Thursday, August 31, 2017

Brewing Up Murder (Coffee Cup Mysteries Book One)

Author:  Neila Young
Genre:  Mystery

Trade Paperback, Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781940215990
Red Adept Publishing
197 Pages
$11.99; $5.99 Amazon
July 19, 2017


As the owner of Mystery Cup Café in Wilton, Missouri, a town made famous by a string of long-ago murders, Blake Harper is used to the mysterious.  When her barista is found strangled in a mound of coffee beans, Blake vows to find the killer, even though her sister, the town's lead police detective, tells her to stay out of it.

Blake finds plenty of suspects, like the owners of a rival coffee shop and the handsome new bookstore owner.  But when new threats are made, she soon realizes the danger is centered around Mystery Cup and someone is targeting her personally.

Will Blake be able to solve the murder, find a new barista, and perfect her recipe for espresso brownies before she becomes the next victim?


Blake Harper owns Mystery Cup in Wilton, Missouri and is seriously deciding to replace one of her baristas, a girl named Nikki.  She hired Nikki as a favor to a friend of her mother's, but Nikki doesn't even show up on time or do her job well.  When Nikki does realize she might be fired, she begs Blake for another chance and promises she'll improve.  She even offers to do inventory that night so Blake can relax at home.

Blake gives her the chance, but it doesn't turn out the way she hoped.  Seeing a light in her shop long after Nikki should be gone, she enters and finds the girl dead in a pile of coffee beans.  Shaken, she calls her sister Kyle - a police detective - and so begins the hunt for a killer; and the reason why Mystery Cup was vandalized and Nikki killed.

Not willing to leave the sleuthing to her sister, she decides to do a little investigating on her own.  But then something else occurs to up the ante and Blake realizes that Nikki might not have been the target after all and wonders if she might have been the one the murderer was after in the first place.  But can her investigating discover a killer or will the killer discover that she's trying to find them and put her permanently out of business...

I felt that the mystery itself was done well.  There were plenty of suspects and enough red herrings to keep mystery lovers interested.  The clues seemed to point in several different directions, and that was nice in that it keeps one guessing as to who the true murderer might be.  However, I do feel that the town and its inhabitants could have been fleshed out more.  I felt that if less attention had been paid to conversations about 'hot guys' and trying to find Blake a love interest, then we would have learned more about the town and its inhabitants.  We weren't really given any reason why it would be a big tourist attraction; surely murders that occurred nearly fifty years ago wouldn't bring them by the carloads into town unless they were ghost hunters.

There were also a few ridiculous things, like her brother, who is a doctor, making out with his wife in a coffee shop.  Nope, not gonna happen.  What man in his thirties does that with his wife?  And a doctor no less?  He's not a teenager, but I felt that every female in the book acted like one - and also the brother, if he does things like this.  Hopefully they'll grow up in the next book.

Aside from this, the book was very good and the mystery enjoyable, and I liked the main characters.  When the murderer was discovered it came as a surprise, and makes us realize that desperation can drive people to do things which we never thought possible.  Recommended, and I look forward to the next in the series.

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