Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am happy to share my thoughts about Double Shot Death today!
Double Shot Death (A Ground Rules Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Oregon
Kensington Cozies (April 26, 2022)
Paperback : 240 pages
ISBN-10 : 149673341X
ISBN-13 : 978-1496733412
Kindle ASIN : B09BKB73V7
Sage Caplin is taking her Portland coffee cart on the road to a sustainable music festival, but murder is an unwanted special guest . . .
At Campathon, an annual eco-friendly festival held on a farm outside of Portland, fans celebrate the Pacific Northwest’s music scene in quintessential PDX style—with gourmet food carts, reusable utensils . . . and lots of coffee. How else to get through three days of nonstop entertainment? Sage has scored a coveted place for her Ground Rules coffee cart thanks to her new-ish boyfriend, Bax, who’s friendly with Maya, one of the musicians performing.
The festivities begin with a stream of customers, friends, and acquaintances stopping by for Ground Rules’ world-class blends, expertly brewed by Sage and her newest barista. But there are tensions between Maya and her former bandmates, who are on the cusp of making it big, and with Ian, the band’s manager. When Sage stumbles upon Ian’s dead body in the nearby woods—his hand still clutching one of her coffee mugs—it’s clear that someone’s grudge boiled over into murder. Can Sage work out who’s responsible before another innocent life fades out, and the curtain falls on Campathon, and maybe her own future, for good?
Sage Caplin is thrilled to receive a prime spot for her Ground Rules coffee cart at Campathon, an annual eco-friendly music festival just outside of Portland. It is her chance to show they made the right decision buying the second cart as they wait for their brick-and-mortar shop to open. She is also looking forward to spending her downtime with her boyfriend Bax listening to the bands, who just happens to know one of the musicians performing.
While Sage is selling a lot of coffee in all varieties there is an undercurrent of tension between some of the performers. Bax’s friend Maya has started a new group of her own after splitting with another one. Band manager Ian does his best to keep civil control between all of his clients but he must have pushed someone too far. Sage finds his dead body at the edge of the nearby woods. Things get personal because he is holding one of her coffee mugs and the detective on the case decides that and her discovery of the body puts Sage at the top of the suspect list. One other vendor tries to use that information to their advantage by spreading that news to anyone that will listen.
Will Sage be able to clear her name and a profit before everybody packs up and goes home? Or will the killer strike again? even taking aim at Sage? She’s going to need a double shot or two as she chases the clues and pours the coffee. Hopefully, the next death won’t be her own.
I really enjoyed the music festival setting for this second Ground Rules Mystery. It draws in a wide variety of people like one woman who was going to get everything out of her VIP pass by drinking as much coffee as possible. Coming back every hour to try something different. We also meet a pushy blogger/podcaster that is willing to do almost anything to get a scoop. Then of course there are the singers, musicians, camp staff, and other vendors. Most end up visiting Sage’s coffee cart, many more than once.
And our protagonist Sage Caplin knows how to keep her eyes and ears open. While she does need to leave the cart to follow some of the clues she quickly realizes that she can learn a lot by doing what she does best, serving her customers. I really enjoyed her multitasking and keen observations. I also loved that Bax was there to support her. Their relationship is comfortable for the most part. Our amateur sleuth read some signals completely wrong and I was happy to see that the whole thing was straightened out quickly and wasn’t drawn out over several chapters. I also liked that her brother was at the festival trying to keep her safe while throwing in his own two cents whenever he could.
The mystery ended up having several suspects due to the sheer amount of people at the festival and another death adds even more twists. Detective Adams seemed hyperfocused on Sage but Sage just worked harder to give her other options. I will say I had a revolving group of my own suspects until all was revealed. I was in awe of the way Sage pulled everything together and loved the way the reveal played out. I was riveted like I was right there witnessing in person.
Double Shot Death was a captivating read. Sage is a very engaging protagonist and I appreciated the way she interacted with everyone. The dialogues were very well-written. I was sorry that Harley, Sage’s business partner, was working the other cart and only mentioned a few times in the story. Sage’s dad and Uncle Jimmy were also only involved through phone calls and text messages. I wish all three were more featured but it truly didn’t take away how much I was entertained by this story. I just hope they are all back in book three.
Pour yourself a nice cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy this latest story from Emmeline Duncan. I am excited to see where she takes her characters next!
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About the Author
Emmeline Duncan is a mystery writer based out of Portland, Oregon. Her novels include the Ground Rules series, starting with 2021’s Fresh Brewed Murder.
Emmeline also writes YA novels as Kelly Garrett. Her debut YA, The Last To Die, was an Oregon Book Awards finalist and was re-issued by Sourcebooks Fire in November 2019. Kelly is also a 2020 Oregon Literary Fellow.
Emmeline/Kelly is a board member of the Northwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and co-organizes Friends of Mystery’s Bloody Thursday lecture series. She’s also a member of Sisters-In-Crime, Willamette Writers, and SCBWI.
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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.”