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That Old Flame of Mine (Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery, #1)
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That Old Flame of Mine (Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  817 Ratings  ·  154 Reviews
Set in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, J. J. Cook’s thrilling new mystery series features Fire Chief Stella Griffin, who solves crime with the help of her predecessor, who just happens to be a ghost…


After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Berkley
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Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good read, with a touch of paranormal elements.
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

*Beware of possible Spoilers*

After catching her boyfriend cheating, fire fighter Stella Griffin decides its time for a temporary change of scenery. So she hops on her Harley and leaves Chicago and heads for the small town of Sweet Pepper, Tennessee where they are in need of a fire chief to get their own volunteer fire brigade running. The job is temporary as she is planning to go back home after her three month stint is over, where she’ll hopefully have had ti
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
That Old Flame Of Mine is the first book in A Sweet Pepper Mystery series by J. J. Cook(Joyce and Jim Lavene)

For me, this was a wonderful story. A well plotted mystery, interesting characters, some you will love and some you may not like so much, and a ghost that you have to enjoy. I can't leave out Hero, the fire station's Dalmatian puppy.

Stella Griffin is on medical leave from the Chicago Fire Department and has decided to head to Sweet Pepper, TN to organize and train their volunteer fire dep
Mar 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries

Stella Griffin is a Harley-riding fire fighter from Chicago who has taken on an assignment in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee to help establish a volunteer fire department. She discovers an old, unexplained death, the death of a friend, and oh.... a live-in ghost at the fire station. So Chief Stella puts herself at risk to uncover these mysteries.

I loved Sweet Pepper- it was the ideal small town setting near the Smokey Mountains, and it had the cozy feel of "Mayberry". I also liked Stella and her live-i
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well for a debut novel this particular cozy murder mystery was compelling and leaves me eagerly awaiting the next volume!

We are introduced to the new Fire Chief Stella Griffin of Sweet Pepper, TN who is considering the appointment as 'Temporary.' The job Stella has been hired to do is create a Volunteer Fire Brigade since the county has cancelled their contract with Sweet Pepper. Stella, who needs a break from the hectic professional and personal pace of Chicago is delighted with her new job. Th
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
Finding boy friend in bed with her best friend; Stella takes a job in Sweet Pepper, TN. She is the Fire Chief and plans to train volunteers to fight fires in 3 months. Her first real fire she finds a victim in a closet. Setting out to find the cause of the fire, the past becomes important . WAIT SHE LIVING IN A HAUNTED CABIN! I am ready for the next book. I like reading about the fire department rather the police
Nancy Haddock
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! My husband read this one first, and couldn't put it down. I read it in about 4 hours yesterday, and, yes, couldn't put it down. Great characters, including a cool ghost, a terrific mystery, lots of twists. This is the first of a new series, and I can't wait for the next book!
Lisa Ks Book Reviews
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Author J. J. Cook - AKA husband and wife team Jim & Joyce Lavene, have a real winner on their hands.This is a fantastic book!.I wasn't sure at first that I would like a ghost with my cozy (though I love ghost stories and watch true ghost shows), but it worked and I really enjoyed it.

Stella is a strong protagonist and not only because she's a fire fighter. She's intelligent and insightful, as well as kind and caring. I love that she has the respect of her volunteer fire fighters. Many storie
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it!

This is a good mystery and a great cast of characters. I love the name of the town. Sweet Pepper. An interesting twist is the ghost of an old fire chief. I highly recommend reading it. I just purchased the second book.
I really enjoyed this cozy and am already hoping for more books in the series!

First off, I think Stella is the smartest cozy main character I've ever come across. She doesn't do any of the bone-headed things that cozy heroines tend to do, getting themselves into danger and earning a TSTL label. Maybe it's because Stella is a fire chief, but most everything she does is savvy and sensible, if occasionally a bit risky. There wasn't a single instance where I rolled my eyes, and thought: "GOOD GRIEF!
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-ages, cozy, mystery
Excellent first-in-series! I've read one other book by JJ Cook, the first in the Biscuit Bowl series, and this one was completely different. This series, set in a small town in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, centers around the volunteer fire department and its temporary chief, Stella. This book moves at a great pace, and was really hard for me to put down. I found it fascinating to learn about the equipment, training, and duties of a firefighter. There's more than one mystery to solve (and no ...more
Nancy H
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first entry in a new mystery series featuring Stella Griffin as fire chief in a small town in Tennessee. Not only is she plagued by the ghost of the old fire chief haunting her cabin, but she is beset by a new murder and old mysteries. This is a good story, and the beginning to a very promising series.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book, That Old Flame Of Mine, will be on the shelves on April 2, if I could only buy 1 book this month it would be this one!
Fire fighter, Stella Griffin, takes on a temporary job as Fire Chief, in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. Stella lives and works in Chicago, but following an injury and a bad break-up, is in need of a change of scenery for a while. Stella is hired to put together a rag tag group of volunteers in this small southern town, but there is more on her plate than she ever imagined.
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure if I was even going to read this one but it was on my library hold list so I decided why not. It wasn't a bad cozy mystery. I don't know if the type of cozy it represents interests me - it is about Stella who is the acting fire chief of the volunteer fire brigade in Sweet Pepper, TN. There are a few unsolved mysteries floating around town along with a brand new one, who killed and set fire to one of Stella's new neighbor's home.

