“You Cannoli Die Once” by Shelley Costa / Thursday, May 30, 2013 / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

Today’s featured book is You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa

Edgar Award-nominated author Shelley Costa has put the fine touches on the start of a new cozy series centered around a restaurant owned by four generations of Italians and a killer with an ax to grind.  “You Cannoli Die Once” looks to be the first in what may be a long line of wonderful books in this series.

Packed with flavorful humor as well as mystery, the story is set in Quaker Hills on the outskirts of Philadelphia.  The death of the 76-year-old matriarch’s boyfriend has the family questioning the innocence of the feisty grandmother.  When the police are convinced that the grandmother is guilty, they lock her up thinking the case is closed.  The family, then, takes it as a personal mission to find the truth.  This setup is one of the rare cases in which, in this day and time, that cozies actually become plausible: when there is no one else to turn to and the police have given up the search, you end up having to find justice on your own.

There were so many characters – so many relatives – that it was a delight to get to know them all and I look forward to how they are going to be incorporated into the future volumes in the series.  With the array given, the possibilities for plotlines are limitless.  From the Italian families I’ve known, the portrayal hits straight on.  You can’t help but love the – albeit stereotypical – portrayal and animation of the immediate family, relatives, and well-meaning outsiders.  For those chocolate lovers, there’s even a recipe for Rebel Cannoli in the back of the book.

Next from Costa in January 2014?  “The Ziti That Never Sleeps.”  Looking forward to it and wishing Shelley Costa well in kicking this series off.

– Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker and founder of Killer Nashville. Stafford’s latest projects are the documentary “One of the Miracles” and the music CD “XO”.

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Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!