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Assault and Pepper

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The Agatha Award-winning author of Crime Ribis proud to introducePepper Reece, the owner of the Seattle Spice Shop who thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix… After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s The Agatha Award-winning author of Crime Rib is proud to introduce Pepper Reece, the owner of the Seattle Spice Shop who thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix… After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars. But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on the store’s doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest one of Pepper’s staffers, Tory Finch, for murder. Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…


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The Agatha Award-winning author of Crime Ribis proud to introducePepper Reece, the owner of the Seattle Spice Shop who thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix… After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s The Agatha Award-winning author of Crime Rib is proud to introduce Pepper Reece, the owner of the Seattle Spice Shop who thinks she can handle any kind of salty customer—until a murderer ends up in the mix… After leaving a dicey marriage and losing a beloved job in a corporate crash, Pepper Reece has found a new zest for life running a busy spice and tea shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Her aromatic creations are the talk of the town, and everyone stops by for a cup of her refreshing spice tea, even other shopkeepers and Market regulars. But when a panhandler named Doc shows up dead on the store’s doorstep, a Seattle Spice Shop cup in his hand, the local gossip gets too hot for Pepper to handle—especially after the police arrest one of Pepper’s staffers, Tory Finch, for murder. Tory seems to know why she’s a suspect, but she refuses to do anything to curry favor with the cops. Convinced her reticent employee is innocent, Pepper takes it on herself to sniff out some clues. Only, if she’s not careful, Pepper’s nosy ways might make her next on the killer’s list…

30 review for Assault and Pepper

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    I went on a cleaning spree and cut my TBR (To Be Read) by 50% last week. I also finished reading all of my commitments through the end of the year, so I could finally pick out a few books from my TBR that I've wanted to read for years. The 'A Spice Shop Mystery series' or any book by Leslie Budewitz, was one of those I kept on the TBR, and finally, I made room for it this week by taking on Assault and Pepper, the first in the series. What a fun book and treat to spend time in Seattle again... I went on a cleaning spree and cut my TBR (To Be Read) by 50% last week. I also finished reading all of my commitments through the end of the year, so I could finally pick out a few books from my TBR that I've wanted to read for years. The 'A Spice Shop Mystery series' or any book by Leslie Budewitz, was one of those I kept on the TBR, and finally, I made room for it this week by taking on Assault and Pepper, the first in the series. What a fun book and treat to spend time in Seattle again... Pepper worked in Corporate Human Resources for ~20 years and then left the company when things went belly up. Rather than jump back into the grind, she bought a spice shop and turned it into a new passion. [She and I have a lot in common, except mine was technology and writing books. Maybe I'm more like Leslie!] The first book begins months after the shop's been open and things are growing for the protagonist in Seattle's world-renowned market. Then a homeless man dies on Pepper's doorstep one night. Pepper stays away from the death until she learns the man had a connection to one of her employees, who is later arrested for murder. When Pepper hears too many rumors about her store and friend, she throws herself into the investigation to try and clear her friend and her own reputation. I've probably read ~400 cozies at this point in my life and with each new series, I try to find something educational and fun. This one has both... I also love to cook and experiment, so the exposure to the spice market is a nice addition for my reading queue. There's a balance between setting the tone and lay-of-the-land in this first book as well as solving a tricky mystery. All the characters are defined, but I haven't quite latched on to anyone yet. Pepper is strong, and I'll definitely grow more attached as the series continues. I plan to read the next few in January and February so I'm current for when the 4th book comes out. It looks like the author wrote a few in the 2015 range, then took a few years off to write another series. But a new one comes out in early/mid 2019 and I want to try to get an ARC. Budewitz is a talented writer. She draws you in and drops clues along the way so you can try to solve the case yourself. She's created a wonderful fictional setting based on the real Seattle setting, and when I visit the city again next year, I'll be sure to lookout for some of the places she's mentioned that are real. I also like how Budewitz handled the social awareness aspects of the homeless population in Seattle, and how the city works with them rather than against them, as occurs in other cities around the country. There are clever name-drops of real authors and books who are the author's real life friends and colleagues. I've read one and intend to read another this coming year. For a new series, it's got all the right potentials and basics to become strong. I'll have to spend some time researching the author to see if she's continuing past the upcoming next book or if it was just a fun addition to the series in the short term. Thanks for a fun few hours with this one, LB!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda 📚

