Synopsis (from Amazon)
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.
Death Before Decaf is an enjoyable mystery with a nice balance between romance and suspense. Juliet is a likeable character and you can’t help rooting for her as she tries to prove her innocence by identifying who would want to kill the cook and why. Like most amateur sleuths, she takes unneccessary risks as she tries to understand the key players and their possible motives.
The relationship between Juliet and Pete – best friends with an attraction that they hesitate to act upon – is complicated by her developing interest in Ryder, adding further dimension to the story.
Unlike many of the mysteries I read, the culprit wasn’t very high on my suspect list until almost the end of the book. This whodunnit moves along at a lively pace, with a fair share of plot twists, and a satisfying resolution. Another book that I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.
About the Author
Caroline Fardig is the author of Death Before Decaf and the Lizzie Hart series. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.
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- Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Fardig/e/B00C1866NE
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