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on July 24, 2012
Stick a Fork in It is the second book in the Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop series. Poppy is a former chef at her family's restaurant and now works as a health inspector. In the course of her duties, she does the inspection for a new restaurant called Capital Punishment. The premise of the restaurant is that it will serve the last meals of famous killers. The owners of the place turn out to be old classmates of Poppy's-twin brothers who were part of the in crowd and their partner who was one of their bullying victims.
Poppy runs into problems with the inspection and has to keep coming back and eventually she is the one who finds a dead body on the premises. There are disgruntled employees, old grudges, possible illegal worker issues, and cheating spouses all in the mix. Poppy has her hands full dealing with the unpredictable owners while trying to solve the murder case.
During all of this action, Poppy is struggling with personal issues of her own. She has forgiven her boyfriend for cheating on her and they are working hard to mend the relationship. The fact that he is a restaurant critic and trying to pry details about the new place from her adds to the mild feeling of untrustworthiness. Add to the situation the re-emergence of Poppy's first serious love that left her in the lurch but has returned to the area, and Poppy has a lot on her plate (so to speak).
I don't know if it was the restaurant concept that bothered me, but I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the story. However, after the first couple of chapters, it really held my interest. I actually found all of the inspection references interesting and the characters were well fleshed out whether good and bad folks. The resolution of the murder was believable and there was a little twist towards the end and will keep fans of the series wondering about where Poppy will be going romance wise.
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on August 13, 2012
I really liked the first book in this series and was looking forward to this one. It didn't disappoint. Well developed characters, fairly well paced plot and laugh out loud funny in spots. The only problem I had was a problem I have with a lot of books of this genre: WHY was Poppy investigating this murder? She barely knew the victim and didn't particulary like him. Her rationale that she just had to see justice served- is pretty lame and truthfully, if it weren't for the help of her journalist (ex-sort of) boyfriend, she would have gotten nowhere with her investigation. He's the one with all the connections and insider info she needed. I mean this is Austin- the capital of Texas-surely their police force is competent. Other than that, it was a fun read. I like the conflict between Poppy and her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her and is trying to get back in her good graces. Their relationship rings true. She wants to forgive him but he hurt her terribly. He's contrite but is one of these really good looking guys who has women falling all over him. They are trying to work their way back to each other but it's hard. Add the further complication of a returning ex-fiancee of Poppy's to Austin and we've got lots of future story. Can't wait for the next one.
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on August 18, 2015
This book did not continue the high interest level that I found with the first in the series, "If You Can't Stand the Heat." I know that it is fiction, and cozy fiction at that, but you must suspend believability completely for the first several chapters. No health inspector who cared for the job would become involved in high-jinks with restaurant owners as Poppy did. And no health inspector supervisor would side with restaurant owners who do not like their ratings.
It is not bad enough that I will not try the next in the series, "Out of the Frying Pan." But it is not good enough that I would have continued the series if this had been the first that I read.
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on August 3, 2012
Poppy Markham, Austin health inspector, loves her job. She knows that each time she conducts an inspection of a restaurant, deli, or food truck, she is doing her part to protect the public's health. The fact that she spent much of her life working in her family's restaurant makes her very good at her job. The owners of Capital Punishment, a new restaurant that should be opening soon, are having difficulty making sure that the restaurant meets the requirements for a food permit. Unfortunately, Poppy has had to make numerous repeat visits, and during one of these visits, she stumbles upon the body of one of the owners. Although she realizes she has no reason to investigate, she sets out to prove that the death was murder, not suicide or an accident. Poppy keeps coming back to the same set of suspects but can't figure out strong enough motives for any of them.
Stick a Fork In It, the second in the Poppy Markham, Culinary Cop series, is an enjoyable mystery. It kept me guessing most of the way through, and that's always a good thing. Poppy is a `no-nonsense' character, and I find her to be quite likeable. In this book, we find out why Poppy left her family's restaurant to become a health inspector--her reason made sense to me. A bit of humor is added each time Poppy answers a call from her boss. This is a good cozy mystery, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
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on August 1, 2012
Our favorite health inspector, Poppy Markham is on limited duty and finds herself assigned to inspect a new unopened restaurant...Capital Punishment. The decor and menu are still in flux but the concept is to honor persons last meals. Odd? This is Austin, TX.

To Poppy's shock, one of the owners dies by hanging....since he was a prankster, Poppy just has to find out if the death was intentional or an accident or...homicide?

The main determent in this book to me was the back and forth of Poppy's boyfriends. They seemed to detract from the main story. I like romance but this didn't feel like it to me.