    Mouth-wateringly aromatic and refreshing story! Leslie Budewitz takes readers on a scenic sight-seeing tour through Seattle's Pike Place Market, while spicing things up with a satisfying cozy mystery. The setting is marvelous--I want to go there right now and visit every shop and sample-test to my taste buds delight! Pepper Reece shines as the lead character; caring and committed to her business and her fellow Market residents. The cast is eclectic and likeable. "Assault and Pepper" is a Mouth-wateringly aromatic and refreshing story! Leslie Budewitz takes readers on a scenic sight-seeing tour through Seattle's Pike Place Market, while spicing things up with a satisfying cozy mystery. The setting is marvelous--I want to go there right now and visit every shop and sample-test to my taste buds delight! Pepper Reece shines as the lead character; caring and committed to her business and her fellow Market residents. The cast is eclectic and likeable. "Assault and Pepper" is a charming new cozy mystery--sure to please many a reader's palate. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. My review is my own personal opinion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    LORI CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts Pepper Reece’s life was in flux, her job eliminated and her marriage over. She took a gigantic leap and bought the Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market. She is working at making the place her own while keeping all the current customers and gaining new ones too. It is a popular place where tourists, fellow shopkeepers, and local market customers stop by for a cup of spice tea to get their day started. One morning when Pepper arrives to open the shop she finds a body Dollycas’s Thoughts Pepper Reece’s life was in flux, her job eliminated and her marriage over. She took a gigantic leap and bought the Seattle Spice Shop in the Pike Place Market. She is working at making the place her own while keeping all the current customers and gaining new ones too. It is a popular place where tourists, fellow shopkeepers, and local market customers stop by for a cup of spice tea to get their day started. One morning when Pepper arrives to open the shop she finds a body blocking her path with one of her stamped cups in his hand. Doc, was a panhandler that had recently shown up on her corner. He hadn’t been dead for long and Pepper is surprised to find out one of her employees was already in her shop. Tory Finch works for Pepper but she is also an artist. She tells Pepper she came in early to work on some sketches. The police take her presence to mean something else. They have made her their prime suspect and have placed her under arrest and thrown away the key. Pepper wants to help as does the rest of her staff but Tory just wants to be left alone. Pepper will not let her employee be railroaded. She is going to spice things up by finding the killer herself. I have never been to Seattle but when I think about the city, I think of rain and coffee. After reading this book I will also think of the Pike Place Market and Pepper’s fantastic shop. She and her staff make their own spice blends depending on the month and the season. They also create and sell their own spiced tea. I could almost smell the aromas right through the pages and I learned some interesting things too. The market is a real place and also very unique, on the waterfront with views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. There are many levels, passages and nooks, and crannies. The author’s descriptions draw a clear picture but I still had to look it up online to satisfy my curiosity. I would love to enjoy it in person someday. Pepper is a caring individual. She watches out for her friends and staff, and she takes an active role with the homeless that spend their time at the marketplace. When 2 panhandlers had a disagreement about her corner she went out to help them find a suitable answer when others may have just called the police. Her ex-husband just happens to be one of the officers that patrols the area on his bicycle and she tries to involve him as little as possible in her life. The staff is a quirky group that works well together. I enjoyed the mystery in this story. The connections that were revealed opened up a realm of possibilities. With some original twists, the story evolved in a satisfactory fashion. I was caught up in the whodunit right away, but with Pepper’s background in Human Resources, a couple of things had me shaking my head. I appreciated how the homeless issues were addressed and the part they played in the story. As the first book in the series, this story gave me everything I was looking for, intelligent and engaging characters, a spectacular setting, and a mystery that made me think. I look forward to reading the next book in this series soon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lj

