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Penne Dreadful  By  cover art

Penne Dreadful

By: Catherine Bruns
Narrated by: Celeste Ciulla
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Publisher's summary

Tomato sauce isn't the only thing that runs red....

Local chef Tessa Esposito is struggling to get back on her feet following her husband's fatal accident. And when the police knock on Tessa's door, things just get worse. They've discovered Dylan's death wasn't an accident after all, and they need Tessa to start filling in the blanks. Who would want her beloved husband dead, and why?

With the investigation running cold, Tessa decides it's time to save her sanity by reconnecting with her first love - cooking. And maybe the best way back into the kitchen is to infiltrate Dylan's favorite local pizza parlor, which also happens to be the last place he was seen before he died. But the anchovies aren't the only thing that stink inside the small family business, and with suspects around every corner, Tessa finds that her husband's many secrets might land her in hot water.

©2019 Catherine Bruns (P)2019 Recorded Books

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5/5 Pots of “Rich” Sauce...Deliciously Engaging!

I am an eager fan of Catherine Bruns’ work, so it’s important to note that the writing, the mystery, and the characters are all her! I totally enjoyed “Penne Dreadful,” first-in-a-series page turner, which included several personal and professional motives to sift through, a satisfying conclusion, a bit of peril, and some great characters that I look forward to following. An Italian chef? Italian cuisine? Murder? She penned a well-written first-person narrative from our heroine Tessa Esposito’s perspective with a compelling plot using some contemporary issues, vivid (some mouthwatering) descriptions, and entertaining banter illustrating tone and personality. We are introduced to Tessa who is slowing emerging from the depths of grief after the death of her husband. However, grief turns to resolve when she learns her husband’s fatal accident wasn’t an accident. The authorities, including her cop/cousin, find the evidence suspicious and tracing his last moments have led them to a link with which Tessa can provide some assistance. She'll do anything to get answers and justice, so she goes undercover…as a cook.

The audiobook (9 hr. 38 min.) provided a delightful way to enjoy Catherine’s story with the marvelous voice talent of Celeste Ciulla. Her rich tones gave a warmth to the listening experience, much like Tessa’s sauce on a bed of al dente penne, bringing Catherine’s story to life. Celeste goes beyond the traditional reading out loud style as her steady-paced performance did well to illustrate the few accents and dialects (especially Carlita’s Spanish, Vincent and Anthony’s New “Yawk”), personalities (especially the excited Gabby and Olivia), different ages, and the male voices, a challenge for female narrators. She also did well performing the emotional complexities from Tessa’s range from grief to fear to angry then satisfaction. Even the points of peril were read in a way to put me literally on the edge of my chair. The audiobook gets 5/5 microphones!

Hurrah! My suggestions have been heard...by whom, I don’t know, but the recipes are included!! You can listen and copy down the three Italian favorites: Never-Fail Pizza Crust and Pepperoni Pizza, Tessa’s Tantalizing Tomato Sauce, and ‘Good to the Last Bite’ Stromboli. I love it!

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