A Whole Latte Murder -A Java Jive Mystery
By Caroline Fardig
“Coffeehouse manager and reluctant sleuth Juliet Langley returns in a gripping novel from the bestselling author of Death Before Decaf and Mug Shot. Just as things are perking up in Nashville, a serial killer sends tensions foaming over. Juliet’s personal and professional lives have recently received an extra jolt of energy. Her romance with the hunky detective Ryder Hamilton continues to simmer, and business at Java Jive has never been better. But her good mood quickly turns as stale as day-old espresso when she finds out that Ryder has been promoted to his precinct’s homicide division. With him risking his life to catch the worst kind of criminals, Juliet’s growing sense of unease ignites when a local college student goes missing. Suddenly every Nashville resident is on high alert, especially Juliet’s neighbor Chelsea. Juliet does her best to calm the girl’s nerves, but her worst fears are confirmed when she finds Chelsea dead. Even though she tries her best to stay out of it, Juliet’s involvement puts a strain on Ryder’s first homicide case. The situation soon becomes even more personal for Juliet and her best friend Pete Bennett when one of their employees disappears during her shift. As a killer lurks in the shadows, Juliet, Pete, and Ryder seek out a double shot of justice.”
I have read only two of the three books in this series; the first one I never finished because it just didn’t live up to the hype and was a little too similar to other series. It had many issues and I had hoped that the author would have dealt with them. Unfortunately, she did not and the issues got worse as this her newest novel, went along.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a perfectly acceptable light mystery read if you don’t mind a main character who is whiny, immature, overly impulsive and oft times condescending. She has a foul mouth, blames all of her problems with her temper on having red hair and she tries too hard to act like she is twenty when she is supposed to be a fairly mature character in her 30’s.
The plot to this book was a pretty complicated one featuring many red-herrings. The biggest mistake is that Juliet’s relationships took up more pages than the actual mystery. The main male character and Juliet’s lover (Ryder), became very dislikable in this book. I know that from my past reading that he is dealing with (and not very well) the death of his wife and a lot will be explained and solved in this book, so that explains a lot of his poor behavior…but still. You have to be willing to read the whole novel to see how this all works out.
To add insult to injury - there is now a third man in Juliet’s life. The best part is that this book doesn’t have any sex in it - yet. But I suspect that given a little time this will become just like the Stephanie Plum series (author Janet Evanovich). As it is this series is a little too reminiscent of author Cleo Coyle’s Coffee House series, but without the panache and believable characters and themes.
In one aspect, this book ends with a bit of a cliff hanger. No, not with the mystery, but with Ryder and Juliet’s relationship and with Ryder’s job.
This is a fine cotton-candy read (much lighter and more forgettable than a potato-chip read) that won’t tax your brain, but may frustrate the heck out of you!
*ARC supplied by publisher.