Double Review: Whisky Business Mystery Series by Melinda Mullet

MaltWhen Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.  

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Purchase          My Rating: 4/5 stars

Abi Logan has spent her adult life in some of the world’s most horrifying places.  As an award-winning photojournalist, Abi has seen more than the average person and handled most of it spectacularly.  What’s harder to handle is the death of her uncle, the man who raised her.

Ben was everything to Abi, and his death, though not unexpected is still hard to accept.  What’s more, Ben has left Abi a beautifully renovated home and a boutique whiskey distillery.  While Abi is grateful for the home – being a photojournalist doesn’t leave much room for settling in and making a home – she has no idea what to do with the distillery.  If the locals are to believed, it’s no surprise Abi has no idea what to do with a distillery since it’s a man’s world and no place for a woman.  What those locals (and other distillery owners!) don’t know is anything about Abi and how dear Ben really was to her. 

Digging her feet in and accomplishing her goals is what Abi does, and within hours of her arrival she is going to have to do just that.  Since Ben’s death, there have been small acts of vandalism around the distillery and when Abi doesn’t immediately put the distillery on the market, the vandalism and threats only increase.  Though the local police don’t want her involved, Abi’s natural instincts toward uncovering the truth kick in and she begins asking a lot of questions.  Getting the locals to trust her isn’t easy, but when one of their own turns up dead and Abi makes every effort to solve the crime she gets a little further, a little faster. 

As she’s poking around, Abi does begin to make a few friends, she learns a great deal about the history of her newly acquired distillery, and taps into a much larger series of crimes than anyone could have originally suspected.  Though Abi doesn’t tend toward such rotten luck, the much larger series of crimes she uncovers puts her in tremendous danger and Abi suddenly becomes grateful for the few friends she’s made.

The Bottom Line:  It took me several chapters to really get into this book, but I’m glad I gave it a chance to pick up and pull me in.  Abi isn’t the typical disgusting journalist so getting behind her and her inquiries wasn’t all that hard.  The locals who befriend Abi are all quite delightful and such an asset to the overall read.  While this story is certainly about the distillery and the whiskey plot, it is also about Abi finding her place in the world.  Without Ben, Abi is decidedly lost, and in his wisdom, Ben brought Abi to the one place in the world he knew she would belong.  All she had to do was solve a huge crime, a series of other crimes, and convince the locals she isn’t going to sell off their beloved distillery to the highest bidder.  Nothing could possibly go wrong in all of that 😊

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DeathAward-winning photojournalist turned whisky distillery proprietress and amateur sleuth Abigail Logan returns in the charming follow-up to Single Malt Murder.
It’s been three months since Abi Logan last checked in on Abbey Glen, the celebrated whisky distillery she inherited. With her oversize wheaten terrier, Liam, by her side, Abi returns to the quaint Scottish village of Balfour. But her relaxing Highland homecoming takes a stressful turn when she unearths an unseemly bit of village history, welcomes a group of Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and becomes shepherdess to an unexpected flock of sheep—all within the first twenty-four hours. Still, nothing’s more stressful than murder. . . .

Local celebrity Rory Hendricks is the hotheaded, hard-rocking former frontman of the Rebels—and Abi’s girlhood crush. After meeting him in person, Abi can’t say no to anything he asks, like photographing his upcoming show . . . or figuring out who’s trying to kill him. Turns out someone’s been bumping off his old bandmates, with the drummer dead under mysterious circumstances and the keyboardist in a coma following a hit-and-run. Now a series of threatening messages leads Rory to think he’s next on the chopping block. And the band has a devil’s share of broken hearts and bitter disputes in their past, leaving Abi a huge batch of suspects to sift through—all before the killer takes another shot.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 5/5 stars

Returning to the Haven and Abbey Glen after a grueling assignment was meant to be all about rest and relaxation for Abi Logan.  Within minutes of her arrival, she comes across a dead body and two new mysteries that need solving.  She can rest and relax when she’s dead, right?

One mystery just isn’t enough and before Abi can even get a tiny bit rested, she’s pulled into another mess by one of her teenage crushes, Rory Hendricks, lead singer of the Rebels.  The Rebels haven’t been on tour or even speaking to one another years, but someone seems to have it in for the group and is bumping them off one by one.  Rory has come to town to hide out and knows Abi via her work and reputation.  Rory’s “simple” request from Abi is to use her excellent skills of observation to suss out who has it in for the Rebels before he or she strikes again.

Though somewhat reluctant, Abi agrees to help the aging rocker and finds herself up her to her butt in secrets, plots, and threats.  While the culprit has gone directly after the other band members, he or she has been toying with Rory in an effort to increase his level of worry and anxiety.  What’s more, the culprit has also threatened Rory’s grown daughter and put a great deal of circumstantial evidence in place to convince the police of Rory’s guilt.  Rory may be one hot guy, but he’s Abi into a mess that is far more involved than she counted on or is prepared for. 

As is her way, once Abi gets on the scent of the culprit, she just can’t give up even when it’s in her best interests to do so.  Secrets from the past are piling up, Rory is looking far guiltier by the minute, and his seemingly sweet as pie daughter is all over Abi’s current crush and business partner, Grant.  Oh, and because she’s a softy, Abi also takes on a small herd of sheep, all of who she names 😊  As the days pass by, Abi works with (mostly!) the police to unravel the mystery and as she comes ever closer to the truth, she puts herself in grave danger.  It’s one disaster after another right up to the moment the culprit is revealed.

The Bottom Line:  The training wheels came off with this second installment of the Whiskey Business Mystery series!  Except for the book specific players, all the cast and crew from the first book are in place, established, and involved in this read, and I was ever so glad to see them all back in action.  Abi, Grant, Patrick, Hunter, and Cam are all up to their necks in the various issues in this read and I thoroughly enjoyed their involvement.  The mystery surrounding rock-n-roll Rory is a sad and tragedy-laden plot line that manages to work itself perfectly into the quiet town of Balfour and Abbey Glen.  In fact, the very end has a nice little twist that really ties both mysteries, Rory, and Balfour all together with a nice neat little bow on top.  I greatly appreciated this twist and greatly appreciated how well woven together all the bits and bobs of this read are.  Some of the rustiness of the first read has worn away leaving a solid read that is entertaining, enjoyable, well-written, and leaving me with a great anticipation for more.

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