    Maybe if I read this on a beach or maybe if I hadn't been listening to the audio version this might have been a good book. Undeveloped characters, too much description of spices and the shop that didn't add to but took away from the story, which wasn't much of a story. The author needed to get in and establish something of interest, instead she bought new shoes and contemplated changing what seemed a nice spice shop with ambiance into a slick business that even a hipster wouldn't want to enter. I Maybe if I read this on a beach or maybe if I hadn't been listening to the audio version this might have been a good book. Undeveloped characters, too much description of spices and the shop that didn't add to but took away from the story, which wasn't much of a story. The author needed to get in and establish something of interest, instead she bought new shoes and contemplated changing what seemed a nice spice shop with ambiance into a slick business that even a hipster wouldn't want to enter. I couldn't finish it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Welcome to Seattle Marketplace!!! This is where Pepper Reece bought the Seattle Spice Shop near her loft apartment. This was to start her new life after she caught her husband cheating on her and got divorced. Then Pepper lost her job when the law company went under. So now she owns and runs the Spice Shop. It as interesting learning about all the spice mixtures Pepper and her staff combined together. My mouth as watering as the description was so vivid and real. Pepper who befriends the homeless finds a Welcome to Seattle Marketplace!!! This is where Pepper Reece bought the Seattle Spice Shop near her loft apartment. This was to start her new life after she caught her husband cheating on her and got divorced. Then Pepper lost her job when the law company went under. So now she owns and runs the Spice Shop. It as interesting learning about all the spice mixtures Pepper and her staff combined together. My mouth as watering as the description was so vivid and real. Pepper who befriends the homeless finds a new homeless man upsetting one of the regular homeless plus bothering one of her staff. Who is this man? Where did he come from? Before a Pepper can discover anything more she finds the new homeless man dead in the shops doorway clutching one of the shop’s cups. When one of Pepper’s staff is arrested for murder, Pepper starts her own investigation. The characters were creatively casted, well defined plus colorful and interesting. The setting was deftly described. It enabled the reader to get an insiders tour of the Seattle Marketplace plus the city and surrounding area of Seattle. It was like being there with the characters.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Frazier

    This is the first book in the new Spice Shop mysteries, I was lucky enough to win an ARC. What a great book! Pepper Reece owns a busy spice and tea shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle. She is also dealing with a divorce, and her ex wont leave her alone. She thinks she might have found a new love interest in Alex, who also works in the Pike Place Market. But when a body is discovered in the doorway of her shop, and one of her employees, Tory, is accused of the murder, she must find out what This is the first book in the new Spice Shop mysteries, I was lucky enough to win an ARC. What a great book! Pepper Reece owns a busy spice and tea shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle. She is also dealing with a divorce, and her ex wont leave her alone. She thinks she might have found a new love interest in Alex, who also works in the Pike Place Market. But when a body is discovered in the doorway of her shop, and one of her employees, Tory, is accused of the murder, she must find out what happened, and try to prove Torys innocence. Tory is not being very cooperative, and Pepper really has to do some digging around to get any answers. Lots of twists and turns, and I was surprised when the killer was revealed. I really enjoyed this book, and I loved the setting. I have always wanted to go to Seattle, and this book took me there! The recipes and descriptions of all the food had my mouth watering! I look forward to the next book in the series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Lester

