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.