Playing with Fire – J.J. Cook

4/5 Rural Volunteer Fire Departments

On The Back:

Welcome to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s home to the hottest and sweetest peppers in the world—as well as at least one ghost and a hotbed of secrets…


Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn—who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes—and the lawman.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stella’s parents soon arrive—with her ex-boyfriend—hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she’d better think fast or more than her investigation could go up in flames…

My Thoughts:

Overall this was a great book with a good mystery, realistic characters and a flawless setting. however this book had a few moments that left me thinking “wait… what?”

To start the characters seemed to have changed a lot between this book and the last one. I felt like a lifetime had passed. At the end of the last book Stella and Jon were a great couple who had a few problems, but I thought they could work it out, however this book has some points that totally reverse almost everything that happened in the last book. There are two main examples that I can think of where this happened in this book, but I don’t want to say them because they are sorta-major spoilers.

The dialogue was choppy and the POV was really hard to keep up with. One point Stella would be thinking about something and the next it was Eric thinking about something, with no breaks.

Overall, however the mystery, setting, and some of the characters give this book the four stars.


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