Cherry Cheesecake Murder (Hannah Swenson #8) by Joanne Fluke
So Lake Eden is up for quite a few interesting weeks. It’s headed for stardom as it will be the set for an independent film.
So this book starts out a bit different from the others. We have a flash forward told by a different narrator than Hannah; cruel, rude, and hated by everyone: Director Dean Lawrence. As he acts out a scene for the actors; taking the unloaded prop gun to his head; he shoots it. And himself.
So we flashback to before that all happened,
Hannah’s double proposal from Mike and Norman have torn the town apart. People are split between which they believe Hannah should marry; and are not above using any pull they have to try and sway Hannah’s opinion.
Hannah on the other hand will not be swayed. Instead she determines that she will propose to her choice when she is ready to marry, and when she knows who she wants to marry.
But the town is not focused on her for long, as the film coming to town has set up an epidemic of movie mania. Hannah is hired to cater dessert for the crew, along with a cheesecake every morning to the director, Dean Lawrence.
To make things even more complicated, an old friend and crush, Ross Barton, has come to town to produce the film. He starts wanting to revitalize the relationship, but Hannah’s not sure whether or not to start one.
Dean Lawrence turns out to be one of the most difficult people to work with. He is cruel, rude, antagonistic, and constantly groping and harassing all the women in town.
When Dean acts out a part to show an actor what he desires, winding up dead; Hannah and her crew have a lot of suspects to choose from. Lead actress, and old friend, Lynne Larchmont has the temperament to kill and could have chosen to remove him in order to be more in charge of the film or because of a possible romantic relationship.
Tom Larchmont, Lynne’s husband, is smitten enough to be deadly jealous.
Then there is Ross who has constantly been burdened with having to keep Dean in check, did he have enough?
Or on of the locals, Winnie Henderson, who publicly threatened to kill Dean?
Or how about star Burke Aston who argued with Dean the morning of the murder?
Hannah finds herself in a time crunch as she and her friends must solve the crime before the movie production wraps up and leaves town.
Thoughts After Reading:
I didn’t really care for this novel. I thought it was too easily solved and silly at times.
First of all, I hated the whole Mike-Norman aftermath. I found it stupid and unnecessary to include all these scenes of people trying to convince her to marry in order to save the dentist or save the deputy. I have never lived in a town the size of Lake Eden so I don’t know of they react that way; but really? Like they can’t get new people to fulfill those positions. Shouldn’t these people who are her “friends” care more about her happiness than what will inconvenience them?
Plus I am sooooo sick of the love triangle in this. It is so clear that Norman should be the one she is with.
I didn’t like the entrance of Ross and the switch to a confusion rhombus instead of a love triangle. I thought that was also unnecessary. His “pining” for Hannah over four years (overlapping the time he was in a serious relationship, engaged, with Lynne) was over the top. I mean it just sounds like a whole pack of lines, seriously Hannah I thought you were smarter than that.
I also hate how extremely advanced they make Tracey. She taught herself to read at 3 and a half years old? And now can read at a 5th grade level? What’s next? She has magic powers like Matilda and is righting wrongs?
Norman is clearly the guy Hannah should choose. Unlike Mike who has all kinds of bluster and such; Norman cares deeply about Hannah and her happiness alone. He asks her if he has anything to worry about; and just accepts the answer that Hannah will let him know if he does. Norman takes it like a man, and just tells her he loves her. Awesome. Amazing.
And the constant corrections Hannah does. It is so annoying! If Hannah was my friend I would say see ya. Who wants to be around someone who is always correcting you. Rude. And irritating.
I can’t believe how rude and annoying Mike is. When someone arrives home tired and has to get up at five the next morning, who decides to stay while they sleep eating their food and drinking their coffee? Rude. He should have just left. That would have been the gentlemanly thing to do.
The Bill cheating subplot os dumb as well. Really? She thinks him leaving behind a pink shirt from his conference is proof of cheating? Why do they make characters so dumb? Would any intelligent and rational being act that way? And why does she talk so poorly? She is a real estate agent, intelligent, logical, always having to talk to others; she would know how to talk eloquently.
The worst thing about this mystery was how easily it was solved. Yes, everyone knows that Dean would act out the scene in how he thinks it should be. But Only one person could make that happen. Only one person could control him taking the gun, and that would be Burke. Burke is the only one who could have gotten the gun in Dean’s hand; the big clue being when he suddenly sucks and asks for assistance.
And why do Hannah and Co. think that giving a tip to the police to solve a murder, the thing they are supposed to do, as a bad thing. That is incredibly dumb. Come on guys, you aren’t real detectives and you can’t arrest anyone. While your playacting as detectives is alright, it isn’t real.
And why is Hannah such an expert on random facts? Their input never makes any sense. She is like Encyclopedia Brown except not as fun or useful.
I hate how in this book they have to explain soooo much about acting. I feel like if Hannah knows all these famous plays from her one literature class on plays, she would have learned about stage directions and what they mean, after all they are written in the plays. I know they do it in case of readers who know nothing, but it still is boring.
To summarize, I did not like it.
For more Hannah Swenson mysteries, go to Peach Cobbler Murder
For more love triangles, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters