Wednesday, December 1, 2021

ARC Review: Cold Brew Corpse by Tara Lush

Cold Brew Corpse

Tara Lush
Series: A Coffee Lover's Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (December 7, 2021)

Description: Espresso bar owner Lana Lewis returns in Tara Lush's second Coffee Lover's mystery, a stimulating read that fans of Cleo Coyle and Laura Childs will savor to the last drop.

It's a steamy September, and business is brisk at Perkatory, the hottest coffee shop in Devil's Beach, FL. Much of the clientele pours in from Dante's Inferno, the hot yoga studio next door. But the bright, sunny Gulf Coast days turn decidedly dark-roast when the body of the studio's owner turns up in a nearby swamp.

Between running Perkatory and training Stanley, her golden Shih Tzu puppy, reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis is too busy to go sleuthing. But when the editor of the local paper asks her to write about the murder, Lana's dreams of getting back into journalism start to percolate.

Lana discovers that the yogi has a nefarious past and her share of mug shots, so grinding her way through the suspect list is a large task. She learns that the victim was fatally beaned by an SUV before she was dumped in the swamp. But was the killer one of her students? An envious yoga teacher? Or a local photographer who seems to know too much?

But no one tells Lana Lewis what to do. Hunting the caf-fiend who killed the yogi puts Lana and Chief Noah's relationship--and Lana's life--in very hot coffee.

My Thoughts: Lana Lewis is adjusting to her life as the proprietor of Perkatory in her home town of Devil's Beach, Florida, after a divorce and being downsized from her job as a Miami crime reporter. The town is filled with quirky characters including her own father and Lana, herself. 

Everyone is into yoga. When the hot, latest yoga sensation Raina Rose Romero goes missing, it brings back memories to Lana of the disappearance of her friend Gisela when both were young teens. Gisela's case is still unsolved. Lana begins to investigate Raina's disappearance in the hopes of a better outcome.

Lana is asked by the local newspaper editor Mike to write a freelance story about the case. Lana jumps at the chance because she misses her former career. She begins investigating to find out that Raina had as many enemies as admirers. She and her live-in boyfriend Kai seemed to be having constant arguments. She was playing up to Shawn who was almost stalker-ish. Some of her clients called her "emotionally manipulative" while others thought she was the next best thing to sliced bread. 

Raina's devotion to growing her brand led her to borrowing money from lots of people including some of her students, and making enemies among the other yoga teachers on the island. 

While trying to investigate Raina's disappearance and later her murder, Lana also has to keep her coffee shop going. She's having some trouble with her new cold brew coffee creation that is causing customer complaints and baffling Lana. Lana is also busy with her newly adopted Shih Tzu puppy Stanley and trying to fit in Puppy Kindergarten classes with him.

Lana and the new Police Chief Noah Garcia are also trying to find time to date. But Raina's case and Lana's need to keep her business going while sleuthing make it hard for them to find time to spend together. 

I enjoyed the Florida setting and loved Lana's character. She was nicely quirky, inquisitive, and opposed to sweating in the various yoga classes. 

Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this story. 

Favorite Quote:
A beautiful, missing yoga teacher. A doting boyfriend with political connections. A stalker named Shawn wo rode Jet Skis, probably like an extra in a satisfyingly cheesy 1980s TV show.

Any day now, the networks would be onto this story. I had to act fast.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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