Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Aloha to Tina Kashian and HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE (Kebab Kitchen Mystery No. 1) - Book Review


When Lucy Berberian quits her Philadelphia law firm and heads home to Ocean Crest, she knows what she's getting--the scent of funnel cake, the sight of the wooden roller coaster, and the tastes of her family's Mediterranean restaurant. But murder wasn't on the menu . . .

Things are slow in the off-season in this Jersey Shore town, but Lucy doesn't mind. She doesn't even mind waitressing at the Kebab Kitchen. Her parents have put in a new hummus bar, with every flavor from lemon to roasted red pepper. It's fun to see their calico cat again, and to catch up with her old BFF, who's married to a cop now.

She could do without Heather Banks, though. The Gucci-toting ex-cheerleader is still as nasty as she was back in high school . . . and unfortunately, she's just taken over as the local health inspector. Just minutes after eating at the Kebab Kitchen--where she's tallied up a whole list of bogus violations--she falls down dead in the street. Word on the grapevine is it's homicide, and Lucy's the number one suspect . . .

Tina Kashian spent her childhood summers at the New Jersey shore, building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business where her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. She worked almost every job—rolling silverware and wiping down tables as a tween, to hosting and waitressing as a teenager.

After college, Tina worked as a NJ Deputy Attorney General, a patent attorney, and a mechanical engineer. Her love of reading fiction for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Her law cases inspired an inquiring mind of crime, and since then, Tina has been hooked on mysteries. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit tinakashian.com and join her Newsletter to enter free contests to win books, get delicious recipes, and to learn when her books will be released.

Image from Wikipedia (link)

The emotive power of hummus all over the Middle East cannot be overstated, being the focus of some serious tribal rivalries.

- Yotam Ottolenghi

Rivalry prompts patent attorney Lucy Berberian to quit her job in Philadelphia and return home to her multicultural family in Ocean Crest, New Jersey. Rivalry rears its ugly head again when Lucy argues with Heather Banks, a high school mean girl turned corrupt town health inspector. Just as Lucy sets out to protect her family's restaurant from further violations, Heather is poisoned after eating at the Kebab Kitchen's new hummus bar. Lucy becomes the prime suspect and the restaurant looses customers, jeopardizing her parents' retirement plans.  Alas, Lucy sets out to solve the mystery with help from her family, friends, and even a mobster.

Kashian draws upon her own experience of the Jersey shore to deliver a cozy mystery with a touch of nostalgia for the boardwalk. Kashian molds Lucy into a flawed, but lovable, heroine.  While Lucy may be an educated lawyer, she is not quite the slealthy detective, leading to predictable hijinks as she steps on a few toes. But Kashian excels with her diverse cast of characters, celebrating the unique heritage of the immigrants who built our country ... and made delicious food!

Kashian, like Lucy, is embarking on a new career.  As a seasoned romance writer (Tina Gabrielle, link), Kashian takes on cozy mysteries like a pro.  I look forward to reading more from the Kebab Kitchen!

I received an Advance Review Copy (ARC) from Kensington to review.

I am giving away "beach swag" to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1. Where is your favorite beach?  What is your favorite beach food?  What is your favorite beach activity?  Outside of Hawaii, I enjoy walking on Clearwater Beach and collecting sea shells.  I indulge in ice cream to beat the heat!

2. Comments are open through Sunday, December 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, January 1.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Clearwater Beach (link)


  1. Favorite local beach is Jones Beach, but I've been to a couple of nice black sand beaches in Hawaii. Favorite beach food is ice cream or flavored ices.

  2. I rarely get to a beach but I have visited Cocoa Beach more than once. I enjoy collecting sea shells and reading and even playing bocci on the beach. Any snacks accompanied by Margaitas :)

  3. I love the Sunshine Coast. Coolum Beach in particular. I love collecting shells too. You can't beat eating fish & chips on the beach.

  4. I haven't been to one in years

  5. Hawaii is beautiful and away from there I love Emerald Isle in North Carolina. I love walking on the beach at night and enjoy quick meals so I can return.

  6. Jacksonville Florida no favorite beach food.

  7. Dauphin Island, AL is about 50 south of Mobile and has a lovely family atmosphere and very low key.
    Kate Sparks csparks52@live.com

  8. My favorite beach is the one we camp at every year. It is so calm and relaxing!

  9. I grew up hanging out at Bethany Beach in Delaware - back when it was a quiet "suburb" of Ocean City, MD. What memories.

  10. Forgot to answer other questions - I "lived on" red licorice while I worked at the putt-putt golf course. Ogling life guards was my favorite beach activity - okay, so I was 15 :-)

  11. As a kid, we went to the Delaware beaches, but we've taken our kids to OCMD since we had a friend give us a good deal on their condo.