Live and Let Grind (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
by Tara Lush
About Live and Let Grind
Live and Let Grind (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Florida
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639101128
ISBN-13 : 978-1639101122
Digital ASIN : B09Q877DDS
Devil’s Beach is percolating with a hot murder case, and reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis could be the next to get beaned in Tara Lush’s third Coffee Lover’s mystery, perfect for fans of Cleo Coyle and Lucy Burdette.
Laid-off journalist Lana Lewis is thriving as the proprietor of Perkatory, a coffee shop on quirky Devil’s Beach Island, Florida. She’s juggling a relationship with police chief Noah Garcia, enjoying the company of her best friend, Erica, and relishing the companionship of her golden Shih Tzu, Stanley. Only problem is her neighbor, Gus, who incessantly uses his leaf blower, disturbing everyone in the neighborhood. Lana has learned to tune it out, but Erica’s rage boils over and she confronts Gus.
Then Gus is found dead, killed when his leaf blower explodes. Erica immediately becomes suspect number one. But there are plenty of other candidates as well: Gus’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Honey Bailey, who thinks she’ll be written out of his will; Mickey Dotson and Doug Beck, who were scalded financially after purchasing a pirate-themed tourist cruise business from Gus; and plenty of angry neighbors who’ve had run-ins with him.
As the clock ticks down will Lana get someone to spill the beans on the killer so she can clear her friend’s name, or will Erica go to jail for a crime she didn’t commit?
When you have a neighbor like Gus the neighbors come together and not in a good way. Gus lives next door to reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis and Gus loves his leaf blower. He uses it to clear his yard and driveway morning, noon, and night and Lana’s friend and star barista Erica blows her stack at Gus in front of plenty of witnesses. Witnesses who wanted to do exactly what Erica did.
But when Gus’s leaf blower explodes killing him it is Erica in the hot seat until Lana takes a closer look for others who could have wanted the man dead. People like Mickey Dotson and Doug Beck who were burned when they bought a pirate-themed tourist cruise business from the newly deceased. Or Honey Bailey in the midst of divorcing Gus and was afraid he was writing her out of his will. Or the other neighbors who may have reached their boiling point with the man.
It’s going to take more than a specialty coffee or two to reveal the true killer but Lana is going to clear her friend of the crime even if it involves a bit of roller skating and playing tourist on a pirate cruise ship.
These characters continue to grow and impress me. Lana and Erica have become true best friends who have each other’s back no matter what. Erica is in hot water this time and Lana will defend her to the end and do anything she can to prove her innocence. Again, Lana’s easy, laid-back dad is a fave of mine as he tries to calm the situation and free up the girls for their investigation. I enjoy all the interaction between the characters. Some are full of humor and the dialogues are always true to life.
Setting this series on a Florida beach offers up the story to many different characters. Regulars that come into Lana’s coffee shop, Perkatory every day, some staying for hours, and tourists popping in for their morning coffee or specialty drink. This time Lana even connected with her competition, a coffee shop owner that may be connected to the murder she is investigating.
As a former reporter who would still like to report freelance, she has the skills to question suspects and persons of interest and get them to open up more than they do with Noah. She also has a special talent for making all the clues fit together to lead to a satisfying conclusion. Let’s face it the method of murder was unique and there were plenty of suspects. This story could have gone in several directions. The one the author choose shocked me because I just didn’t see it coming at all.
Live and Let Grind was a great read. I was totally caught up in the story and completely entertained. Ms. Lush plotted this mystery out meticulously with great scenes to divert my thinking over and over again.
I am very excited about the next book in the series! This author has me curious to see what these characters get into next.
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About Tara Lush
Tara Lush is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award winning journalist. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.
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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.”