"The Look of Love: A Piper Donovan Mystery" (William Morrow), by Mary Jane Clark: Author Mary Jane Clark is a master at whipping up delicious nightmares for mystery fans, so a bride who hires Piper Donovan to make a wedding cake had better watch out, because a series of deadly events is bound to follow.
The bride in "The Look of Love," the author's second book featuring cake maker Piper, is Jillian Abernathy, who works as the director of the Elysium, a luxury spa and cosmetic surgery center in the Hollywood Hills.
Jillian leads a privileged life. Her father, Vernon, is a renowned cosmetic surgeon and the owner of the spa. Her loving fiance is a psychiatrist who works at the spa. Her stepmother is always supportive. And Jillian's sister, who became a nun after their mother died while recovering from a facelift, gives her spiritual support.
But Jillian is far from happy. In fact, she's very afraid. Several months ago, she postponed her wedding after someone threw a cup of acid in her housecleaner's face. Jillian realized the attack was meant for her.
Now, with her housecleaner on the mend, she decides to go ahead with the wedding. She asks Piper to fly from her home in New Jersey and create a special cake for her.
Piper, whose fabulous three-tier concoction for a soap opera star attracted media attention, wants to succeed as an actress, so she welcomes the chance to visit Los Angeles. She's aware of the acid attack at the spa, but doesn't believe that she's in danger.
However, when she arrives at the Elysium, a murder takes place. Someone is obviously trying to stop Jillian's wedding. Jillian and her father have plenty of enemies, so it could be anyone.
Unlike heroines in some other thrillers, Piper doesn't snoop around in the dark playing detective. Until she and the murderer cross paths, she concentrates on designing the cake. This allows various suspects to take center stage and vent their grudges. Given the intensity of their hatred, Jillian will be lucky if she's alive on her big day.