Title: Deep Dark Secrets
Author: Joy Ann Ribar
Series: Deep Lakes #1
Publisher: Orange Hat Publishing
Release Date: October 3, 2019
Pages: 330
Book Source: Trade Paperback

“You’re invited to visit Deep Lakes, Wisconsin and meet a new friend, Francine “Frankie” Champagne. The 40-something owner of Bubble and Bake — bakery by day, wine lounge by night — Frankie is a spitfire pastry maker, vintner, and budding journalist.
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Frankie finds herself on the perimeter of a suspicious death that upends the peaceful winter slumber in Deep Lakes when the local pastor is found dead inside his fishing shanty on Lake Loki. Frankie sticks her curious nose into the investigation, despite warnings from the local sheriff to leave it alone. But she has something to prove, maybe to the newspaper editor who wouldn’t hire her as a reporter, maybe to herself as she searches for fulfillment. Regardless, her fierce independence won’t allow her to back down. Follow Frankie as she stumbles upon one discovery after another, trails potential suspects, and solves the case!” – Amazon

Kim’s Review

If you’ve been a reader of my blog, you know I love finding the first book in a new series, and really, really love finding the first book in a new cozy mystery series! I came across Deep Dark Secrets by Joy Ann Ribar when our local library had a local author con back in February. Since I’m a Virgo, a nerd, and former library worker, I did some research on which author’s would be there, and knew I wanted to stop at Ribar’s table.

Ribar and her husband were a joy to talk to, having many of the same interests as my husband and myself, including the love of wine. We exchanged some of our favorite wineries around the state of Wisconsin, and once the stay at home ban is lifted, I’m really looking forward to checking out some new vineyards.

On Ribar’s facebook page I saw that book two in the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery series, Deep Bitter Roots, was coming out soon, so I wanted to get the first one read before then. And it was fantastic. I’ve read various cozies that take place in Wisconsin, but this one takes place near Stevens Point, which is where I lived for part of my childhood, and where my step-dad still lives. And it’s only about a 20 minute drive from where we currently live, so I really felt a kinship to the book and the characters in it.

Ribar did a great job writing about Central Wisconsin and really nailed the type of people you’ll find in a small town in Wisconsin, as well as all the social and church events.
The way she describes the winters here is completely accurate, including how keeping extra boots, food, and other essentials in your vehicle is a must. And like any good cozy, there’s a possible love interest on the horizon.

And while Frankie and her business partner, Carmen, run the bakery and wine shop, Frankie also writes some articles for the local newspaper. She wants to write articles with more depth, but the editor thinks women should just write about the home and entertainment. So Frankie decides to try getting the scoop on the murder for the Stevens Point paper. Good thing Frankie has such a great partner and staff that they are able to run the bakery/winery while she’s out looking for clues! Combine living in a small community, running a business so many people go to, with being a journalist, and Ribar has the perfect combo for any amateur sleuth.

I’m looking forward to reading the next book, Deep Bitter Roots, and finding out where Frankie’s reporting and sleuthing skills take her and her friends.

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