Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Publisher:    Berkley
Published:   August 5, 2014
ISBN:        978-0425255513
Genre:       Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com


Claire Cosi knows her coffee. Inside out, upside down and backwards, you name the drink and she’s got it down. For the past few weeks a customer her staff calls the Quiz Man has been coming into her Village Blend coffee house and challenging them to describe a variety of coffee drinks. Clare has finally had it and she steps up to take on the Quiz Master herself. The quiz master identifies himself as billionaire Eric Thorner and before he can run through his list of beverages and make an intriguing sales pitch to Claire, his waiting limo blows up—right in front of the Blend.

Claire moves quickly to secure her coffee house and ultimately saves Eric’s life. In return, Eric gifts Claire with a number of her wishes, including the chance to sit down with her daughter, Joy, to talk about Joy’s relationship with police detective Manny Franco—in Paris.

There are, however, two people not so pleased with Claire’s new friend.   Ex-husband, Matt Allegro and her current squeeze, Lt. Mike Quinn.  Even though he’s married to someone else, Matt still hasn’t given up on Claire.  Mike has been sort of MIA for several months…she knows where he is—she just can’t reach him all that readily.  It takes two people to make a long distance relationship work. Claire hasn’t minded commuting back and forth on weekends, but something is up with Mike and she’s not liking it. When she stumbles on some key evidence regarding the car bombing Mike steps in to help, but Claire is still basically on her own. Can Claire find the bomber before her life really explodes around her?

I was initially drawn into Cleo Coyle’s coffeehouse mysteries because I am a devoted coffee drinker. I stayed for the mysteries and situations Claire finds herself in.  She’s smart and savvy about the ways of the world with just a smidge of innocence that makes her someone you want to sit down and have a chat with.

The past few books seem to have lost something.  First there was the badly done love triangle between Claire, Mike Quinn the detective and his cousin, also named Mike Quinn.  Matt’s attempts to win her back were actually kind of fun. I read cozies for the mysteries, not for romance. When the author(s) moved Mike down to Washington, D.C. to work with the feds some of the wonderful character dynamics seem to have been lost. Mike’s anger in this one was a turn off. If Coyle is planning to go somewhere with this I hope he gets there soon and then returns to the solid character he was.

The blurb was also misleading—saying Claire is jetting around the world with Eric when, in fact, it takes place in maybe 30 pages of the 350 page book.

The story behind the mystery was a good one and I didn’t see the killer coming.

Each book in the series is a standalone and Coyle gives just enough back story to make it interesting without repeating a lot of information the reader doesn’t need to know.  The books do not have to be read in order…but you don’t want to miss any of them.

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


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