I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I thought this series ended after the last one, Murder on the Orient Espresso, was published in 2013 and had one of the most delightfully macabre methods of murder I'd read yet in a cozy mystery. So I was very happy to see this 9th book released this year and I snapped it up.
Maggy Thorsen, a 40-something divorcée running a coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds, in the small fictional town of Brookhills, Wisconsin.
I love Maggy; her inner voice is so wonderfully sarcastic and mirrors my own inner dialogue so much, the pages just fly by. I hadn't realised how much I missed these characters until I picked up the book last night, and then read it all in one sitting. Balzo writes one of the most realistic settings and some of the most intelligent characters in cozies, in my opinion. I have no problem imagining any of these people living next door or down the street.
The mystery was good; looking back I think the clues were there and I missed them and a little twist at the end made it a touch more interesting too.
The only thing that didn't work for me was the weird, forced, drama between Maggy and the Sheriff, Jake. What was the point of that exercise? It never felt believable and its resolution lost the oomph it might have had under different circumstances. The whole thing was a fail, although I'm thankful Balzo didn't string it out over another book or two.
I don't know if she plans to write any more in this series or not, but if she does, I'll happily snap them up.