Review of Brew or Die, A Java Jive Mystery, by Caroline Fardig
★★★★★ Five stars from reviewer Iris Chacon.
The reviewer received a complimentary copy of the ebook in exchange for an honest, objective review.
The game’s afoot at the Java Jive Coffeehouse, where Juliet (“Jules”) Langley has finally received her long-awaited private investigator’s license. This fulfills a long-time dream of Juliet’s, not that she hasn’t solved a crime or two (in previous books) without a license. Still, she’s a professional PI now — when she can get time off from her coffeehouse boss, Pete Bennett.
Pete would prefer not to give Jules time to work as a PI because, frankly, as her best friend (and perennially almost more-than-friend), he doesn’t want her putting herself in danger. And with Jules’s history, it is a virtual certainty that in whatever she gets involved, there will eventually be danger.
The personal relationships in the book are as entertaining as the mysteries to be solved. In addition to Jules’s halfway romantic attachment to her boss and best friend, Pete, Jules has also accumulated one too many boyfriends. Actually, one of them, Detective Ryder Hamilton, is an ex-boyfriend; the other, Detective John Stafford, is the “rebound boyfriend.” The two men are personality opposites who would not be buddies in any case, but they are especially prickly on the subject of Jules.
When the fiancée of a Java Jive Coffeehouse co-worker is murdered, Jules jumps on the case, despite the discouraging words offered by Pete, Ryder, and John. Only Jules’s girlfriend, Maya, who runs the private investigations agency, is enthusiastic and encouraging. Of course, Maya immediately leaves town on extended family business, and Jules is left to keep the agency going and solve the murder on her own. Or, she would like to do it on her own, but she faces constant interventions by Pete, Ryder, and John.
The plot thickens, additional crimes are added to the mix, characters reveal themselves to be other than what we supposed them to be, and there are enough twists and turns and surprises to keep the reader turning pages steadily all the way to the end.
I would recommend this mystery to anyone who enjoys a good whodunit with a strong female lead. The story is so fast-paced and entertaining, you will not realize until you have finished that the book is free of vulgarity, profanity, and explicit sex. As a movie, it would probably be rated PG because of violence; there are murders, after all.
Earlier books in The Java Jive Mysteries series include Death Before Decaf, Mug Shot, and A Whole Latte Murder. (The third book was reviewed by this writer in October 2016.)
Brew or Die will be available after April 25, 2017, on Amazon.
Iris Chacon is addicted to both coffee and mysteries. Her latest novel, Duby’s Doctor, is available in ebook and paperback.
Here’s some helpful and succinct advice for every writer. Thank you, Sally Keys, for the article, and thank you, Nicholas Rossis for sharing it on your blog.
Today I’m featuring book three of the Damien Dickens Mysteries: The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper.
During the month of April, I’m recommending to you the Damien Dickens Mysteries series by author Phyllis Entis.
You may recall that Phyllis’ novels about the husband-and-wife private detectives Damien and Millie Dickens follow in the great sleuthing-duos tradition of Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence Beresford and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick & Nora Charles.
The Dickens Detective Agency is in 1980s Atlantic City, but cases take them from Montreal to Miami. Settings are authentic, plots are twisted, and the action moves forward at a steady pace.
Enjoy this excerpt from chapter four of book three in the series: The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper.
By the time I reached the office, it was approaching 7pm. There was no sign of Millie’s car in the parking lot, but I decided to go upstairs anyway, in case she had left me a message. When I got to the top of the stairs, I noticed an intermittent flicker of light shining through the frosted glass of our office door. I moved silently down the hall, keeping close to the wall. As I approached the door, I crouched down below the level of the glass pane and reached automatically for my pistol, before remembering that it was locked in the trunk of the car. Heart in my throat, I grasped the doorknob, turned it slowly, and edged the door open just enough to allow myself to slip inside.
The outer office was in chaos. Millie’s desk had been ransacked, the drawers hanging open and askew. Her files and notes were strewn over the desktop and spilled onto the floor, where they were joined by the contents of the filing cabinet. The intruder was in my office with the door closed; I could hear him shuffling through the papers on my desk. I tip-toed past Millie’s desk. My hand was on the knob to my office door now. I eased it open gently, but a squeak from one of the hinges cut through the silence. The intruder spun around at the sound and tried to flee past me. At the last second, I caught him ankle-high with a shoestring tackle. He fell heavily, dropping his flashlight as he hit the floor. We both scrambled for it, but he was closer and got there first. In a single, smooth sweep of his arm, he slammed the flashlight into my skull.
Contact author Phyllis Entis:
Phyllis is also the author of a non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives. She is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto and lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Phyllis and her husband enjoy sharing their house with an Australian Cobberdog, Shalom.
