Once Upon a Grind
(A Coffeehouse Mystery)
14th in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 2, 2014)
Published by The Penguin Group
Hardcover: 416 pages
E-Book File Size: 1610 KB
When coffeehouse manager turned amateur sleuth Clare Cosi roasts “magic” beans for a Fairy Tale Fall event, she brews up a vision that leads to a sleeping beauty in Central Park; a big, bad wolf of Wall Street; and an East Side enclave with storybook secrets…
Fairy tale fever has descended on New York City. Broadway fans are flocking to Red Riding Hood: The Musical; museums are exhibiting art inspired by the Brothers Grimm; and Clare Cosi and her merry band of baristas give their coffee truck a “Jack and the Beanstalk” makeover for a Central Park festival. Clare’s coffee hunter ex-husband contributes a bag of African beans with alleged magical properties. His octogenarian mother entertains customers with readings of the grinds, but Clare remains skeptical–until she receives a vision that helps her find a young model’s body in the park’s woods.
The police dismiss “sleeping beauty” as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a list of suspects–from a New York Giant to quite a few wicked witches–and a cold case murder that reaches back to the Cold War. Now Clare is really in the woods with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming Club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending.
This was an truly enchanting story and so much fun to read! I stayed up until early in the morning reading telling myself “just one more chapter” again and again. It is stories like this one that give readers like me “book hangovers” but they are so worth it.
Clare and the Village Blend crew are taking part in the Fairy Tale Fall Event in Central Park. The coffee truck has a Jack and A Beanstalk theme complete with magic coffee beans and coffee grind readings. All is going well until Clare’s ex-husband is pulled in to replace a Prince Charming that failed to show up at the festival. He is paired with a beautiful princess for most of the day and then she goes missing. The search is on until they find the “sleepy beauty” in the dense part of woods in the park. Only she is not sleeping, she is dead and Clare’s ex becomes the prime suspect in her demise. The magic coffee beans and the visions they give Clare not only helped find the missing princess but they may help her to find the real killer.
So much happens in this story but it unfolds so naturally it is not overwhelming at all. The clues lead to a secret club and a cold case murder. Clare’s boyfriend, Detective Mike Quinn, is on temporary assignment in Washington D.C. but he is still head of a task force for the New York Police Department so he is up to speed on this case. In fact his ex-wife may even be involved since the princess who died was also working as a mother’s helper for her taking care of his kids. Coyle has woven quite a tangled web in this mystery linking people and events together you would never imagine and Clare is right in the middle of it all.
There are also things going on outside the main mystery. The subplots deal with some Village Blend employee drama and decision Clare is wrestling with. Matt and Clare may not be romantically involved anymore but they do work well together. I really admire the way the authors have thought outside of the box and let their characters evolve in many directions. It keeps this series fresh and each book better than the last.
This is a must read for cozy lovers. Whether you have read all the books in this series or this is your first Cofffeehouse Mystery I just know you will love this story. Just a little warning – this is not a book you can read a few chapters and set it aside. This writing team uses the same technique as suspense/thriller authors like James Patterson. Short chapters that lead right into the next one and the next one and the next one and before you know you are at the end. So don’t start this book if you have to work the next morning. This is the perfect book for a lazy weekend day snuggled up in front of your fireplace in a comfy chair. 10 Starfish!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”