Maggy Thorsen is back! When the coffeehouse owner is dragooned into emceeing the barista competition (think Iron Chef, but with coffee) at the industry's scaldingly competitive trade show, she fears nothing good will come of it. Sure enough, the morning of the finals, Maggy discovers the body of her chief rival and conference organizer, Marvin LaRoche, under the trophy table.
Finding herself not only the fill-in conference coordinator, but also chief suspect, Maggy must track the murderer, save her coffeehouse and, if she has some spare time, heat up her love life.
©2007 Sandra Balzo (P)2012 Sandra Balzo
I had read the first book in the series, recalling that I hadn't been all that wild about it. Still, this one was showing at a steeply discounted price, so ... why not pick it up? Answer: weak plot, unlikeable characters, and creepy overtones to both. In order to get into the book, one has to find the world of coffee interesting; if not, there's a lot of coffee-related detail to slog through. We start with a sort of prologue of finding the corpse at the Java Ho! convention, and are promptly yanked back a week or so for all of the details of setting up the event, and of the activity (such that there was) until we're back to the corpse again. Many of the characters are highly unlikeable, although the sheriff and Jerome-the-junior-journalist are downright nice. Maggy herself came off as often whiny, but that could've been the narration. By the end, I decided that the book was barely worth the discounted price, although the story of the baby creeped me out a bit. As far as narration went, Savage started at a fever pitch, as though she were facing some sort of looming deadline to get to the end, but I noticed she'd calmed down by the later part of the story.
Overall, I felt the book was worth the low price I paid as something to fill a few hours. At full price (or one Audible credit), I'd say skip it, or read it as a library book. Maggy and Jake's relationship doesn't "advance" so there's not much to miss otherwise in terms of the overall series arc.
Another series that fills in the time while driving or doing boring stuff at work. Really very enjoyable and entertaining, but not great literature. I rate a listen a 4 if I intend on listening to more in the series. It will never make a 5 though.
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