Book Review: Hot and Sour Suspects (A Noodle Shop Mystery #8) by Vivien Chien

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Cozy mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: January 25th, 2022
Pages: 320, mass market paperback
Source: NetGalley

At the Ho-Lee Noodle House, murder is on the menu.

When Lana Lee’s best friend, Megan Riley, asks her to help host a speed dating contest at Ho-Lee Noodle House, she doesn’t see the harm in lending a hand. The night goes better than anticipated, and both Lana and Megan are beyond thrilled with the results. But before they can break out the champagne, Rina Su, fellow Asia Village shop owner and speed dating participant, calls to inform Lana that the date she’s just matched with has been murdered. Under suspicion of foul play, Rina enlists Lana’s help in finding out what really happened that night.

Without hesitation, Lana begins to dig into the man in question. To her dismay, she quickly finds that Rina’s date has a rather unsavory past. There’s a long line of slighted women, angry neighbors, and perturbed co-workers—all of whom seem to have a motive.

As Lana continues to spiral down the treacherous path of scorned lovers and mistreated acquaintances, she can’t help but dwell on how quickly an innocent evening filled with hope and positivity could turn so sour. When the media gets in on the case, Lana must rush to find the killer before more dates turn deadly.

Hot and Sour Suspects is our eighth trip to Ho-Lee Noodle House, and this time, speed dating is on the menu. But when one of the daters turns up dead, and Lana’s friend Rina is the prime suspect, Lana, her best friend Megan, and her dog Kikko, along with the sometimes helpful, sometimes not assistance of Kimmy, have to save the day.

This is a solid series. Lana is a great heroine, and her relationships with her family and friends are a big part of what makes the series work. The characters are all so relatable and believable that you wish you could visit Asia Village, where Lana’s restaurant is.

Lana’s sleuthing skills are getting better, and her police officer boyfriend Adam seems to be dealing with her investigations better, even though this one is on his patch.

Lana has to juggle running the restaurant, investigating the murder, and doing damage control for a close relative when rumors start flying around Asia Village. Is this the life Lana wanted at the start of the series? No, but she’s embraced her role and we’ve seen great character development with her and her friends. The cases are interesting, but I read the series more for the characters.

Food, friends, and family make this series great, and I hope there are many more adventures for Lana.

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