The mystery was multi-layered and not all that easy t
Jeanie Jackson
I am in love!!! Why didn't I discover this series earlier. That Old Flame Of Mine introduced me to Stella Griffin and the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, the last chief of the volunteer fire department of Sweet Pepper, Tennessee who died a heroes death 40 years ago. I adore the Stella, Eric, and the volunteers! They are presented realistically but as volunteers often are, they are special people with strengths and weaknesses and great hearts. Stella is on rehab leave as a captain in the Chicago fire depar ...more
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
That Old Flame of Mine is the 1st book in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade series. I thought I would like it after reading reviews so I decided to try it. I didn't realize how much I would like it. The series is off to a great start. I liked the location of Sweet Pepper Tennessee where the protagonist temporary moved to set up a Fire Brigade of volunteers. Stella Griffin is a strong independent leader. The book has two mysteries to solve-one that happened forty years ago and a current mystery..

May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This series by J.J. Cook is wonderful. The characters are unique and the storyline is wonderful. This particular one had arson, murder, new and old, family secrets and the appearance of the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, former Fire Chief of Sweet Pepper who mysteriously died in a fire. As Stella works hard trying to train the firefighters before she leaves to go back home, she finds several unsolved mysteries about the deaths of several people. She also finds out that she has a grandfather she never kn ...more
This was a funny, well-written mystery that had the right tones of suspense, action, and murder to make it a winner.

I loved the characters. Stalla, John, Erin, Petey, Walt, Ricky, even Ben. They all were 3D, and believable, which is what I want when I read a book. I really want to know more about Ben, if he's really turning good or if he just wants Stella to stay selfishly.

I also loved the setting, I could picture the mountains in Tennessee and Sweet Pepper. The name of the town is magnificent,
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes cozy mysteries
So, I finally got to reading That Old Flame of Mine this last week. My first question is "Why did I wait so long?!?" I absolutely loved the book. While it's still a cozy mystery, which I do love, it's not your average cozy. Ghosts, action, a little romance, and of course mystery, this book has something for almost everyone. I'm not going to spoil the story by recapping it here. Suffice it to say that while this book starts out as a fairly ordinary cozy mystery, it quickly becomes something compl ...more
Mary Brown
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
That Old Flame Of Mine by J. J. Cook was a fantastic read. The characters are well developed and realistically portrayed. You can see the growth of the fire brigade from the beginning to the end of the book. The mystery continues throughout the whole book and at the end there is another mystery to solve, (who killed the old fire chief). The settings were descriptive and at times I felt I was there witnessing the fires and the action. The writing style flowed easily and it was a quick easy read. ...more
Shirley Schwartz
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is set in Tennessee right near the Smoky Mountains. Great setting for a mystery series. Stella Griffin is a firefighter from Chicago who has taken an assignment in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee to help set up a volunteer fire department. All is not sweetness and light there though. She discovers old unexplained deaths, a new fresh death of a friend of hers and a live-in ghost at the fire station. Chief Stella puts herself at great risk to uncover the mysteries that seem to abound in Sweet Pe ...more
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked this new series, which wasn't surprising since I love the author's Missing Pieces series too. The setting here is very different- a small town at the base of the Smokey Mountains. There is mystery, a twist right toward the beginning, a ghost, a little romance, small town gossip and a lot of curiosity into whether this town has a secret dark side. There was even a cute Dalmatian puppy and another twist at the end that has me looking forward to the next installment in this series. H ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Currently about halfway through....I'm enjoying this book but noticed 2 things. One, the relationship between Stella and John escalated quickly. One minute, they are friends (sort of) and the next he's holding her hand. No real progression of a relationship there. Two, the chief of police is a jerk. (Don). I sincerely hope he loosens up or retires because the animosity he has towards Stella is annoying at best.
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal-cozy
Totally outstanding first book in a new series.. I love the location, and the small, busybody town it's set in. I'm also looking forward to seeing how our fire chief is going to deal with her interfering grandfather and his obnoxious wife.

I was sorry when the book ended. I kept hoping there was more to read.

I am so glad my friend was thoughtful enough to gift me with a copy of this book.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
I really enjoyed this introduction to The Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery series: That Old Flame of Mine by J. J. Cook. Fire Chief Stella Griffin and her resident ghost, Eric Gamlyn (who just so happens to have been Sweet Pepper, Tennessee's previous fire chief) make an interesting team while investigating the arson/murder of one of the small town's prominent citizens. I look forward to finding out what happens in Book 2!
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was so annoying! Part of me disliked it. So many of the characters where so unusual and not necessarily in a good way. I thought Stella and Eric the ghost had way better chemistry than her and John. He must of been super handsome to put up with all his mood swings. I felt the story really picked up at the end and left off with a great hook that makes me want to read the next one. Well played book.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I was coaxed into entering to win this book by my wife (lover of all books) and to my surprise, i liked it. This book ignites a fire in a fire in the reader to learn about Sweet Pepper and all of its inner mysteries. I come from a small town and the relation to the book and its many characters is relatable in my everyday life. Definitely a book to pickup and read, but be warned as you will not put it down until you have read it all.
Maureen DeLuca
Mar 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
to be honest... I just couldn't finish this book -- The reviews were mostly good- I kept on thinking of that old TV show... The Ghost and Mrs. Muir - It could just be me , so in no way would I want to slam this book- It is a cozy mystery with a ghost..... It just didn't move me- This is the first in the series and from what I am reading , people love it and enjoy it- SO, therefore, if you think you may like it, I suggest you give it a try.
Angela Porter
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am already eagerly awaiting the next one! I love the way this one ended! Do not think the author could have done anything different to the story to make it better.
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Cozy Mystery Corner : Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade by J.J. Cook 8 32 Oct 31, 2016 04:44PM  
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A pseudonym used by Joyce And Jim Lavene
More about J.J. Cook

Other books in the series

Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery (4 books)
  • Playing with Fire (Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery, #2)
  • In Hot Water (Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery, #3)
  • Sweet Pepper Hero (Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mystery #4)