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Beat Until Stiff
By Claire M. Johnson

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Beat Until Stiff

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Also available: 20 point Super Large Print edition

Beat Until Stiff
By Claire M. Johnson
Read How You Want, (2010)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font
(Originally Published in Standard Print by Poisoned Pen Press)
ISBN: 9781458728043
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Angela Evans - May 17, 2010

Mary Ryan is a peevish, thirty-four-year-old divorcee who has yet to come to terms with the dissolution of her marriage. Since her divorce, she has let herself go - her looks, her clothes, she's even forgotten to eat at times. However, when it comes to her job as the head pastry chef at American Fare, a restaurant known as a trendy society hang-out, she is still at the top of her game. Often working eighteen hour days, Ryan has little in her life except her job.

Her life is turned unexpectedly upside down when she comes into work early one morning to finish preparing for an upcoming banquet. Before she can get to work her world falls apart when she steps on a laundry bag, in which she discovers the body of one of her employees. Assigned to the case is O'Connor, a San Francisco homicide detective and her ex-husband's former partner. As the story unfolds, Claire M. Johnson, who is herself a pastry chef, gleefully reveals a host of dirty secrets about the behind-the-scenes going ons of the restaurant business.

Beat Until Stiff is an exciting, engrossing, and edgy mystery. The story is filled with an eclectic assortment of characters, including Thom (pronounced Tom) a highly polished snob and the restaurant's controller, Brent the restaurant's owner and a celebrity chef who will do just about anything to get the publicity that he craves, and Amos Savage, Ryan's only real friend - an ex-dancer who was sidelined by an injury and who is fighting a never-ending battle against AIDS. Set against the backdrop of the San Francisco restaurant scene, Johnson's insights into the business are a real eye opener and they help to give this mystery a unique feel.

While a bit darker than most cozies, this mystery also has a sprinkling of humor that helps to break up the darker moments. Overall, Johnson delivers a solid mystery with an intriguing setting and a satisfying ending. If you are interested in food and you like mysteries - give Beat Until Stiff a try to while away a few hours with.

Beat Until Stiff is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.

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