Audiobook Review of Chocolate With a Side of Murder

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A missing sister. A spooky abandoned house. A secret meeting. A rogue hypnotherapist. A love triangle. A cute corgi. And chocolate. Plenty of chocolate.
If this is your kind of cozy mystery then you’ll love Chocolate With A Side Of Murder.
Sabrina Daley is still haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her sister ten years before. Even though the case went cold long ago, she keeps holding out hope that one day she will discover what happened to her sister.
Sabrina’s life is turned upside down again when she discovers her friend’s dead body in the alley way behind her family’s coffee shop. If that isn’t bad enough, after a week of investigating, the local police appear to be stumped.
Terrified about a second case going cold in town, Sabrina decides to take matters into her own hands. She sets out on her own, determined not to give up until she has brought her friend’s killer to justice.

Narration:  The narration for this audiobook was okay.  The character distinction between male and female was good.  Between the female voices there was adequate differentiation but some more was needed for the male voices.  Sometimes the narrator’s intonations and tonality seemed ‘off’ (either too casual or without appropriate emotion) but I found that improved somewhat as the story progressed.  (3/5)

Production:  Sound quality was generally good. The audio was clear and sound levels were consistent.  I picked up three blips in the audio where entire sentences were repeated.  (4/5)

Overall Experience:  Overall this story translated to audio well, despite some issues with narration and audio repeats. (4/5)

The story:

Sabrina is the manager at her family’s coffee shop, the Daley Buzz and gets pulled into solving a murder mystery when a fellow business owner is found murdered.  Through the prologue and many flashbacks used in this narrative, we discover that Sabrina’s sister disappeared many years ago.  She carries the trauma of that incident everyday.  Her sister’s case may have gone cold but she refuses to let that happen to Andrew’s case.

Sabrina takes it upon herself to investigate the crime, when local police (with whom her boyfriend is a detective) can’t find any leads.  Unfortunately once she assumes the role of investigator she becomes an almost unrecognisable, overly brusque version of the Sabrina we initially meet.  There seems to be no justification given for her haranguing of suspects, except that she wants justice for Andrew.

The whole mystery plays out through a series of interviews with suspects and we get a chance to meet several viable suspects wth clear motives.  The mystery is fairly well  plotted and the pacing of the story is good.

Some things I liked:

  • The coastal setting for the story is well-described and flows well into the narrative.
  • The coffee shop setting is quite cosy and that comes through in the writing.
  • There are several interesting elements introduced that can carry over into later stories e.g. the missing sister and the ‘maybe’ haunted house.
  • There’s a fair variety of suspects and their motives, for the most part, are all sound.
  • The cover is really cute.

Some things I didn’t like:

  • The main character is, I’m sorry, really annoying.  She turns from a quite likeable young woman into a rude, arrogant, pushy, over-opinionated investigator.  I actually found myself rooting for her suspects in the interviews, she was that unbearable.  She was even teasing a homeless guy with a $10 bill at one point.
  • Which brings me to another issue. Why are the ‘suspects’ bothering to answer her questions? She has absolutely no authority to ask them and isn’t being nice about it.
  • Almost every word and action of the main character and those close to her are overanalysed.  We go through minutes (in the audio version) of analysis as to all the possible reasons the main character’s friend needs a triple shot instead of her usual.
  • There’s an awful lot of “staring into eyes” while she decides if her suspects are telling the truth.
  • We keep hearing that the boyfriend is a “great” detective.  He’s so good yet he’s at a loss on how to proceed with his investigation after two days?

I think there is so much potential in this story.  There are some very interesting elements that I hope are played out, especially in the later stories.  The missing sister story line is quite intriguing.  Unfortunately, I think the execution of these ideas needs some tightening and, for that reason, I’m not in a rush to read more.

I decided to go with three espresso shots for this review as I do find the mystery itself was interesting and that the suspects, for the most part, were credible.

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Disclaimer: I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.


32 thoughts on “Audiobook Review of Chocolate With a Side of Murder

Add yours

  1. Great review! 💕 This sounded good then your review kind of led me astray from it. I don’t like a bad main character, especially one that teases a homeless man.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I hate it when the MC is annoying like that. She sounds unbearable and I think I’ll pass on this one. Too bad considering the title and cover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve listened to about 4 cozies now and enjoyed it for the most part. You won’t know for sure until you try it for yourself. It was a bit weird the first time, I’ll admit. But i’ve gotten used to it now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! It’s hard to read a book with annoying characters for sure. 5 hours isn’t too bad on the time either! Thanks for sharing your likes and dislikes. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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