Chick Lit and Wine Summer Must Read #1: “Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys” by Pamela DuMond

Summer should be reserved for relaxing, eating, drinking – and reading only the very best. This week I bring you the first part of our summer series: Chick Lit and Wine Summer Must Reads.

When the famous self-help author Dr. Derrick Fuller (think Dr. Phil, but young, thin, and bi-sexual) ends up dead after eating a poisoned cupcake from Annie’s line of baked goods, she becomes the number one suspect. When Annie finds out her husband cheated on her with Dr. Fuller she’s sorry that the real murderer beat her to it.

“Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys” unites the best in chick lit heroines, murder mysteries, and sugary sweets. Plus the novel goes one step further – Annie has psychic abilities. But not in a cheesy way.

Annie Graceland is an empath, meaning she can feel what others are feeling. Unfortunately, that means she feels their cravings, their rage, their everything. Dr. Fuller – yes, as a ghost – takes advantage of Annie’s abilities because she’s the only one who can see and hear him. He wants her help to find the killer. Annie resists because she’s pissed he slept with her husband. Derrick won’t take no for an answer.

The excitement, hilarity, and drama take off. From a nearly-naked blue ghost that won’t leave, to sexy Detective Raphael Campillio investigating the murder, Pamela DuMond left me wishing the book would never end.

This novel deserves more than a wine pairing – it needs a cupcake. If you can’t re-create the chocolate delight on the cover, head to a local bakery and treat yourself to something decadent. If you’re in the Denver area, head to Happy Cakes in The Highlands. Their chocolate cupcakes with Guinness icing are drool-worthy. If you’re in Manhattan Beach you have to try Cupcakes Couture. Their flourless Chocolate Fudge cupcake will make you weak at the knees.

“Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys” – along with the sugary cake of your choice – should be washed down with The Naked Grape Chardonnay. The sweet peach aroma matches Annie’s innocence and hope, while the tangy pineapple aroma matches Detective Campillio’s zest for justice. And the name – The Naked Grape – reminds me of a certain almost-naked ghost.

Pamela DuMond has created an instant classic, jumping straight to the top of our summer must read list. The psychic abilities, ghosts, cheating husbands, and crazy best friends are never distracting, corny, or forced. The dialogue and storyline move quickly, always leaving the reader wondering who the real killer is – and where to get a delicious cupcake. Quick.