Fresh Meat: Fry Another Day by J.J. Cook

Fry Another Day by J.J. Cook is the 2nd culinary cozy mystery in the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck series (available February 3, 2015).

In Fry Another Day, the second installment the Biscuit Bowl food truck series by J.J. Cook, Zoe Chase takes her show on the road as part of the Sweet Magnolia Food Truck Race, a televised reality competition which could net her truck $50,000 and fame and glory. She’s in it to win it with her unique deep-fried biscuit bowls offering both sweet and savory options, until mayhem and murder creep into the culinary mix.

First, Zoe hears a commotion inside one of her fellow contestants’ food trucks, and with the cameras rolling, Zoe’s also the unlucky one to stumble upon the victim.

“We heard a bad sound inside.” I filled Alex in on why Miguel and I were there.

“What kind of sound, Zoe?” Alex wondered.

“I’m not sure.”

He conversed with the officers as they worked. “What are you hoping to uncover here? What do you think happened? Should our other drivers be worried?”           

The officers stared at him like he was crazy.

The cameras was taping everything when the officers finally managed to pry open the door to the Dog House. It splintered away from the side wall. Reggie wasn’t going to be able to use it again.

But it didn’t matter.

Reggie was on the floor with a refrigerator on his chest. It looked as though he might not need a door, or a food truck, ever again.

At first, nobody’s sure whether it was murder, or whether the show will go on. As things start to look more sinister, it’s decided that they’ll press forward to their next location. When they do, Zoe finds that the wires to the Biscuit Bowl are cut. The police are ready to finger the man she’s crushed out on, her cute, mysterious attorney Miguel, who’s taken time off to travel with Zoe and her team. Yet she also has to keep selling her wares, even when the host of the series winds up getting fried. Will nothing stop the race? While Zoe scrambles to sell her tempting biscuit bowls against some stiff competition, she’s also trying to make sure she makes it to the finish line alive.

This spirited cozy offers a scrumptious Southern feel along with a zany cast of characters and a few budding romances as the food trucks travel from Charlotte to Columbia to Birmingham to Mobile. The competitors face unexpected requests from the show, intent on upping their ratings and keeping viewers interested, and those of the more life-or-death variety. This provides plenty of humor mixed in with the danger, as the producers make these chefs work for their money in ways that will especially amuse those who watch Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race—these are definitely challenges that would be too crazy or, in some cases, hot for TV! After they’ve served food on roller skates and made their signature dishes upside down, the show makes them bare some skin as they entice new eaters.

“Now the fun part of this challenge.” Patrick demonstrated how “fun” it was by laughing almost hysterically. “Everyone on the teams has to dress in bikinis, just like our girls up here. Ladies take a bow.”

The two young women bowed gracefully.

“One of our sponsors, By the Beach—featuring beach toys, towels, swimsuits, and other fun items—now found at more than one hundred locations across the Southeast, has donated bikinis for our teams in every shape, size, color, and style. In other words, we’ve got you covered! No excuses.”

Daryl Barbee stood up at his table and tossed down his big hat. “I am not wearing a bikini tomorrow. This is a stupid challenge.”

Everyone watched him storm out of the room. The cameras followed him, loving the controversy. His wife, Sarah, blushed and shrugged but didn’t comment on her husband’s temper tantrum.

Cook does an excellent job of keeping the story moving, adding suspense to the whodunnit as well as the food competition. The interpersonal drama between Zoe and her team along with the wacky ways they go about courting customers make this a winner of a culinary cozy.

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Rachel Kramer Bussel is a freelance and erotica writer, and editor of over 50 anthologies, including The Big Book of Orgasms69 Sexy StoriesOnly You: Erotic Romance for Women; Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission and others. She tweets @raquelita and blogs at Lusty Lady.

Read all of Rachel Kramer Bussel's posts for Criminal Element.


  1. Joyce Lavene

    Thanks for the great review!

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