by Cleo Coyle
Business is booming at Clare Cosi’s Village Blend, until her female customers start to die. Lieutenant Quinn is convinced that someone has an axe to grind, and, unfortunately, his prime suspect is the new man in Clare’s life.
Now Clare will risk her heart–and her life–to follow the killer’s trail to the bitter end.
I am on a cozy mystery kick, you know, for research. I sped through the first Coffeehouse Mystery novel, On What Grounds, last week and immediately picked up book two. Through the Grinder takes place just weeks after On What Grounds, and we find Clare, Matt, and Joy entwined in a new murder mystery!
Sorry guys; I have to start with the negative points this time. There a number of small details that made Through the Grinder irksome. Obvious red herrings should only be used in a comedic setting; that didn’t happen here. There were far too many red herrings and they overpowered the story. Plus, they were annoying. There are a number of passages written from the killer’s point of view. I am sure these were included to develop suspense but they only serve to diminish it because these sections destroy the story’s flow. Through the Grinder would have been stronger if both elements were left out. It pains me to admit this, but the coffee information was overdone and felt forced the entire book. I liked the coffee making lessons; they are an integral part of the story. But in the middle of an interrogation? Really Clare?
Now, don’t let those points keep you from reading Through the Grinder. The story was still fun, suspenseful, and interesting. It was the perfect cozy mystery to read on a rainy day and I enjoyed the relationship development between numerous characters. I also like how Clare lucky blunders through her investigations. Coyle does a wonderful job of painting relatively realistic characters and almost all the relationships develop along a reasonable timeline. Plus, Clare has a blunt outlook on life that somewhat mirrors my own. Labeling potential dates like she does her coffee? Nice. It was fun and I already have book three in my TBR lineup.
Side note: I wanted more Detective Quinn. I have a weakness for cops and I love his gruff personality. I was not thrilled that he is still married, but hopefully he’ll get everything worked out in the next book. The friendship between Quinn and Clare is progressing realistically, and I will be irked if he ends up with her immediately after his divorce. Just saying.
On to book three!!! Who else enjoys the Cleo Coyle Coffehouse Mystery series? What do you think about the characters?