Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal by Raquel V. Reyes

Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal by Raquel V. ReyesBarbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal by Raquel Reyes
Series: A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery #3
Published by Crooked Lane Books on November 7, 2023
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Also by this author: Mango, Mambo, and Murder, Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking
Also in this series: Mango, Mambo, and Murder, Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal

A lot is going on in this book – multiple locations and mysteries keep Miriam on her toes.

Miriam’s pregnant with their second child when her husband Robert surprises her with tickets so she and their small son Manny can visit her parents in the Dominican Republic. Upon arrival, Miriam’s concerned that the rental properties her parents manage are being vandalized and sabotaged. But before she can dive into an investigation, the producer from her El Mundo show asks her to go to Puerto Rico to do interviews and color pieces during the Three Kings celebration.

Puerto Rico brings a murder, multiple suspects and a host of other mysteries that seem like they’re related to the murder. But are they? 

My thoughts about Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal

I love that the author has taken what could be another delicious culinary cozy with gorgeous descriptions of food and bits of culinary history, especially about the African Diaspora, and turns it into very thoughtful writing about colonialism, gentrification, wealth disparity, the exploitation of Puerto Rico by outsiders, political activism, even bitcoin. 

Via Miriam’s El Mundo interviews with Puerto Rican chefs and food producers, the author skillfully weaves in a wealth of information about food traditions, and history. 

The writing is colorful and full of vivid descriptions of the places,cultural traditions, and people. I love getting to spend more time with Miriam’s parents and her extended family. Miriam’s two besties from Miami get to join her and help with the investigation.

The plotting was intricate – lots of moving parts with smaller mysteries – that the author skillfully handled. You get a very satisfying ending.

And while it shines a light on social justice issues, there are still plenty of warm, lighthearted and even humorous moments

Lots of Latinx rep and LGBTQIA+ rep.

In closing

Make sure you read the earlier books in the series:

  • Mango, Mambo, and Murder
  • Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking

My thoughts about both books.

Thank you, Crooked Lane Books for the ARC!

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About Raquel Reyes

RAQUEL V. REYES writes Latina protagonists. Her Cuban-American heritage, Miami, and Spanglish feature prominently in her work. Mango, Mambo, and Murder, the first in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series, won a LEFTY for Best Humorous Mystery and an International Latino Book Award. It was nominated for an Agatha Award and optioned for film. Raquel’s short stories appear in various anthologies, including The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2022.

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