What would you do if your boyfriend, daughter, business, and friend were all somehow caught up in a murder, a jewel theft, and a decades-old cold case crime? If you were Clare Cosi, master coffee roaster, you'd do your best to get to the bottom of the situation and save all you hold dear.
He was red-faced again, too much wine with dinner.—Dead Cold Brew by Cleo Coyle (Berkley Prime Crime, 2017, prologue [eGalley])
In the ship's dining room Angelica Campana watched her husband drink, all smiles—until the gallant ship's offer complimented her dress, her hair, made her laugh.
That's when the storm clouds returned, forming in Gustavo's dark, cold gaze. Their tablemates failed to notice. Nor did they question her husband's thirst for more Primitivo. They saw only the portents. And she knew what was coming.
- Setting: mainly contemporary times, New York City; flashbacks to the 1950s on the Andrea Doria
- Circumstances: Sixty years after Angelica Campana and her daughter were saved—in multiple ways—from the sinking Andrea Doria, Clare Cosi is tapped to develop a signature coffee blend for a brand new luxury liner named in the fated ship's honor. Besides managing the Village Blend coffee house, Clare is juggling a romance with NYPD detective Matt, a business relationship with ex-husband Matt and his family, and a parenting relationship with daughter Joy. When a murder, a jewel theft, a cop killer, friends with secrets, and a cold case crime all seem to be linked to Clare's sphere, she knows she has to be involved in the hunt for the bad guy(s) and the motivation behind the chaos.
- Genre: cozy culinary-style mystery
- Characters: Clare, master coffee roaster; her ex-husband (Matt) and his family; her boyfriend Mike; her daughter Joy; various people in the past and present related to the coffeehouse business, the cold case crime, and the original Andrea Doria
- What I liked: This is a complex mystery that also stars a police detective, so it's a little more gritty than the normal culinary cozy fare. I made an emotional connection to the characters, easily rooting for Clare and Mike and seeing the issues with Mike's behavior. There are several story lines, which not only keep the action moving but give this mystery some oomph. I like the New York City setting and the tie-in to the sinking of the Andrea Doria. Oh and did I mention coffee and yummy baked goods?
- Things to know: Although this is the sixteenth book in Coyle's Coffeehouse mystery series, it's only the second one I've read. There was enough background to the main characters that I didn't feel lost. Because this is a culinary cozy, you'll find a few recipes at the end of the book, mostly for sweet treats. They all look good and are written in a conversational style with tips from Clare. Cleo Coyle is the pen name for a wife-husband team.
- Recommendations: A good series for culinary cozy fans who like a little more complexity in their mysteries. Dead Cold Brew is a popular and longstanding series with many fans, and I'm among them. Don't be put off by the number of Clare Cosi books, you can jump right in. This book sets some of the main characters off in new directions, so it's not a bad place to start.
Thanks to the nice people a Berkley Prime Crime I can offer a copy of Cleo Coyle's Dead Cold Brew to one of my readers. All you need to do to enter for a chance to win is to have a US or Canada mailing address and fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner via a random number generator on January 16. Once the winner has been confirmed and his or her address has been passed on to the publisher, I'll erase all personal data from my computer. Good luck!