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Review: Dying on the Vine by Marla Cooper

Spirited wedding planner Kelsey McKenna juggles a sabotaged wedding and a cold-blooded killer in beautiful California wine country in this hilarious follow-up to Terror in Taffeta.

Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna just signed on to a dream gig. She’s going to be the “day-of” coordinator at the beautiful Higgens Estate in California wine country. There’s only one problem: the wedding was originally planned by Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings, who the father of the bride has fired.

Kelsey decides to clear the air with Babs and make sure there are no hard feelings, but before she can throw herself into executing the perfect wedding, she discovers Babs dead on the floor of his office. David, Babs’ assistant is quick to point the finger very publicly at Kelsey. Even worse, Kelsey learns that with the big day only weeks away, the bitter little man has sabotaged her new clients’ wedding by canceling all the vendor contracts.

With the help of her friend Brody and assistant Laurel, Kelsey must scramble to salvage the wedding while dodging gossipy wedding planners, grumpy winemakers, and a cold-blooded killer in this smart, funny cozy perfect for fans of Carolyn Haines.

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Kelsey McKenna is a destinations wedding planner, however, this particular story takes place where she lives.  The story begins with her helping her best friend, Brody, work a wedding faire and ends in a near death experience.

Kelsey is use to the craziness of bridezillas, but when she discovers the body of a fellow wedding planner, she finds herself surrounded in a cloud of suspicion. Especially when she discovers that her new clients were originally clients of the murder victim.  This leaves Kelsey balancing a murder investigation and wedding planning, which of course, is a recipe for disaster.

Kelsey is one of those characters who tries her best to solve the murder, clear her name, and keep her clients happy.  Yet, all of her efforts leave her looking more guilty and further in harm’s way.  This is especially true as Brody, Laurel, and Kelsey try to take a book from crime solving television shows.  They even go as far as to create a murder board, which would have been a great idea, if one of Kelsey’s clients wasn’t a suspect.

I still wouldn’t classify this as a cozy mystery.  But it’s an enjoyable murder mystery and at the end of the day, the fact that Kelsey doesn’t have a cop sidekick, works so well in this book’s favor.  This is truly an amateur sleuth who is trying to clear her own name and solve a mystery.  I think that’s why these books appeal to me and I look forward to reading more.

Reviewer’s Note: I received this advanced reader copy from Netgalley.

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About Kristine

As an aspiring author, avid bookworm, fitness fanatic and dedicated mother, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I write or post about things I'm passionate about and spend my time trying to make the most of every day. Life may be a tough journey, but I have my ruby red slippers and am content on skipping along this yellow brick road until the end of the line.

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