Thank you, Nicholas Rossis, for another great imagination stimulator.
Today I am featuring book two of the Damien Dickens Mysteries: The White Russian Caper.
All month long I’ve been recommending to you the Damien Dickens Mysteries series by author Phyllis Entis.
You may recall that Damien & Millie Dickens, Private Investigators, are following in the great tradition of Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence Beresford and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick & Nora Charles.
The Dickens Detective Agency is headquartered in 1980s Atlantic City, but Damien and Millie’s cases take them from Montreal to Miami. Settings are authentic, plots are twisted, and the action moves forward at a steady pace.
Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One of book two in the series: The White Russian Caper.
I was on my way out the door when the call came in. Millie already had left for the day; I covered the distance to her desk in two long strides and grabbed for the telephone. “Dickens Detective Agency,” I announced.
“Is this Mr. Dickens? Mr. Damien Dickens?”
The voice in my ear was vaguely familiar. “Yes,” I replied, “this is Dickens.”
“Oh, Mr. Dickens,” the soft male voice exhaled, “thank heavens! I didn’t know whom to call. Then I remembered your visit last year to my establishment. I require your assistance.”
“Who is this?” I interrupted.
“Why, it’s Stephane.” He paused, waiting for my reaction. “Stephane Major, n’est ce pas? Do you not remember me?
I recognized the voice then. It belonged to the General Manager of Boardwalk Hall, the venue of The Miss America Pageant – Atlantic City’s crown jewel. I had met the fussbudgety Mr. Major about six months before, when I was investigating the murder of Celine Sutherland. “Yes,” I acknowledged, though not without some reluctance, “I remember you, Mr. Major.”
“Oh, thank heavens.” I could almost see his hand fluttering against his chest. “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I need your help, Mr. Dickens. It’s about Miss America, n’est ce pas?”
“What about Miss America?”
Contact author Phyllis Entis:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Phyllis Entis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. She is also the author of a non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.
Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom.
OnlineBookClub.org has published its official review of Mudsills & Mooncussers, A Novel of Civil War Key West. The Iris Chacon novel has earned four out of four stars, the highest score possible from OBC. A digest of the OBC review follows below. The original review appears in its entirety at OnlineBookClub.org.
Mudsills & Mooncussers: A Novel of Civil War Key West, written by Iris Chacon, is a historical spy romance novel that immerses the reader into the lives of the citizens that reside on picturesque Key West. Although beautiful, life isn’t always easy during this time, especially [for] a spy [who] just happens to fall in love with the person [he’s] supposed to be hunting.
Even though Key West is a tiny island, it becomes [important] in the War Between the States. For many years Yankee soldiers, in hopes of finding a rebel spy who has [wreaked] havoc on their fight to win the war, occupy the island. Aaron Mathews,… one of those soldiers, ...has been sent undercover to live on the island [and] to eradicate the other spy. However, this turns a little messy when evidence begins to show that the spy he is hunting just may be the woman that he has fallen in love with.
Mudsills & Mooncussers wonderfully describes the breathtaking beauty of Key West; all while recounting what life was like during the Civil War. Not only is life dangerous for those fighting the war, one must watch their backs around the “conchs” of the island, … notorious wreckers [who] lure ships to their doom in hopes of salvaging what is left of the wreckage. While this island may be beautiful, it can turn deadly in an instant. Throughout the novel the excellent dialogue gives one the feeling of the ocean air on their face while smelling the tropical hints of coconut and sunshine …. Although the novel is quite short, it is packed full of intrigue, romance, and beautiful scenery. This fast paced novel will definitely leave you wanting to explore Key West’s historical beauty for yourself.
Being a lover of all three aspects of this novel [history, romance, and Key West], I was certainly intrigued by the premise, and I definitely wasn’t … disappointed. The historical aspect of the novel was incredibly interesting and gave me a desire to learn more about the island during that era, while the romantic spy aspect of the novel left me guessing what would happen next. The novel itself is an easy read; however, occasionally some of the local [dialect] was slightly confusing. Although sometimes confusing, it didn’t really detract…, it added to the charm more than anything. The novel was also well edited and didn’t have any obvious mistakes, leaving a well-rounded fun novel in its wake.
Because of its unique qualities, I give Mudsills & Mooncussers: A Novel of Civil War Key West a 4 out of 4 stars. I think lovers of historical and romantic fiction alike will enjoy this book and, [since] there is a little something for everyone in it, anyone looking for a quick read will have fun with this novel. –Acwoolet for OnlineBookClub.org, 4/11/17
Support DEAR Day Wednesday, April 12, and join Nicholas Rossis and others for the online DEAR sale and giveaways!