Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies (Pies Before Guys Mystery #1)
By Misha Popp
May 10, 2022

★★★ 3 stars

Daisy Ellery is the owner of Pies Before Guys mobile bakery. But Daisy’s no ordinary baker: she can imbue her pies with magic, including magic that can kill the person that eats the pie.

When Daisy finds a letter threatening to reveal her criminal ways, she knows she’s in trouble. Sounds like a case of blackmail – but who’s responsible? That’s something Daisy will have to find out.


Thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing me with an ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.

This was a tough book for me to review. Some elements of the book were very well done, but others left me wanting.

I’ll start with what I thought was novel: Daisy being a (vigilante) serial killer. This is a protagonist who’s arguably of questionable morals, because even though she claims she has rules she aims to follow about the men she targets, she still kills those men.

This made it somewhat difficult for me to cheer for her, because I wasn’t sure I agreed with her brand of vigilante justice. But Popp does a good job of trying to make us understand, if not sympathize with why she does what she does. I like that she’s a criminal anti-hero, it made for a unique read!

What I thought was a bit off was the characterization of the genre. The summary of the book (when I read it back in October) referred to it as a cozy series, similar to authors like Ellery Adams and Mary Maxwell.

It’s not that I dislike thriller/suspense reads, rather, that I wasn’t expecting a book of this style when I first started reading it. I personally think the genre should be adjusted a bit so that people can be more clear about what they’re getting into. I’d say it’s more so a cozy-adjacent suspense novel.

One of the reasons why I don’t think it’s a cozy mystery is because of the heavy references to social issues made throughout the book. I personally don’t mind it as I think that it helps contribute to Daisy’s backstory, but I know many readers of cozies prefer to not see such themes in their reads.

I’d say the discussion of social issues is even a bit heavy for what is typical for cozy mysteries in general. Is this bad? Not necessarily, but I do think you should be aware of it before going in.

Also, there is a good bit of foul language, the MC is certainly not a moral character, there’s a bit more violence than the typical cozy (as we see Daisy killing her marks).

I think if I had been better informed about the genre before going in, I would have approached the read with different expectations and a different mindset.

If you’re looking for a cozy-ish suspense novel, I’d recommend this one, but don’t expect a classic cozy mystery.

Since I was so mixed on this book, I gave it ★★★ 3 stars. But, I can see others rating it much higher or much lower than I did, depending on they prefer.

Please note that there are some scenes with heavy violence (at least, in comparison to the typical cozy mystery) and discussions of domestic abuse.

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