Review: Gluten for Punishment by Nancy J. Parra

Description (from cover):

‘Gluten-free baker Toni Holmes may not cook with wheat, but when there’s a criminal on the loose, she’ll do what it takes to figure out who has their finger in the pie…
Even though Toni is used to going against the grain by preparing allergy-safe, gluten-free produces for her online bakery, Baker’s Treat, opening a storefront in the middle of wheat country Kansas might be biting off more than she can chew. The town is already skeptical of her flour-free ways, but when a local wheat farmer is murdered outside her patisserie, skepticism turns into outright suspicion.
With the help of her eccentric grandmother, her handsome lawyer, and the sexy new widower in town, Toni is determined to find the real criminal before bad publicity and increasingly personal acts of vandalism shut her down. But when another suspect winds up dead, Toni realizes that this half-baked killer isn’t just trying to get her to close her shop–he’s trying to make sure that she’s made her last gluten-free cookie…forever.’

My thoughts:

Having this year learned that I have celiac disease which necessitates a gluten-free lifestyle and loving cozy murder mysteries, I knew that I just had to read this book. I love the culinary mysteries because of the recipes at the end of the books, but I usually can’t use those because I have to eat gluten-free. So to find a book that has gluten free recipes and features a sleuth who has the same lifestyle as I do, it’s pretty cool. Celiac disease is a growing concern in a overly-processed America where there are a lot of skepticism about it being a real allergy or disease. Let me just say that to have an author promote the disease and educate the public about a big issue is pretty cool to me. 
I really enjoyed the characters in this book and felt like this was a good mystery. It was a little predictable and I knew who the murderer was pretty fairly early on. The characters are quirky, especially Toni’s grandmother, but they really make the story fun. I will most definitely be continuing the series, because it really does have a lot of potential. It does need some work on the mystery part, but I think with time this series could turn into something great.
Toni has just opened a gluten-free bakery in the heart of wheat-country, Kansas and she has to fight skepticism and being a little different from the normal. I thought that this was a cute little mystery that definitely fits the cozy mold. I think that this series is one that gluten-free readers and regular readers will come to enjoy and I encourage you to pick this one up if you enjoy culinary cozy-themed mysteries. Just don’t expect to have a complex murder mystery on your hands. A good solid debut.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  Gluten for Punishment
Author:  Nancy J. Parra
Series:  Baker’s Treat Mystery #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  May 7, 2013
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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