Dead to the Last Drop: A Coffeehouse Mystery
by Cleo Coyle
Cover Artist: Cathy Gendron
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425276099
Date: 01 December 2015 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The book opens as Mike Quinn stops into the Village Blend, DC, and asks Clare Cosi to come with him. He says she has to leave with him immediately, with no questions and no picking up a purse or saying goodbye -- just walk off the job with him. The rests of the story is in flashbacks as he asks Clare to tell him everything she remembers about Abby Lane. For some reason there's a warrant out for Clare for two murders as well as a number of other charges.
Okay that's shocking enough to hook any reader of the series because Mike Quinn is a NYPD Detective on temporary assignment to the Dept. of Justice and Clare is a normal citizen (within moderate definitions of the word 'normal' as she's helped the NYPD solve several crimes, and she's as honest as the day is long. So, what happened?
There are a number of plot threads going on here including one that has been running through the last several books in the series. Quinn has been having some problems with his supervisor at Justice. He's been dealing with it, but now it's starting to get him curious about whether something else is going on in his department. Clare is in charge of the Village Blend, DC. The coffee end of the enterprise is going well, but the jazz club is losing money because as a careful study of the sales show that they lose money when the fancy chef Madame hired is on duty, but when the backup works, they sell meals in the club. Clare just has to gather the proof that the chef is costing them business. Then there's the young girl who's a sensation on open mic nights -- Abby Lane, she's more than she seems but she's very talented.
The set-up with immediate action and then flash backs to bring the reader up to the time the book opens and then moving forward works well in this case. It keeps the pages turning with enough twists, misdirection, and blend of new and returning characters to satisfy fans and new readers alike.
Also contains: Coffee and the Presidents Facts, a playlist for the Village Blend, DC jazz club, Freedom of Information Act Resource list, and recipes for some of the foods mentioned in the book.