Happy Book Release Day! Familiar Motives by Delia James is out today. Third book in A Witch's Cat Mystery series (along with all the books I mentioned yesterday). I have added it to my TBR list.
Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander is the first book in A Sloan Krause Mystery series. Sloan Krause is working on a new brew and quickly runs to her office at Das Keller (a Krause family business) to get her notes. She opens the door to discover her husband, Mac playing hide the sausage with Hayley, the new barmaid. Three weeks later, Sloan is ready to start her new job at Nitro, a new nanobrewery in Leavenworth, Washington (a Bavarian themed town). Garrett Strong inherited the building from his great aunt Tess and has completely renovated the inside (looks like a sterile science lab). The morning after the soft opening, Sloan goes to toss some hops into the fermenting tank and discovers Eddie Deluga, brewmaster at Bruin's Brewing) face up in the Pucker Up IPA brew. Mac ends up at the top of Chief Meyers suspect list. Mac may be a cheater, but he is no killer. To clear Mac of suspicion, Sloan sets out to discover who could have wanted to harm Eddie.
I do have to say that the first sentence of Death on Tap is an attention grabber (it really creates a visual). Death on Tap is unique in that it dives into the world of beer brewing. I have not experienced another cozy mystery with this theme (unique). It is obvious that the author did her research into the topic. We get to learn a great deal about what goes into creating, distributing and selling beer. The mystery did not take place until I was 24% of the way into the story. By the time Sloan found the body, I already knew who committed the crime (secondary mystery is equally easy to unravel). The mystery takes up a small portion of the story. More of the book is devoted to beer brewing, regulations, etc. I admit that it is interesting (even though I do not drink the stuff), but I would have liked a better mystery. I like the sound of the Bavarian town of Leavenworth (loved the descriptions of the town and buildings). It reminds me of German Village (in Columbus, Ohio) where I grew up. It had me longing for a real German bratwurst from Schmidt's (not the type you find in your local grocery). My rating for Death on Tap is 3 out of 5 stars. I found it odd that Garrett Strong is having the soft launch of Nitro without any staff (except Sloan), no planned menu, no remodeled kitchen, no furniture or décor (Sloan mentions having to find tables and chairs), and a limited beer menu. For a man with a business/corporate background, it shows a distinct lack of planning. I was not a fan of Mac Krause and his constant use of the word “baby” when talking to Sloane (big pet peeve of mine). The pacing was slow in places causing me to lose interest (more about beer). I know that the author needs to set the stage for readers, but I do not believe we needed quite so much detail (it seemed like Ms. Alexander wanted to put in everything she learned while researching the topic). Many details are repeated frequently throughout the story (hops, Sloan’s lack of family growing up, description of Sloan’s farmhouse, etc.). It will be interesting to see what direction the author takes with the next book in the series (I hope a divorce is in the works for Sloan).
Ellie Alexander is the author of A Bakeshop Mystery series and writes A Pacific Northwest Mystery series (In Cave Danger out November 28) under the pen name Kate Dyer-Seeley. Thank you for visiting and reading my latest review. I will return on Wednesday with my evaluation of Protocol by Kathleen Valenti. I hope that you have a remarkable day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader