Key West Food Critic Mystery Series Books by Lucy Burdette

Topped Chef, the third book of the Key West Food Critic Mystery Series

As some of you may know, I used to teach Language Arts. So of course I love to read all types of literature; everything but manuals and text books pretty much! Obviously, I enjoy classic works by authors such as Shakespeare, Shelley, Hemingway and Vonnegut. But I also love to lose myself in a fun book where I can immerse myself in a specific time period or situation. And, if that book has to do with Key West, all the better. I find it refreshing and enjoyable getting another person’s perspective on the island that I call home. So, when a friend of mine said that I had to read An Appetite for Murder which is set in Key West, I logged onto Amazon and downloaded it onto my Kindle immediately.

An Appetite for Murder is the first book in a series called the Key West Food Critic Mysteries. The series’ protagonist, Hayley Snow, is a foodie that followed a boy down to Key West from New Jersey.  While her personal life becomes a shambles shortly after moving to the island, Hayley’s dream job opportunity arises, and the job is hers if she can prove herself as a local food critic for a new magazine, and prove her innocence in a murder investigation that she becomes entangled with.

When I started reading this book I laughed to myself because I felt like I could have been Hayley Snow in my younger days (less the murder investigation). Hayley and I are both from New Jersey, we both had bad taste in guys (luckily I’ve since met my wonderful husband), our parents are divorced and still living in New Jersey, and we are both foodies that like to write. Umm, am I the only one seeing a few similarities here?

Anyway, immediately after I finished reading Appetite I downloaded Death in Four Courses, book number two in the series. In this book, Hayley attends the annual Key West Literary Seminar which happens to be all about food so that she can write a few articles for Key Zest and prove herself at her new job. Hayley soon gets mixed up in another murder investigation after she stumbles upon the body of superstar food critic Jonah Barrows.

Topped Chef is the third and latest book in the series which I finished reading just last week. While Hayley has enjoyed her job as food critic thus far, her waist line has started to expand. Hayley’s answer to this is to exercise which she hopes will also relieve some anxiety she is carrying after getting tapped as a judge on a reality television show. And of course, she finds herself sleuthing around Nancy Drew style once again after one of her fellow judges is found murdered.

Burdette’s fourth book in the Key West series, as yet unnamed, is slated to come out in 2014. And I cannot wait until it does!

While reading the series I find that I agree with pretty much all of Hayley’s food insights on the different restaurants that she dines at for her reviews. And it is fun recognizing scenes from my town. Places and things that I have come to forget about or overlook are written about in a new and exciting light, forcing myself to take a fresh look at Key West. It is obvious that Burdette spends a lot of time visiting Key West researching the area and the many restaurants that dot the island for her mystery series. She is also aware of the different issues that residents of the island face such as cruise ships and dredging and homelessness as she discusses these in her books and they become subplots to the main story.

The series is not a heavy read; it is a fun ride through Key West and its culinary climate. For more information about Lucy Burdette and the Key West Food Critic Mystery Series, check out her website.

Before deciding where you are going to eat while visiting our island home, be sure to read my  other Key West restaurant reviews; check out our restaurant review section of this blog as well as our restaurant reviews.

To see what is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.

Feel free to Email Me if you have any questions about Key West!!

About the author: Island Genn

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