Besides the murder victims found on Ruthie’s husband’s projects, Alene struggles with withholding knowledge of the first crime scene, via the early morning foray with Kofi and Kasey, from her beau, Detective Frank Shaw. She finds herself in quite a dilemma, having promised Kasey and Kofi to stay mum while knowing from her own experiences with her ex-husband, Neal, that keeping secrets is hazardous to building and maintaining a trusting, loving relationship.
Additionally, Alene’s Uncle Finn has contacted her father after an absence of over 22 years. Finn, a convicted bank robber, had spent his time in prison, returned home to his wife and child, and then mysteriously went missing. Alene’s father, Cal, his younger brother, is understandably conflicted over his actions and subsequent abandonment, so Finn has appealed to Alene to arrange their reconciliation.
With a murder investigation edging closer and closer to home and all the balls Alene is juggling at once, the story was an absolute page-turner. The author also includes several great recipes at the end of the book for some of the dishes mentioned in the story. I recommend CHARRED to cozy mystery readers who enjoy culinary-themed stories, a Chicago setting, or a trip back to the summer of 2020.