Hot and Sour Suspects is the 8th Noodle Shop mystery by Vivien Chien. Released 25th Jan 2022 by Macmillan on their St. Martin's Press imprint, it's 320 pages and is available in trade paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of nonfiction ebooks with interactive formats lately.
This is such an engaging cozy series with one of the few real girl-friendships and (mostly) healthy family relationships in the genre. I really love Lana's friendship with Megan, her love and loyalty for Adam (requisite handsome cop boyfriend), and her sweet mischievous little pug Kikko. She's loyal and bubbly and smart. She's not some remote superwoman - she has foibles and she just seems so *real*. I'm more her mom's generation in real life, but I'd be happy if my daughter had a friend/roommate like Lana. (I worry she's turning into Cleveland's own Aunt Jessica Fletcher, though... all those murders to solve!).
This one has a solid plot and the denouement and resolution were satisfying and well written. I like that the author takes care to place the murders in different settings and with different situations - if there were this many murders in one strip mall, people would be fleeing for their lives (even in a big city). The settings are very well rendered and it's clear that the author has first-hand familiarity with the area.
The background story is well interwoven in the book, and it works as a standalone without needing to have read the previous books. (I can heartily recommend them as well, for readers looking for a new light cozy series to binge on). The language and content are clean, PG rated, with a sprinkling of lighter cursing and some implied (off scene) consensual overnight stays by the MC's boyfriend. Definitely safe for work or commute reading.
Four and a half stars, delightfully fun light cozy mystery.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.