Spilled Milk (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery) by Heather Day Gilbert #Review

Spilled Milk (Barks & Beans Cafe Cozy Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – West Virginia
‎WoodHaven Press (April 7, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 220 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1735565148
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1735565149
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08JS228FZ

Welcome to the Barks & Beans Cafe, a quaint place where folks pet shelter dogs while enjoying a cup of java…and where murder sometimes pays a visit.

The fall flea market has arrived in Macy’s small mountain town, and she’s taking a day off work to check out the local wares. As she and her Great Dane, Coal, wander through the booths, Macy’s more than a little taken aback to discover that her enigmatic tattooed barista, Kylie, is selling antique weapons at the event. She’s even more shocked when Coal sniffs out a dead body…and the man appears to have been struck down by one of Kylie’s swords.

As rumors begin to circulate, the Barks & Beans Cafe also takes a hit. Customers are reluctant to order their mochas from a murderess. Macy stands by her employee, but even she believes there’s a whole lot more to Kylie’s history than the woman lets on. To make matters worse, Macy’s brother Bo is out of the country, leaving the cafe’s future in her hands.

And then her ex-husband Jake shows up, begging to make amends.

With the past rearing its ugly head, Macy has to ignore Jake’s distractions, appease the angst of her nervous customers, and convince Kylie to trust her, all before an elusive killer strikes again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Macy had planned a quiet day for herself and her Great Dane Coal checking out the wares at the local flea market. She is totally surprised to see her barista, Kylie, has a booth selling antique weapons. After visiting with her for a few minutes she moves on to a few more booths and then wanders into the antique car show. She is almost run over by a guy in a hoodie going somewhere in a hurry. As she ventured further into the car show Coal starts to whine and pulled Macy toward one of the cars. When she peered through the windows she noticed something in the backseat. She quickly figured out it was a person . . . a very dead person . . . with a bloody sword stuck in his back.

Could Kylie be involved in the death? The sword looks like one she had at her booth. She is high on the police suspect list and people are hearing rumors. So much so that customers are avoiding Kylie at Barks and Beans. They have a big event coming up at the cafe and with her brother Bo out of town she needs all hands on deck. She also has a huge thorn in her side, her ex-husband has come to town to make amends but she is sure he is up to something.

So Macy has a lot of things brewing in her life. The cafe, her ex, and the murder. Can the killer be caught before more blood is spilled?

I am so captivated by this series and its characters.  Macy and Bo have a strong bond. In this installment, though he is away on a secret assignment. More little crystals of knowledge about his other job are dropped in this story.  I was happy he could check in with Macy a few times by phone. She was comforted by those calls and didn’t mention the murder but he does have other sources. Macy did an excellent job of keeping everything running at the cafe. Her employees are well-trained and she trusts them which gives them the confidence to do their jobs well. Kylie though is a tough nut to crack but Macy worked hard to bring down some walls. Meeting her sister answered many questions.

Of course, there are some 4 legged characters too. The lovable Coal stole my heart a long time ago. Summer brings in a group of pups each day in hopes they will be adopted. The success rate has been really good. The exception being Waffles, a unique dog that has been placed and returned several times. It was nice to see him again in this story and this time might just be the charm. Bo’s kitten is staying with Macy while Bo is out of town and he is none too happy about it.

This mystery was excellent. The body count does rise and there are twists on top of twists. I was pulled deeply into the story honing in on a few suspects but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. The ending was very exciting, I truly was on the edge of my seat.

Heather Day Gilbert wraps her awesome characters in a story with a perfect balance of intrigue, drama, romance, and humor. Spilled Milk is a great addition to this series. I do recommend you read them all in order but each story is written to stand on its own. The next book in this series, Trouble Brewing will be released on October 18.

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About Heather Day Gilbert 

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters—no matter what century—feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginia gal can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.


Author Links – Website – Facebook Author Page  – Bookbub  – Goodreads

Twitter@heatherdgilbert    Instagram: @heatherdaygilbert

The Barks & Beans Cafe cozy mystery series in order:
Book 1: No Filter
Book 2: Iced Over
Book 3: Fair Trade
Book 4: Spilled Milk
Book 5: Trouble Brewing
Book 6: Cold Drip

Also by Heather Day Gilbert

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.”