Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Witless Protection Program - A Review & Giveaway


The Fifth Catering Hall Mystery
Mia Carina is a smart, capable, independent woman. That being said, she really wants to marry Shane who seems to be taking his sweet time in proposing after an amazing declaration of love. Her dream coming true turns into a nightmare when a ghost from the past reappears, very much alive. When he winds up dead everyone becomes a suspect. Will Mia be able to discover who killed the stronzo so that she can finally live happily ever after?

The book had me laughing, gasping, and agape at the antics of Mia, her friends, family, and Family. "Bigger." The essence of this mafia adjacent cast of characters is captured brilliantly, from Mia's #HOTCON brother who's in prison more often than not and her spitfire Nonna who loves to feed everyone to her aging godfather who happens to be a Godfather, and the rest of the Family. What's also real is the love, and not just between Mia and Shane. The Catering Hall Mysteries are comforting, a warm hug, and the knowledge that no matter what goes wrong, you have people who will back you until things are right again!

I absolutely adore the Catering Hall series and THE WITLESS PROTECTION PROGRAM makes a fantastic series finale. Throughout the book there were several small references to things that occurred in previous books in the series. I love that little footnotes were included noting which book the incident took place, in case you want to read more-and believe me, if you haven't read them you should!

Join Mia and the Family as she desperately tries to walk down the aisle in THE WITLESS PROTECTION PROGRAM, a murder mystery that will have you laughing out loud and craving a scrumptious Italian meal.


The Witless Protection Program (A Catering Hall Mystery) by Maria DiRico

About The Witless Protection Program

The Witless Protection Program (A Catering Hall Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 5th in Series
Setting - New York
Kensington Cozies (March 26, 2024)
Mass Market Paperback: ‎ 304 pages

Mia Carina has steered her Italian-American family’s Astoria, Queens, catering hall, Belle View Banquet Manor, into becoming the borough’s premiere party site, and nothing could make her happier—except her boyfriend proposing. There’s just one presumed-dead obstacle in the way . . .

A strong, independent woman and respected entrepreneur, Mia never imagined she’d pine for a marriage proposal. Yet lately, with her beloved Shane, she’s on tenterhooks. It’s especially surprising, considering Mia’s first husband, Adam, was a philandering grifter, assumed lost-at-sea after a boating disaster. But everyone knows what happens when you assume . . .

While working a huge wedding expo in Manhattan, Mia is shocked to spot the man who nearly destroyed her life. The one who’s supposed to be sleeping with the fishes. But she loses him in the crowd. And when it happens again the next day, it’s time for an emergency meeting with the family—and the Family. Because if Adam is alive, Mia is still married . . .

Everyone wants Adam dead. Everyone except Mia. She’s dealt with enough police for a lifetime. Mia needs to be a divorcée, not a widow. But someone out there disagrees, and if Mia doesn’t discover who, she may never be free to marry Shane—or anyone else . . .

Italian recipes included!

About Maria DiRico

Maria DiRico is the pseudonym for Ellen Byron, author of the award-winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mysteries. Born in Queens, New York, she is a first-generation Italian-American on her mother's side and the granddaughter of a low-level Jewish mobster on her father's side. She grew up visiting the Astoria Manor and Grand Bay Marina catering halls, which were run by her Italian mother's family in Queens and have become the inspiration for her Catering Hall Mystery Series. DiRico has been a writer-producer for hit television series like Wings and Just Shoot Me, and her first play, Graceland, appears in the Best Short Plays collection. She's a freelance journalist, with over 200 articles published in national magazines, and previously worked as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. A native New Yorker who attended Tulane University, Ellen lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two rescue dogs.

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  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful review! Sorry I'm late to it. I came home from NY sick. :-(