This series looks sharply at those who perceive themselves as the rich - the elite, and revolves around expensive cars, clothes and posh country clubs. Fans of Sue Grafton, J.A. Jance, and Sara Peretsky will find Shelton's female sleuth captivating. Devout in her dedication for the underdog, Charlie Parker gets drawn into perilous predicaments while sticking her neck out for friends and clients in trouble. She proves a wily opponent for the evil she discovers.
Samantha Sweet breaks into houses for a living - all perfectly legal as a caretaker for the USDA. But her real dream is to open her own pastry shop, 'Sweet's Sweets.' Life is a little crazy for Sam right now. At one of her break-in properties, a dying woman insists that she take a small wooden box. Sam doesn't realize that the old woman was known locally as a 'bruja,' a witch, until she begins to feel some strange effects from the box.
"Picky, I know I'm Picky."
Revenge is often a cold dish, but in the tiny northern New Mexico town of Sembramos emotions are running decidedly hot. When two men convicted of murdering a local girl are released from prison after serving only a few years, their convictions overturned, the town's old pain rises to the surface and tempers flare. Samantha Sweet has her hands full with Easter at Sweet's Sweets, while her husband, Taos County Sheriff Beau Cardwell, is charged with keeping order among the two hundred residents of Sembramos.
"Love the Series, Hate This Book"
Sam is working hard to get her new pastry shop, Sweet's Sweets, open for business. Just when she's really got her hands full with that, she's assigned a new property to take care of as part of her contract with the USDA. The place is a hoarder's delight and Sam is feeling more than a little bit overwhelmed as she begins cleaning with a vengeance. When a blood-soaked garment turns up among some things Sam has dropped off at the thrift shop, Sam recommends that they call the Sheriff's office.
"Muffins, Mystery, Murder"
Two things are weighing on Samantha Sweet's mind this summer - organizing the Sweet Somethings chocolate festival and tracking down information on the mystical carved wooden box that came into her life nearly two years ago, changing her forever. At last she believes she has located the person who can give the answers.
"Waiting for next one!!!!!"
It's Christmas and a chocolatier shows up at Sweet's Sweets, offering to create a special line of hand-dipped chocolates for Sam's customers. He says he will work for no pay, just to prove himself. But she learns that he has connections to the wooden box that seems to give Sam her mystical powers, and discovers that certain evil people will do just about anything to take it away from her.
"A Book for the Sweet Lovers"
Is there a serial killer in Taos? It’s the height of the wedding season at Sweet’s Sweets and Sam has all she can do to stay ahead of the rush of bakery orders. Plus, her side job - breaking into houses - isn’t allowing much summer time off either. Not to mention that her mother is pressuring Sam and Beau to set a wedding date. When Sam encounters two older women who then die suddenly, it appears that there may be a serial killer on the loose.
Samantha Sweet learns that an Irish great-uncle left her an inheritance, so she and Beau change their honeymoon plans and go to the Emerald Isle. Will the gift be something lavish and wonderful? Or is there no pot of gold waiting for Sam? Meanwhile, before Sam fully has the answers to her questions, a new mystery presents itself when a local charter boat is found adrift near the rocky Irish coast, its occupants missing. The family of the captain wants answers and when it looks like a group of Americans might be implicated, the Galway homicide detective in charge of the case enlists Beau’s help.
Samantha Sweet and Beau Cardwell are getting ready for their September wedding, with the whole Sweet clan about to show up for the celebration.
Dealing with her mother may turn out to be the least of Sam’s problems when an unwelcome visitor walks into her pastry shop - Sam’s old heartthrob, the charmer Jake Calendar. Jake wants money for a Hollywood get-rich-quick scheme and he wants Sam to finance the deal. Can Sam convince him that the answer is "no"? Or will he sabotage the plans for her wedding?
Things are crazy at the bakery, as Sam tries to replicate the magical chocolates that the quirky Romanian chocolatier introduced at Christmas-time. Meanwhile, there are lots of weddings, in addition to her own, and other pastry shop demands during this romantic holiday week. While Sam tries to keep up with it all, another mystery comes her way. Marla Fresques needs to find her missing son. The woman is dying and wants her son home to raise the daughter he left behind.