    Leslie Budewitz brings reads the first in a new cozy mystery series, Assault and Pepper. This is the first book in the Spice Shop Mystery series and may prove to be quite a favorite for cozy readers. Everything for the trendy Seattle setting to the robust and soothing spiced tea from the Seattle Spice Shop was enjoyable in this book. Budewitz introduces readers to a wonderful new heroine in Pepper Reece and gives them a intriguing and eclectic range of secondary characters. A great first effort Leslie Budewitz brings reads the first in a new cozy mystery series, Assault and Pepper. This is the first book in the Spice Shop Mystery series and may prove to be quite a favorite for cozy readers. Everything for the trendy Seattle setting to the robust and soothing spiced tea from the Seattle Spice Shop was enjoyable in this book. Budewitz introduces readers to a wonderful new heroine in Pepper Reece and gives them a intriguing and eclectic range of secondary characters. A great first effort in a new series! I really loved Leslie Budewitz' Food Lovers series and was excited to see what she had to offer in this new series. I don't know about you, but one of the favorite things in my kitchen is my spice rack. I love to use it and I loved seeing how Budewitz decided to use spice in this series. A very interesting idea for a cozy series. Not only do we have regular spices that everyone might know but Budewitz also gives readers spiced tea and different kinds of recipes that are sure to have readers heading for the kitchen, book in hand. One of the things that made this book so good was the setting. Seattle is one of those iconic cities that readers and foodies alike know for it's rainy days and wonderful markets and sights. Budewitz does Seattle justice in this book, making the reader smell the aromas and taste the wonderful offerings from the shops in Pike Place Market. I think Budewitz did her homework her and it played to her advantage. A fantastic setting for a new series. Pepper Reece is the new heroine for this series. She was once a corporate HR manager in a stifled marriage with a cheating husband. Now she has her own business and a new life. But the past doesn't seem to be too far away since Tag, her ex-husband is cop whose beat happens to be around Pepper's Spice Shop. I thought Pepper was amazing as a new heroine, though I wanted to shake her a time to two to point out a possible clue, but eventually she got it and it all same to a satisfying end. I liked her attitude and her resourcefulness. A great new heroine. The mystery aspect of the story centered around a dead homeless man who ended up on the doorstep of Pepper's shop and one of her employee's is nabbed for the murder. I thought Budewitz did a good job of giving Pepper reason and opportunity to investigate. I wasn't too keen on the fact that her ex-husband becomes an important character due to being a cop in the area. I thought that just didn't work, because of trust issues. The homeless denizens of the Pike Place Market were a bit too stereo-typical for me as well. Having lived in a city where there was a high population of homeless people, I have learned that there is far more to the story than most people ever know about them. Bottom Line: I did have a couple of moments of pause, in Budewitz' descriptions of the homeless population around the Pike Place Market and in her references to Pepper's relationship with her ex-husband, but all in all I really liked this book and I think that Budewitz will continue to give readers a lot to look forward to with this series. I think it was a great first effort in a series and I'm looking forward to what comes next for Pepper.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I never expected when I OPENED Assault and Pepper and started reading that I would develop a deep love and affection for these characters but that is exactly what happened. There's Pepper she runs Seattle's Spice SHOP. You can taste the scrumptious and warming tea as the author beautiflly describes the different taste sensations and spices they each contain. The MARKET that houses The Seattle Spice SHOP is always hustling and bustling and it is not uncommon for panhandlers. One such panhandler I never expected when I OPENED Assault and Pepper and started reading that I would develop a deep love and affection for these characters but that is exactly what happened. There's Pepper she runs Seattle's Spice SHOP. You can taste the scrumptious and warming tea as the author beautiflly describes the different taste sensations and spices they each contain. The MARKET that houses The Seattle Spice SHOP is always hustling and bustling and it is not uncommon for panhandlers. One such panhandler named "Doc" happens to die right at the front door of the Spice Shop. The next character that tugged on my heart strings was, Pepper's employee, Tory. It seems that the panhandler "Doc" and her have a connection that runs long and deep and she soon becomes a suspect in his death but to Peppers shock and horror he died by poisoning because Doc was clutching a cup of tea from The Spice Shop with their logo on it. Pepper does not want to see anything happen to Tory and has trouble believing that Tory murdered him so she tries to discover who could have possibly had a motive to want him dead but sniffing him out as not as easy as the savory aromas of her spices. Some spice, a dash of pepper and a sprig of thyme that it took the read the first book in this Spice SHOP series was certainly filled with gusto and certainly well worth reading.This book definitely brought variety and spice to my life as it will yours.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Ks Book Reviews

    First in the Spice Shop Mystery series, ASSAULT AND PEPPER was a tasty read and has whet my appetite for more. With a large percentage of cozies being set in fictional towns, I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book being set in Seattle at a famous location like The Pike Place Public Market. Honestly, at first it was a little strange for me, but I was soon lost in the story, and Ms. Budewitz’s wonderful writing and no longer gave it a thought. Her protagonist in ASSAULT AND PEPPER, Pepper First in the Spice Shop Mystery series, ASSAULT AND PEPPER was a tasty read and has whet my appetite for more. With a large percentage of cozies being set in fictional towns, I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book being set in Seattle at a famous location like The Pike Place Public Market. Honestly, at first it was a little strange for me, but I was soon lost in the story, and Ms. Budewitz’s wonderful writing and no longer gave it a thought. Her protagonist in ASSAULT AND PEPPER, Pepper Reece was really enjoyable and I liked getting to know her. The same goes for the other characters in the book. Pepper’s staff at the Seattle Spice Shop are as wide ranging in styles and personalities, as the spices they carry are in tastes and smells. The same is to be said of the rest of the cast of characters. The mystery element of this story, who killed the panhandler, Doc, and why they killed him, along with the fact that one of the staff of Pepper’s store, Tory, is a suspect, and Tory seems to know why she is, but isn't doing much to help herself, kept me guessing as I turned page after page, only to be very surprised when the truth came out. A fun bonus: Every chapter starts off with a fact or a quote. A delicious bonus: Lots of yummy recipes! Give ASSAULT AND PEPPER a try and see if it doesn't spice up your life like it did mine!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    3.5 stars. This is the first book in the spice shop series and we are introduced to Pepper’s world in the Seattle marketplace. This one seemed to start out a little slow for me but was overall an enjoyable read for me. I liked the setting and characters and the mystery kept me guessing and my top suspect wound up being guilty. Recipes included in the back.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tari

