Thursday, October 12, 2017

Brewing Up Murder (Coffee Cup Mysteries #1)

35697563As 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?

*May Contain Spoilers*

Neila Young introduces a new series with her first installment, Brewing Up Murder, combining the perk of being a coffee addict with the dangerous nature of murder. The main character, Blake, is a coffee shop owner on a street in which all shops boast a name associated with murder or death. When murder does return to this small town, Blake's curious nature threatens to get her into a grave of trouble. 

Blake Harper is one of the hubs of the small town this story takes place in. As a coffee shop owner, she sees many of the townspeople every day while also serving tourists who visit the small town with a murderous history. As a fellow coffee lover, I really liked Blake's character. She's nice, loyal, curious, but she definitely struggles to stay out of situations that could result in a mortal injury. Even though she has an insatiable need to know what's going on, I think if a killer warned me personally to stay out of it -- I would. I also found it very interesting, and entertaining, that Young would open up a love triangle in the middle of the murder mystery. It definitely seems to break some rules about murder mysteries, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The two men that appear with a deep interest in Blake are a bookstore owner and a doctor. While one is dark and brooding, the other seems to have a southern accent and loves to use the pet name, 'Sugar.' This line of romantic interest may just be the link connecting all of the Coffee Cup Mystery books because both men are set up with dates by the end. Even though Blake makes some silly decisions when it comes to her personal safety, I think readers will connect with her mainly through her personality. She's fun and interesting and can't help but poke the hornet's nest. 

The main plotline follows the murder of one of Blake's employees. With hardly any evidence but a long list of suspects, Blake decides to try to solve the crime even though her detective sister directly tells her not to. Of course, this gets Blake into a couple of very sticky situations. Most of the novel is Blake trying to put the seemingly disjointed pieces together, getting hurt, while the side plot love stories slowly build. I do admit that I wasn't able to identify the murderer before the novel ended, which is always nice. I like being wrong every once in a while, but in my defense, I was on the right track with the clues. I would definitely recommend this book to readers of romance and mysteries as this book combines them pretty well. 

Rating: 4/5 Cups

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