Sunday, January 31, 2016

A BREW TO A KILL by Cleo Coyle

Publisher:     Berkley
Published:     August 6, 2013
ISBN:       978-0425255506
Genre:      Cozy Mystery
Format:    Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Clare Cosi’s life has pretty much settled down.  Ex-husband, Matt, is more or less faithful to his new wife, daughter Joy is doing well at cooking school in Paris and she’s on the verge of committing to a happily ever after with beau Detective Mike Quinn.  Her coffee shop, the Blend, is doing really well and she’s about ready to embark on an exciting new venture—a food truck that will deliver her exceptional coffee and gourmet muffins.

Well, almost.  There’s this little matter of a competitive food truck—competitive not so much in terms of location, but in a very aggressive and downright rude owner, the Kween. Clare’s not about to stoop down to the Kween’s level, but when one of Claire’s friends is mowed down in the street by a van that sure looks like it could have been from the Kween, Claire doesn’t hesitate to jump into the fray. 

At the same time ex-husband, Matt, comes clean that he’s been approached by a Brazilian drug lord who wants, in a manner of speaking, into the Blend’s business.  With beau Mike off an assignment Claire has some decisions to make that will take one

I’ve enjoyed Cleo Coyle’s Coffee House series from the very beginning.  During the time the authors had the “love triangle” going on between the two Mike Quinn’s and Claire I started to get turned off on it – it wasn’t funny and it didn’t add to the mystery aspect.  It just appeared to be part of this formula the publishers or editors came up with to include a love triangle because a number of cozies in that time period had them and they just don’t work.  If I want a romance, I’ll pick up a romance.  Now, with Matt happily married to Breanne and a solid friendship between he and Claire and Claire having moved on with Mike and only Mike the series is solidly on track. 

A bit of a twist on the cozy genre is that instead of Claire in the heat of solving a murder she’s bent on solving another crime—one that could threaten her coffee business, but with only the possibility of a murder.  What I particularly enjoyed about this shift was being able to see Claire using the skills and knowledge she’s picked up from Mike over the past few years.  She’s become a stronger, more determined, character and the growth in her personality is nicely done and at a realistic pace. 

I’ve also enjoyed how the authors have “grown” Claire’s coffee house family.  You hear businesses say “we’re like family” and in the Coyle series, the characters certainly are.  With each book readers get a chance to catch up with favorite secondary characters and see how the authors have grown them as well. They aren’t stagnant pieces of a backdrop but an integral part of the story.  With the change in Mike’s direction at the end there is potential for some very intriguing and fun stories coming in the future.

Each book in this series is a standalone and you do not have to read them in order but I do recommend you do if for no other reason to see and enjoy each character’s development over time.

Fun and easy recipes in the back of each book.  This one was chock full of some healthy but tasty sounding ones.'e a stronger, more determined c

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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