    Pepper Reece has found her place in life after her divorce and losing her job in the corporate world due to a corporate crash. She's running the Seattle Spice shop at the Pike's Place Market and couldn't be happier. She's got some great employees, at least she thought she did until one of them, Tory, is arrested for the murder of a seemingly homeless man who just showed up to set up in the market. Tory has some secrets of her own but Pepper is determined to get to the bottom of all this. She Pepper Reece has found her place in life after her divorce and losing her job in the corporate world due to a corporate crash. She's running the Seattle Spice shop at the Pike's Place Market and couldn't be happier. She's got some great employees, at least she thought she did until one of them, Tory, is arrested for the murder of a seemingly homeless man who just showed up to set up in the market. Tory has some secrets of her own but Pepper is determined to get to the bottom of all this. She also can't figure out what another local homeless man, Sam, may or may not have had to do with the dead man's murder since Sam's beret was found on the deceased. Someone knows Pepper is investigating so she had better be careful or she may be the next one killed! The side story involving Pepper and a new guy she hopes to date was interesting. Her ex, Tag, is part of the bike police in town and he can't seem to be able to stop wanting to protect her, as well as get back together with her. I like how the dating thing ends, she's not really committed to anyone at this point but knows she can rely on Tag to do his job. This was an enjoyable and fairly quick read. I've never been to Seattle so it was interesting to hear about the market and the area. I could picture all the little shops along the way. I didn't guess the killer at all, it was completely a surprise. I hadn't even considered that person. The twists and turns were great and really keep the reader wanting to read on and keep us guessing. The take down was pretty awesome and I could picture that happening on TV. Sam and his dog Arf were a couple of my favorite characters. I just knew Sam was much too sweet of a person to have had anything to do with the murder. I like how his little story resolves too. Seattle may not be a small city but I definitely want to return and spend more time with my new friends at the Seattle Spice shop.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    The first in the Spice Shop mysteries, Assault and Pepper is a feast for the senses. Pepper Reece enjoys running her spice shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market. But when one of her employees is accused of murdering a homeless man she goes into action to prove the police have the wrong person in custody. Filled with intriguing characters, and featuring a wonderful setting, Assault and Pepper is a tight mystery that will keep readers turning the pages. Pepper is a strong, independent woman who has The first in the Spice Shop mysteries, Assault and Pepper is a feast for the senses. Pepper Reece enjoys running her spice shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market. But when one of her employees is accused of murdering a homeless man she goes into action to prove the police have the wrong person in custody. Filled with intriguing characters, and featuring a wonderful setting, Assault and Pepper is a tight mystery that will keep readers turning the pages. Pepper is a strong, independent woman who has gone after her desires after the failure of her marriage. She leads the way in this great mystery that I savored from beginning to end. I already have the second book in the series ready to ready, and am happy to know there is a third one on board.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Let me start by saying I read A LOT of cozy mysteries, that said, this is by far one of THE WORST books I've ever read. Way too many characters that are thrown at you in the very first chapter with little or no description of who/what they are. During the story they end up being one dimensional with no growth whatsoever. The plot is slooowwwwwwwwww. Almost non-existent. The spices descriptions were over the top, almost as if this was a textbook on spices. And if you've never visited Seattle, Let me start by saying I read A LOT of cozy mysteries, that said, this is by far one of THE WORST books I've ever read. Way too many characters that are thrown at you in the very first chapter with little or no description of who/what they are. During the story they end up being one dimensional with no growth whatsoever. The plot is slooowwwwwwwwww. Almost non-existent. The spices descriptions were over the top, almost as if this was a textbook on spices. And if you've never visited Seattle, read this book. It's like a travel log. Save your money. There are so many more better books out there. Even some of the freebies I've gotten are far superior to this book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    This was a fairly pedestrian mystery involving the owner of a spice shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle who finds a murdered man on her doorstep. Lots of local color was included, and a large amount of information about spices, in fact, in my opinion the author spent too much time setting the scene and not enough time developing her plot. I don't see myself floating on a cloud of cinnamon to the next novel in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    A delightful first in a new series, ASSAULT AND PEPPER takes place in Seattle in the famous Pike Place Market. Leslie Budewitz has created a fascinating setting - a spice shop - full of delicious recipes and information about creating spice blends. The plot is clever and well paced, the characters are interesting and fairly complex, and the setting is lovingly described. The Mexican Coffee sounds wonderful!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Argh! I loved this! In a fit of boredom, I once again perused the bargain cozy mystery on Amazon, and this one was on special. Why not? I thought, despite my massive TBR pile and the stack of fresh paperbacks taunting me next to my reading chair. I'm so glad I picked this up! Basically it's because Leslie had SUCH a wau with words. Her character, Pepper, often thinks worldly thoughts and descriptions that just made this book so much better. For a book about spice, it really made you feel and Argh! I loved this! In a fit of boredom, I once again perused the bargain cozy mystery on Amazon, and this one was on special. Why not? I thought, despite my massive TBR pile and the stack of fresh paperbacks taunting me next to my reading chair. I'm so glad I picked this up! Basically it's because Leslie had SUCH a wau with words. Her character, Pepper, often thinks worldly thoughts and descriptions that just made this book so much better. For a book about spice, it really made you feel and taste the mystery, which was perfect! You really felt connected too, not just to Pepper but to the world around her. Add to that a REALLY good mystery with a twist, and I am forever hooked on this series! Might have to make book two a priority next payday, methinks. A really great cozy, a stand out. Five stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Doward Wilson

