Review: Fatal Fried Rice (A Noodle Shop Mystery #7) by Vivien Chien

I first discovered this series because I was hungry. I was on my lunch break scrolling through Netgalley and saw the first book and was like lured in by the noodle ox on the cover and I have never been so glad to be hungry in all my life! I found such a fun series because I was hungry!

This has been such a fun little series to read and I am so happy to see that we are on the seventh book in the series! I am so happy people have loved it as much as I have. Lana Lee is a great amateur detective who has funky hair, a love for donuts, and doesn’t shy away from a murder or two. She sounds like someone I would totally hang out with which is one of the reasons I have enjoyed this series so much.

These are quick reads that I almost always finish within a day or two. They make for great beach reads or a great pick you grab at the airport between flights. I always feel satisfied after reading one of these books, not to mention hungry for Chinese food!

Summary

Lana Lee returns for another delectable cozy set in a Chinese restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio in Vivien Chien’s Fatal Fried Rice

Lana Lee runs her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village like nobody’s business. When it comes to actual cooking, however, she’s known to be about a step up from boiling rice. So Lana decides to go to culinary school on the sly―and prove that she has what it takes in the kitchen after all. But when course instructor Margo Chan turns up dead after class, Lana suddenly finds herself on the case, frying pan in hand.

Since she was the one who discovered the body, Lana must do double duty in finding the killer and clearing her name. Now, with or without the help of her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana launches her own investigation into Margo’s life and mysterious death. Doing so leads her on a wild goose chase to and from the culinary school―and all the way back to the Ho-Lee noodle shop, where the guilty party may be closer than Lana thinks. (summary from Goodreads)

Review

In this book, Lana is taking a Chinese cooking class. Wait what?! Yes that’s exactly what I said to myself. I had to think back and try to recall if Lana had actually cooked in the restaurant before rather than just managing it. I feel like maybe she has but I honestly can’t recall. Though I do vaguely recall her saying to people that she’s not really a cook, but I could be wrong. I wish this were something I could recall because I spent half the book trying to remember if she was a bad cook or not. I wish it had been clearly brought up in other books, like ‘Lana is a terrible cook’, same as her funky hair and donut obsession were talked about. But whatever, it wasn’t a huge deal and I loved the irony of Lana managing her parents restaurant but having zero idea how to cook.

In my opinions this book could read as a standalone, as can most of the other Lana books, so if you are wondering if you can dive in here I think the answer is easily yes. The author does a great job explaining the background of the characters and Asian Village for new readers and old readers who might need a refresher. The author also lives in Cleveland and really brings the Asian Village to life. It feels like a fun place to visit and the characters and setting feel so authentic. It’s one of the things that is consistently strong in this series.

For me, this mystery and plot was just ok. Probably not the strongest in the series but still a worthy read. If this is your first Lana book, you will enjoy it but if you are a long time Lana fan you will know that some of the mysteries are better than the others and for me I enjoyed some of the others better. In this one, Lana is the prime suspect in the murder of her cooking class teacher and that was kind of a new twist from some of the previous books which really made this one stand out a bit more.

In the end though, this book met all my expectations—-great food, fun/familiar characters (Majong Matrons I am looking at you!), a cozy little mystery and a solid story. I always finish a new Lana book feeling content and looking forward to future books in the series! I can’t wait to read the next one in this series to see what Lana gets up to next!

Book Info and Rating

Format320 pages Mass Market Paperback

PublishedMarch 9, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

ISBN9781250782595 (ISBN10: 1250782597)

Free review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced

Rating: 3 stars

Genre: cozy mystery, mystery, detective novel

WHERE TO BUY (AFFILIATE LINK)

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