After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.
The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.
I was really excited to see that this book took place in Nashville. I grew up right outside the city in Clarksville and love the idea of being able to reminisce about familiar landmarks that I know, even though I’m just reading a book.
I’ll admit, Juliet kind of got on my nerves at times during this book. While I get the fact she’s supposed to be a strong-willed red head, the way she is towards Pete throughout this book really had me wanting to pull my hair out. Actually, I think that was the issue. Their relationship was so obvious that it was frustrating to see them both trying to ignore the chemistry between them.
Despite my annoyance with their relationship issues, I really enjoyed the book. When I saw it was in Nashville, I thought she was going to go stereotypical country starlet wannabe. But Juliet wasn’t like that and it was refreshing. The mystery was actually played out extremely well. While I figured out a large portion of it early on, I never suspected one of the people involved. Which is odd for me, because usually I suspect everyone.
My favorite character in this book has to be Gertie. She had grit to her and was a great comedic piece to this puzzle. But she wasn’t the only one contributing to the comedy. I have to admit, I was at work when I read about Juliet and Pete going to see Dave’s widow and I was dying laughing after the scene. Here’s a bit so you can see what I mean:
“That made me start laughing again, but I quickly stifled it and warbled, “Yes, mostly. I guess it’s true that no good deed goes unpunished, huh?”
“No shit. I’m never doing anything nice ever again.” He shuddered. “Ugh! That was the most disgusting thing that has eveer happened to me! I mean, her husband isn’t even cold yet, and she tries to force me to motorboat her? Who does that?” His righteous indignation and the thought of forcible motorboating gave me the giggles again. “Kniock it off, Langley.”
I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. You just should have seen your face all smushed up in her boobs. It was so, so sad. She turned every man’s fantasy in to a nightmare for you.”
Trust me, if you are looking for a funny mystery to add to your to be read list, this is one I’d highly recommend. If for no other reason than for you to find out what happens when Pete and Juliet attend Dave’s funeral. Great book! I look forward to reading more from this author.
Reviewer’s note: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Pick up your copy on Amazon: Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig