. Book #2 in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery series.

Welcome to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s home to the hottest and sweetest peppers in the world—as well as at least one ghost and a hotbed of secrets…


Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn—who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes—and the lawman.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stella’s parents soon arrive—with her ex-boyfriend—hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she’d better think fast or more than her investigation could go up in flames…

PLAYING WITH FIRE is the second installment in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery series by J. J. Cook…A.K.A. authors Joyce and Jim Lavene.

I have been looking forward to this story since reading the first in the series THAT OLD FLAME OF MINE. PLAYING WITH FIRE not disappoint and was certainly worth the wait! (If I had my way, this series would have a new installment at least 2 times a year. But if the authors keep doing downloadable shorts such as HERO’S JOURNEY to keep me in the Sweet Pepper loop, I can live with, though restlessly, a new main title once a year.)

I really felt for Stella in this story. Not only is she trying to discover what really happened to her predecessor, Chief Eric Gamlyn, trying to find justice for her friend and ghostly house mate, but she is torn about her job. Should she stay in Sweet Pepper as their Fire Chief or should she return home to Chicago and her life and job there. If her parents, ex-boyfriend and a few Sweet Pepper residents have any say in the matter, she’ll go back to Chicago. But if the rest of the fire brigade, other residents and Eric have their way, Stella will stay put in Sweet Pepper. Either way, she’s not leaving until she gets to the bottom of what really happened to Eric, which turns out to be easier said than done.

I was drawn in from page one and each page there after held my attention. Mysteries, danger and question after question left me captivated.  Sweet Pepper and the fire brigade are vividly brought to life. The characters are so rich and the situations so real, I felt I was part of the story. PLAYING WITH FIRE was one of those stories that I really dreaded to see end because I knew I would have a hard time finding another book to draw me in as fast as it did.

My advice…Do yourself a favor (and a friend or two while you’re at it), buy this book as fast as you can! You won’t be sorry.

If you haven’t read THAT OLD FLAME OF MINE and HERO’S JOURNEY, remember to get them as well!