Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Circle of Cozy Mysteries

Life is a series of circles and connections that we might not always see or even understand. One thing can lead to another and that leads to something else and on to another before coming back to the first.

What does all this have to do with cozy mysteries? In the shortest explanation possible, I had a favorite author who lead me to blogging which lead me to another author that I now also consider a favorite which is now friends with the first author and they both publish through Berkley Prime Crime. See the connections and how the circle just widens for more enjoyable reading? 

With that in mind, I’m sharing my thoughts today on both authors’ latest releases.

A BREW TO A KILL by Cleo Coyle

9780425247877This is a series I first picked up some years ago simply because it said ‘Coffeehouse Mystery’ on the cover. Being a coffee lover, I couldn’t resist, ON WHAT GROUNDS.

I quickly fell in love with the protagonist, Clare Cosi, and her group of zany supporting characters. The tantalizing mysteries have continued to entertain me and the latest in the series, A BREW TO A KILL, is no exception.

While her coffeehouse characters are all well-developed, author Cleo Coyle continues to evolve her protagonist thus keeping the series from growing stale. In addition, the author incorporates real events into her plots making the scenarios very plausible.

This time around Clare and the gang at the Village Blend coffeehouse are busier than ever with their new Muffin Muse coffee truck. Combining premium drinks and poetry by Esther, it’s a slam hit. But a shocking hit-and-run followed by a mysterious death at a food truck-catered wedding spurs Clare into investigator action. 

Meanwhile, her ex-husband Matt, the shop’s globetrotting coffee buyer, has found some amazing new Brazil coffee beans. However, Matt’s in for a surprise when he discovers he’s importing more than just beans.

With the new discovery, it seems Clare may have been the real target of the hit-and-run after all. Now Clare and Max must put aside any differences they have and work as a team to find the killer before it’s too late for Clare. So between a drug kingpin, federal agents, a Dragon Boat festival, dealing with her ex and running Village Blend, Clare may have a few minutes for NYPD Detective Mike Quinn - personal minutes that is.

A BREW TO A KILL is a fast-pace adventure with as many twists and turns as there are coffee blends. The action is heart-pounding with shots of humor and romance mixed in for a well-blended tale. Coffee with Clare and the crew just keeps getting better and better.

An added bonus to this delightful mystery is the coffee tips and delicious recipes included in the back of the book. You don’t have to be a coffee lover or even a coffee drinker to enjoy Clare’s mad cap journey as she searches for a killer.

A BREW TO A KILL is the 11th installment in the Coffee House Mystery series and can be read on its own. However, for a better understanding of the protagonist and her group of zany friends read all the prior installments: ON WHAT GROUNDS (September 2003), THROUGH THE GRINDER (October 2004), LATTE TROUBLE (August 2005), MURDER MOST FROTHY (August 2006), DECAFFEINATED CORPSE (July 2007), FRENCH PRESSED (April 2008), ESPRESSO SHOT (October 2008), HOLIDAY GRIND (November 2009), ROAST MORTEM (August 2010), and MURDER BY MOCHA (August 2011).

Author Cleo Coyle’s website is www.coffeehousemystery.com. Cleo Coyle is the pen name for Alice Alfonsi, who writes with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Cleo is also the pseudonym for Alice Kimberly.

A Brew to a Kill by Cleo Coyle, A Coffee House Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2012, ISBN: 9780425247877, Hardcover, 384 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. 

BRUJA BROUHAHA by Rochelle Staab

bruja-pressStories dealing with dark magic, the occult and psychology can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but author Rochelle Staab has a way of bringing all these elements together in a captivating read.

Staab’s latest release, BRUJA BROUHAHA, features protagonist Liz Cooper, a psychologist, and her boyfriend, Nick Garfield, an occult professor. Liz and Nick are among friends helping Paco and Lucia Rojas celebrate their sixteenth wedding anniversary.

During the celebration, Paco has to leave to let a tenant into the building. When gunfire erupts, the celebrating group rushes to find Paco and a friend of the tenant have been killed by a drive-by shooter.

Overcome with grief and blaming their neighbors for the increased violence in their area, Lucia places a vengeful hex on the entire neighborhood. A Santeria priestess, Lucia soon finds herself in danger as dark secrets are revealed.

Liz doesn’t believe in curses, but with Nick’s help she does what she can for Lucia. It’s up to Liz and Nick to get to the bottom of the strange happenings before someone else, possible Liz, becomes the next victim.

Staab has created a fun and likable protagonist in Liz and given her a delightful group of supporting characters to interact with. Liz and Nick are both strong and independent characters, but each with flaws readers can relate to.

BRUJA BROUHAHA flows at a steady pace keeping the reader’s attention from beginning to end. The sparks of romance between Liz and Nick add another layer to this intriguing story. Filled with surprises and suspense, this is a must read for the summer and a refreshing series to follow.

BRUJA BROUHAHA is the second installment in the Mind for Murder Mystery series, but can be read alone. The first installment is WHO DO, VOODOO? (November 2011).

Author Rochelle Staab’s website is www.rochellestaab.com

Bruja Brouhaha by Rochelle Staab, A Mind for Murder Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2012, ISBN: 978-0425251492, Paperback, 304 Pages 

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. 

Do you have a favorite series you discovered by accident? Thanks so much for stopping by today.


  1. Mason - Oh, I know exactly what you mean about circles. We're all connected in ways like that and I think it's terrific that you found not just great books and authors but.... a way to share through blogging. And we've all benefited from that :-) so I'm grateful to those authors too.

  2. I found Leeann Sweeney because she was near Denise Swanson on the shelves! Love the title of Bruja Brouhaha.

  3. I enjoy cozy mysteries, too. And yes, the circles of life are so so interesting to me. Been missing you.

  4. I'm already a fan of Cleo's Coffeehouse series. Thanks for the introduction to Rochelle.

  5. That's so interesting about circles.

    I've not read either author, but I'll need to give them a read.


  6. I love these little accidents of life. Something tells me it's not to accident, even when we think it is. You're right about circles and connections.

    Thanks for sharing, Mason.



I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.