"VERY MAGICAL STORY"
For John Carver, a simple Celtic woodworker, life is a struggle to feed his family. Then one summer day, as he walks past a near-dead alder tree, lightning strikes. With the shattered tree lying all around him, Carver pulls himself up and decides to make the best of it - he takes the usable pieces to his workshop. From the shards of that dead tree John creates three boxes. Then the unexplained happens - shortly after handling one of them, John's touch brings his young son back from the brink of death.
Octogenarian Willie McBride has gone missing, and now his obnoxious daughter is pestering Albuquerque CPA Charlie Parker to find him in time for the big family reunion. Apparently, the eccentric old man had one driving obsession: finding gold. So Charlie follows Willie's prospecting trail to the modern-day ghost town of White Oaks, site of an historic gold rush, a bitter scandal, some ugly business - and now a corpse.
"No suspense, minimal arc, annoying narrator"
Charlie and her husband begin the winter with hopes for a honeymoon in a secluded New Mexico mountain cabin. But their plans are disrupted when police locate an old pawn ticket identifying the gun used in a five year old murder. They trace the ticket back to ski instructor Elroy Romero, who work's for Charlie's husband, Drake. Elroy swears he didn't commit the crime, even though the gun has been in his possession all along. And when it turns out the murder victim was Elroy's brother, a priest, Charlie really begins to question her client's story.
Charlie Parker and her husband Drake Langston accept a job with Gold Trail Adventures in Skagway, Alaska, flying visitors by helicopter to remote cabin sites to experience the outdoor lifestyle and seek their fortunes. It isn't long before one of the guests finds a set of bones in an old mine, remains that date back decades.
Sharon Ortega, an old school chum of Charlie's, hires Charlie to prove that her dead restaurant partner, David, didn't commit suicide. David's recent, keyman life insurance policy won't pay for suicide, and Sharon needs the money to keep the business going. Charlie uncovers evidence of tax fraud, high level political connections, and two distinctly different sides to David's life. Amidst a confusion of relatives, she also discovers that members of David's family are lifelong friends with Vicky, the new love of Charlie's brother, Ron. And Vicky appears increasingly suspicious.
It’s a New Mexico Christmas. The lights are strung, the luminarias are set along the sidewalks. Treats are abundant and Charlie Parker is getting ready for her mother-in-law’s holiday visit. But there is trouble in the neighborhood and when death shows up - right next door - Charlie’s bright, festive plans suddenly take a turn for the dark.
"Cloying and not really about Christmas"
Charlie's last case left her tired and emotionally drained, so her office staff convinces her to vacation in Kauai. Charlie is riding in a helicopter when she and the pilot spot a dead body lying on the rugged rocks of Kauai's NaPali coast. Mack Garvey, the owner of the helicopter tour company, is accused of the murder. Charlie wants to avoid the whole mess but is persuaded to help Garvey prove his innocence. As the tension builds, Charlie roots out the suspects one by one never dreaming that her own life is about to be snuffed out by sinister means.
"Not as good as the first"
Charlie Parker is asked to look into a controversial series of miscarriages in a small town in New Mexico that's heavily populated by Mexicans. The town has one medical clinic. Her first assumption is to look for some type of environmental problem such as pesticides but that draws a blank. Then she shifts her suspicions onto the medical industry and finds herself embroiled in politics regarding health care among minorities. It's when the dead bodies start to show up that she realizes she's onto something far bigger than she imagined and far deadlier....
It’s a terrible case of mistaken identity when a gang of bank robbers think that Charlie is a famous movie star. Disappointed with their take from the bank, they decide that a hefty ransom will be their ticket to riches. But what will happen when the real star steps forward? Charlie knows that only her wits will save her from this band of desperate men. Meanwhile, in a race against the clock, Charlie's husband Drake is working with the FBI and local authorities to get Charlie back before her captors realize their mistake.
Charlie is invited to a plush Santa Fe spa, a week-long spiritual/nutrition retreat with her friend Dr. Linda Casper. The massages and spa treatments sound great, until she realizes that there is something darker going on at the mountain resort. Meanwhile, Drake has his own set of concerns. He's been asked to testify as an expert witness in a helicopter crash case and it's causing him more anxiety than any feat of flying ever did. It seems that they are each on their own but their two cases overlap and dangers abound, from all sides.
"Interesting for Santa Fe, but must get names right"