I saved this book to read for a rainy day, and now that we are all socially distant, I’m glad I did. This book made me hungry. Hungry for the next installment and for the amazing food mentioned throughout the mystery.

I read this book expecting it to be a quick, cozy read which would lighten my mood. This title defied my expectations. I found it to be the perfect balance of cozy mystery featuring an amateur sleuth with just the right pinch of domestic noir to hold my interest.

Tessa Esposito struggles with the grief that has consumed her for the past few months. Her husband, Dylan, died in a fiery car crash, and his death ended their dream of a beautiful life together. A life which included plans for Tessa to open a restaurant.

When her cousin, Gino, who is a cop, breaks the news to Tessa that Dylan’s death wasn’t an accident, but murder, it sparks life and determination back into Tessa’s gray existence. She will find out the truth behind Dylan’s murder. As Tessa digs into the last few weeks of Dylan’s life, she discovers that he may not have been the man she thought he was. The revelations she uncovers makes her reevaluate the past ten years she had spent with the man who was her everything.

Catherine Bruns interweaves intrigue and emotions seamlessly throughout the story. I love the descriptions of the food. Tessa takes a job at a local pizza dive (yes, I know bars are dives, but this pizza joint makes a greasy, honky-tonk bar look positively amazing!) to ferret out why her husband had been such a frequent visitor there before his death. As she mixes together the ingredients for her signature spaghetti sauce, she also stirs the pot with the suspects. This story had a red herring in it that I followed all the way to the end I love that I was wrong on guessing the villain!

Catherine has shared some of the recipes mentioned in the story at the end which I consider a bonus. Once this self-isolation is over, I’m rushing to the store and trying the sauce recipe, as I’m sure it will be amazing.

Penne Dreadful is the first book in Bruns’ Italian Chef series. The next title, It Cannoli Be Murder, is due for release on July 28, 2020, but is available for preorder.

You can purchase both book in the series using the links below. Happy reading!

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