A Brew to a Kill (Coffee House Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle
Cover Artist: Cathy Gendron
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425247877
Date: 07 August 2012 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This series just keeps getting better. Clare Cosi is learning to let go -- of her grown daughter, Joy, and her anger at her ex-husband and now business partner Matteo Allegro. Matteo is learning to accept that Clare is changing and that sometimes he needs to follow her lead. It makes for a much more exciting dynamic.
Matteo is back from one of his coffee buying trips and Clare has pulled him into a meeting at the Blend with his mother, Madame, and the Blend dietician, Lilly Beth Tanga. The object was to get Matt on board with the Blend's new muffin and coffee truck, the Muffin Muse. He was a hard sell until Kaylie Crimini parked her Kupcake Kart in front of their Village Blend coffeehouse. Then he was one hundred percent on board with the idea and using it to support the neighborhood youth via Esther Best's rap ordering poetry movement.
A horrible hit and run shortly after their meeting injuring severely a customer, friend, and coworker, sets Clare and two of her baristas into detecting mode to find the person responsible and bring them to justice. Mudding the waters is the aftermath of Matt refusing an offer from a Brazilian drug lord -- evidently drug lords don't like people refusing their offers that are too good to refuse.
Needless to say, Clare and crew are trying to get information that the police can use in the safest way possible. However, it could be that Clare was the intended victim of the hit and run and Matt and Clare's boyfriend, Mike Quinn of the NYPD have no intention of letting her walk into danger.
Some of the humor of the book comes from the interplay between Mike and Matt as Clare has to come between them like a mother with two squabbling children. Unfortunately, they are both adults so ... it's harder to get them to behave. Matt learns to control some of his hatred of authority figures, and Mike learns some respect for Matt's bravery and loyalty to his family and loved ones.
This is a wonderful addition to the series and brings the characters forward in their growth and development. I was especially pleased to see another side of Esther Best and Dante Silva. As the series continues, it seems that the background characters get a chance to come center stage and show readers a different side of their personalities and what they do outside of our favorite coffeehouse, the Village Blend.