It was a good story premise though.
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on July 22, 2012
What would be your last meal request? As one of the main ideas in the book besides the murder, this is just one of the humorous aspects of this book. I was able to receive this book through Netgalley and I chose it because it was a cozy mystery. This is one of the genres I wanted to read more of this year. I'm glad I requested this. It didn't disappoint.

The author has all the makings of a great cozy mystery. A great sleuth, Poppy, who works for the county doing food inspections. A crazy mother-in-law who lives it up and wants Poppy to buy clothing with color. Somehow their shopping trip never does transpire. Poppy is also juggling an ex-boyfriend and a current boyfriend, and as with other cozies, this definitely provides for some interesting times. Then there are the neighbors, John With and John Without, a hilarious gay couple. She is staying with them due to renovations on her own home because of an incident in the first book. This book had a lot of characters, not too many to keep track of, but enough to add laughter and spice.

This is the second book in the series. The first book is a free download from Amazon right now. I will definitely go back and read that book in the near future. I think it will definitely fill in some of the gaps with history I didn't understand with the relationships of the characters in this book.

I think the author has great series. The only thing that is disappointing to me is I have to wait for another book.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher Midnight Ink via Netgalley.
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on July 24, 2012
Author Robin Allen cooks up another savory delight readers will eat up in STICK A FORK IN IT, the second book in the series about Austin/Travis County health inspector Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop.

Enticing appetizers for cozy mystery connoisseurs are promptly served in Chapter One of this humorous, clean book, starting with the author's great opening line and first paragraph.

"A couple of weeks ago, an employee at my father's restaurant
tried to kill me by setting my bedroom on fire. ... When that
didn't work, he tried to lock me in the restaurant's walk-in
refrigerator and freeze me to death."

Readers' appetites are whetted further with the promise that much more of "the good stuff" is surely to follow because Allen continues to throw in one intriguing morsel right after the other as each page is turned.

Poppy's first assignment in STICK A FORK IN IT is to perform a food permit inspection for a new Austin restaurant that is decorated inside and out to resemble a prison and is named "Capital Punishment." The items on the menu are each named after a death row inmate and consist of what food the condemned truly asked for as a last meal request. For example, if a diner craves two pints of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, then the meal to order would be a "Timothy McVeigh."

The main plot of this novel is that before Capital Punishment can get everything up to par to pass inspection, a death occurs. One of the restaurant's owners, Troy Sharpe, is found with a rope around his neck, hanging in the middle of the dining room. Or wait ... IS it Troy, or is it his twin brother Todd? "Culinary Cop" (and former chef) Poppy Markham intends to solve this "whodunit" mystery in the two weeks or so before Capital Punishment's scheduled opening night.

I loved author Allen's voice and her clever humor in her first book, IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT, and Allen doesn't disappoint in bringing that same great style to Stick a Fork In It. For instance, several witty comments are always tossed back and forth each time a conversation occurs between Poppy and her ex-boyfriend Jamie, who is a former newspaper journalist and current freelance food writer.

One example is when Poppy and Jamie are discussing Jeffrey Dahmer, the convicted serial killer nicknamed "The Milwaukee Cannibal." Poppy asks Jamie, "What do you think was his last meal?" and Jamie answers, "Manwiches." I laughed out loud on that one!

Speaking of Poppy's ex, I noticed an interesting thing about Jamie's website, which includes such things as restaurant reviews and food trends. The site is named "Amooze-Boosh," and if you Google that funny-sounding name, you'll discover that's also the name of author Allen's blog. I thinks that's cool the way Allen includes that part of her professional writing life in this fictional story.

Just like with Allen's first book, I once again enjoyed the food-related descriptions in this second book, such as: "I sat in my Jeep in the Markham's parking lot roasting like a Peking duck while I pondered Daisy's insight." The author also has a talent for using other descriptions and making comparisons that are never trite, such as: "Her eyes grew as wide as Vinnie Barbarino's bell-bottoms."

Author Allen did a great job in keeping this reviewer from guessing the killer's identity in STICK A FORK IN IT. I'm pretty sure regardless if other readers solve the mystery or not, once a reader has sampled some of author Robin Allen's creations, a request for seconds will surely follow.
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on February 13, 2014
This is the second book in the series, and I felt it was better then the first. I enjoyed the love triangle, and I look forward to seeing what will happen next.
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on July 21, 2016
Love the concept/plot of this book. Really good story. Well written. Likable characters.
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on September 28, 2012
This is one of the best mysteries I have ever read kept me guessing till the end on who done it. Every time I think I have the person I'm wrong. Keep up the good work and can't wait for the next one. If this is the first one you read in the series you need to read the other one called If you can't stand the heat.She is a great author. I give 5 stars on this book.
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