    This is a fantastic new series. You feel like you're in Seattle, Washington feeling the rain, fog and sunshine just from Leslie Budewwitz vivid description. The background for Pepper Reece's spice and tea shop in the Pike Place Market is so realistically described that you are there. This story has a well plotted and uniquely complex murder with twists and turns that keep you turning the page. This is what midlife should be about. Read it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    This was a very good cozy - I like the premise and the characters and the MC Pepper is funny and smart and not easily swayed by a handsome face! I am not crazy about the ex-husband being in the picture, but so far, the author has handled that well and he isn't always a total jerk. UNLIKE the detectives Spencer and Tracy [yes, you read that correctly. I will admit to sniggering out loud whenever the narrator said their names] who are complete and utter jerks and makes you understand why a lot of This was a very good cozy - I like the premise and the characters and the MC Pepper is funny and smart and not easily swayed by a handsome face! I am not crazy about the ex-husband being in the picture, but so far, the author has handled that well and he isn't always a total jerk. UNLIKE the detectives Spencer and Tracy [yes, you read that correctly. I will admit to sniggering out loud whenever the narrator said their names] who are complete and utter jerks and makes you understand why a lot of people are leery of the police. And the murderer was completely a surprise, which is always an added bonus. I was a little afraid to read this as the author's other series, "Food Lovers' Village Mysteries" are just awful. The MC is so obnoxious and has no boundaries at all [nor any problem hacking into people's phones, breaking into houses etc etc] and has a horrible habit of using vernacular that NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would use, well, you get the picture. THANKFULLY, this series seems to be completely different and I am very thankful for that. Looking forward to the next one!

