By: Hannah Reed
Publication Date: September 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: August 13, 2010
Melissa “Story” Fischer had returned to Moraine, Wisconsin a couple of years ago. Unlike her sister Holly, who had an M.R.S. degree, Story actually had to work for a living and started up a soon to be thriving grocery store, “The Wild Clover.” Holly drove a Jag and Story drove a getcha where ya wanna go pickup, but what the heck, she was happy. While Southeastern Wisconsin wasn’t exactly “the” place to be, it was proving to be a place where Story could leave behind the past and start fresh again. Well, almost because her ex, Clay, whose only redeeming quality just happened to be his “gorgeous feet,” lived next door and Pity-Party Patti Dwyre, who owned a telescope, lived on the other side. Nobody ever said it was a perfect world.
Cousin Carrie Ann thought Story should have called up Clay and invited him to join the festivities at The Wild Clover’s “one-day sale,” but who in their right mind would invite a two-timing twit to guzzle up all her free champagne? The champagne filled flutes and freebies were being scarfed up by everyone from the foodies to the frumps and he was the last thing on her mind. While everyone was getting a buzz, Story’s “beekeeping mentor,” Manny Chapman, who taught her in his beekeeping course, was lying out by his beehives, apparently dying a horrendous death after having been stung by his honeybees. Just when Story thought things were getting bad, things got soooo bad, her hair could have curled without even so much as walking by the Stone Bank beauty shop.
Faye Tilley, Clay’s current paramour, just happened to be found “sprawled faceup” inside a kayak . . . HER kayak. And guess who found the corpse? Story wasn’t exactly on the right side of the law. She’d turned down that obnoxious bully Johnny Jay (now Police Chief Jay) when he invited her to the prom in high school, and she’d dumped Hunter Wallace, currently a member of the Critical Incident Team, a.k.a. C.I.T. Missy Fischer had a lot to explain and in a big fat hurry. Was she going to be able to explain away her awkward connections to the victims? Could she prove Manny had been murdered? Would she be able to exonerate Clay? OMG! Grams was on her way in her Cadillac Fleetwood. Looked like Story was in for the ride of her life. It wouldn’t be long before her mother would start yapping, “Your personal life is spread over the entire town like a B movie . . . ” No kidding.
Everyone is simply going to go Buzz-erk over the marvelously quirky cast of characters in this fabulously funny new series. This series portrays small town America in its not so finest light, the way it really is (minus the corpses of course). You’ve got everything and everyone from those little rat-at-tat tat romances going on when no one is looking (except for P. P. Patti) to eccentric Grams in her Caddie who would just as soon run over you as look at you. Rather than peek behind your blinds at your real neighbors, you need only to crack open the pages of this book to find them. Hannah Reed has a deliciously spicy, adorable sense of humor that had me howling with unabashed glee. You couldn’t get as many colorful characters if you poured them from a box of Fruit Loops. Buzz Off had just the right blend of mystery, romance, and humor that will charm anyone’s socks off. If this fantastic whodunit doesn’t buzz to the top of your list, I’m simply gonna have to sic Grams on you...and she doesn’t mess around!
Quill says: If you are in need of a quirky, light, incredibly humorous cozy, look no more. Hannah Reed has whopped ‘n chopped and stirred up a formula for a mystery that will line up an audience who will beg for more!