  19. 4 out of 5

    J

    *I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways* I haven't read a cute mystery series with a punny title in ages so I was excited to win this one in a giveaway. "Assualt and Pepper" features Pepper Reece, owner of a spice shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Pepper decides to investigate the death of a man who dies on the doorstep of her shop after her employee is arrested for the murder. **Things I liked: - A nice little mystery that kept me guessing. I really wasn't sure who the *I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways* I haven't read a cute mystery series with a punny title in ages so I was excited to win this one in a giveaway. "Assualt and Pepper" features Pepper Reece, owner of a spice shop in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Pepper decides to investigate the death of a man who dies on the doorstep of her shop after her employee is arrested for the murder. **Things I liked: - A nice little mystery that kept me guessing. I really wasn't sure who the murderer was, or what the motive was, until right before it was revealed. Exactly how you want a mystery book to be. - I loved how the author depicted the street people. She gave them a humanity that many people tend to forget. They were so sweet and I loved all of them. My favorite part with these guys was were someone had given one of the men a Starbucks card. He was so surprised it wasn't a joke. Pepper found him and one of his friends happily having a coffee in the Starbucks on a chilly day and they insisted on buying her a drink. It was just a sweet scene to me. - The author did a great job of bringing the sights, sounds, and smells of The Market alive for the reader. (See also "What kept me from loving this book" below) - I enjoyed the little facts and tidbits that preceded each chapter. I'm a sucker for miscellaneous trivia. - The recipes in the back look yummy. I can't wait to try the Salty Oat Cookies and Ginger Ice Cream! **What kept me from loving this book: - If I wanted a guide book to Seattle's Market district I would buy a guide book to Seattle's Market district. Although I wouldn't have to now as I had to wade through every street name, what direction it ran, what name it may have had in the past, every building name including excruciating detail about it's appearance and history, way too much detail on each area surrounding the Market area, etc. I felt like half the book I was reading a guide. Bringing The Market to life is one thing but the completely unnecessary details were distracting, boring, and unappealing. - The romance. If you can call it that. Which you can't. Now I don't mind a little romance in my mysteries. I don't need anything lurid or detailed or even anything that plays a major part of the book. Just something to sweeten things up. I'm also fine with there being no romantic interests at all. What I am not ok with is the depressing, anger inducing, pathetic relationships Pepper has with men. First we have her lying, cheating ex-husband who is a major character in the book. Then you are introduced to a guy you think is going to add that sweetness to the book. (view spoiler)[ But no. He turns out to be a total ass. The scene where he stands her up for another woman without calling is totally depressing. Then, when she calls him on it, he says something along the lines of "I guess I'm a sucker for beautiful women with classic cars" (meaning both Pepper AND the other woman) and she thinks that's charming! Um no. That's the part where I'm thinking he needs a knee to the groin. But Pepper excuses it because she doesn't know if they are "really dating or not." The guy relentlessly pursues her, they go on dates, he calls her, drops by her shop, kisses her in public and sends her flowers. Um sweetheart? That's freaking called dating! The whole thing made me mad, then sad, then put me in a rage. I did not want to be reading that crap and it came close to ruining the whole book for me. Life's too short to read a book that just pisses me off. (hide spoiler)] So will I read the next book in the series called "Guilty as Cinnamon?" I'm still debating. I think I will. As I said the mystery was a good one. But, if I have to deal with guidebook like reading or jerky guys who fill me with angst, that will be it for me. That's just me. These things might not be issues for some other readers but it pushes my buttons in a bad way.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Mostly I didn't really like this book. It was really boring to me. Just couldn't get into it. When I did start to like it, it didn't last long. I almost stopped reading it a couple of times. Just because this book wasn't for me, you might like it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    AngryGreyCat

    Just finished this new cozy mystery, Assault and Pepper, A Spice Shop Mystery by Leslie Budewitz, who also writes the Food Lovers’ Series. I enjoyed this mystery particularly for the sense of place that is developed. The setting is Seattle and the book is “peppered” with references to Seattle landmarks and lifestyle references. The main character, Pepper, is interesting and intelligent and there is a rather large cast of characters, the staff of the spice shop, Pepper’s girlfriends, and the Just finished this new cozy mystery, Assault and Pepper, A Spice Shop Mystery by Leslie Budewitz, who also writes the Food Lovers’ Series. I enjoyed this mystery particularly for the sense of place that is developed. The setting is Seattle and the book is “peppered” with references to Seattle landmarks and lifestyle references. The main character, Pepper, is interesting and intelligent and there is a rather large cast of characters, the staff of the spice shop, Pepper’s girlfriends, and the local homeless community. Pepper has a couple of love interests but not in the sense of the love triangle common to cozy mysteries. Pepper gets involved in a murder investigation because she discovers the body on her shop’s doorstep and then one of her employees is arrested. Pepper makes it her mission to clear Tory’s name irritating her ex-husband, a local policeman, and putting herself in danger. I will be reading more of this series as they become available!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sabine

    I liked it a lot! Great characters and wonderful descriptions of the market in Seattle.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Pepper Reese looses her husband and her job in Seattle Washington and decides to buy a tea and spice shop. When one of the homeless is found on her doorstep in less than good condition, her shop assistant is arrested. This is the first in a series and I do like Pepper as a 42 year old character with some experience under her belt getting into shop ownership and all the tangles involved. I found the other characters a little on the flat side but the ex-husband being a bicycle cop an interesting Pepper Reese looses her husband and her job in Seattle Washington and decides to buy a tea and spice shop. When one of the homeless is found on her doorstep in less than good condition, her shop assistant is arrested. This is the first in a series and I do like Pepper as a 42 year old character with some experience under her belt getting into shop ownership and all the tangles involved. I found the other characters a little on the flat side but the ex-husband being a bicycle cop an interesting take on things. I liked the tidbits of spice lore in the book and the mystery wasn't bad in itself. Lots of characters to choose from but maybe a bit too much of a surprise at the end. I probably would have given a 3.5 but I don't think it deserved a 3.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

    Star rating: 3.5 - 4 Stars Two years after getting divorced from her two-timing husband, Pepper Reece finally feels like her life is on track. Her Spice Shop is a success and she couldn't be happier. Then a homeless man is found murdered on her doorstep, with a cup of her Spice Shop's signature spice tea in his hand. When one of her employees is arrested for the homicide Pepper knows deep down that her employee didn't do it. With the police having arrested the wrong woman, Pepper knows it will be Star rating: 3.5 - 4 Stars Two years after getting divorced from her two-timing husband, Pepper Reece finally feels like her life is on track. Her Spice Shop is a success and she couldn't be happier. Then a homeless man is found murdered on her doorstep, with a cup of her Spice Shop's signature spice tea in his hand. When one of her employees is arrested for the homicide Pepper knows deep down that her employee didn't do it. With the police having arrested the wrong woman, Pepper knows it will be up to her to find the culprit and get her employee out of jail. I was really pleasantly surprised by this novel. While it has it's deficiencies, the writer made up for it in mouthwatering prose and likable main characters. The investigation into the murder took a little while to get off its feet but once it did it took off with the bit between its teeth running. I had a few problems with the vacillating love interest. He felt very much like a tacked on character. Something to be added on just to let you know the main character has moved on from her unfaithful ex-husband. Otherwise I found this cozy to be just that, very cozy. I look forward to reading the next novel in this series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    A relaxing cozy mystery read set in the Seattle Pike Street Market. Leaving the Cooperate Business area behind Pepper Reece buys a spice store. One morning arriving to open her store she finds a homeless man dead in the entrance to store. She upset when she finds out he was mudered and a cup with her logo is found near him. More up occurs when she learns that a value employee is arrested for murder. The dead man is her employee's Father and is not homeless. Pepper's ex-husband, motorcycle cop is A relaxing cozy mystery read set in the Seattle Pike Street Market. Leaving the Cooperate Business area behind Pepper Reece buys a spice store. One morning arriving to open her store she finds a homeless man dead in the entrance to store. She upset when she finds out he was mudered and a cup with her logo is found near him. More up occurs when she learns that a value employee is arrested for murder. The dead man is her employee's Father and is not homeless. Pepper's ex-husband, motorcycle cop is hassling her and she starting a new relationship with Alex. Pepper wants to put her stamp on the store. The writing is so good you can feels the atmosphere of the Market. The fear of the homeless and her annoying ex. The ending is a surprise. A large print book from my library.

  26. 4 out of 5

    C.

    Far too many characters and they are undeveloped, to boot! Didn't care for any of them, and the lead character's cheating ex-husband being a MC was just ewww. Read more like a tourist guide for Seattle, and pages, and pages, and pages of food descriptions! This is supposed to be a mystery? I was so bored that I didn't care enough to find out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chaitra

    The main character, Pepper Reece, spends most of the books reading Brother Cadfael books one after the other. I spent most of the book wishing I was reading a Brother Cadfael book as well.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lori Rader-Day

    Seattle market as small town. Fun foodie mystery.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Morin

    Entertaining first in a new series It took me a little bit to get into the story, but once I did, I enjoyed it very much.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kellene

    I wasn’t sure that I was going to like this book in the beginning. There were a lot of characters to keep straight, some of them real jerks. I know very little about Seattle, so I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get into the setting. And I’m not a big spice person, so most of that was totally lost on me. But my fears were quickly dispelled. The author did such a wonderful job describing the city that I easily pictured the setting in my mind. The characters were developed well, and I was I wasn’t sure that I was going to like this book in the beginning. There were a lot of characters to keep straight, some of them real jerks. I know very little about Seattle, so I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get into the setting. And I’m not a big spice person, so most of that was totally lost on me. But my fears were quickly dispelled. The author did such a wonderful job describing the city that I easily pictured the setting in my mind. The characters were developed well, and I was able to keep them straight for the most part, and the jerks weren’t as bad as I had initially feared. The story moved well and the main character did not do all of the things that cozy mystery MC’s tend to do that annoy me. Her compassion for the street folks in the market made me like her even more. I was fairly certain about midway through that I had the resolution figured out, and I was right about the who, but clueless about the why. All-in-all, I enjoyed the book a great deal, and look forward to the next in the series.

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