An unexpected inheritance turns Cassie Black’s world upside-down, and she finds herself the owner of a sentient coffee-house that comes with an inter-dimensional portal and a side of ancient curse. When Cassie is summoned to attend the funeral of her great-aunt, Ophelia, she finds the picturesque village on the edge of the ocean is not at all what it seems. Her benefactor’s death is suspicious, and to make matters worse, after Ophelia’s lawyer explains her will to Cassie, he drops dead in a plate of cookie crumbs. That makes two unexplained deaths, which is two too many for a good witch to swallow.
Up to her neck in mysteries, and weighed down with a curse, Cassie canvases the town to find the murderer. Of course, there are many unusual suspects, a tall, dark and annoying human detective keeps getting in her way, and a seductive warlock offers his assistance. Will Cassie catch the villain before he kills again?
Will she be able to free herself from the curse? Will Sid, her beloved cat familiar with a naughty mind, convince her to play dirty with the boys?
Cassie Black has enough on her mind, thank you very much! Her lukewarm love affair seems to be headed towards full-on frozen, she’s fairly certain there’s an angry mobster looking to kill her, and she’s had to cross the ocean in order to settle the estate of her great-aunt, Ophelia.
For the entirety of her life, Cassie has felt like the black sheep in her family. Her magic, comparatively speaking is quite weak and often backfires, and her chosen profession, art forger is not much for her family to be proud of. Even among all the disappointments, Cassie has never quite crossed over the line as far as her legendary great-aunt, Ophelia. Known far and wide in the magical community for her shenanigans, antics, and magic, Ophelia was a bright and giving personality who was the darkest of black sheep and the one witch the family never, ever talks about. For some reason Cassie can’t even begin to understand, Ophelia has left her entire estate to Cassie.
From the moment Cassie steps into the Perfect Brew she knows in her bones something is different about the place. With only a few questions to the right people, Cassie discovers the Perfect Brew isn’t just a safe place for supernatural beings but is also home to an inter-dimensional portal that has previously been both supported and defended by Cassie’s aunt and one very surly and sexy warlock. Though Cassie fully intends to settle the estate and sell the coffee shop, she quickly finds it won’t at all be that easy especially once the lawyer she was working with to settle everything drops dead in her presence. By the time its all said and done, Cassie has more problems than she knows what to do with.
The Bottom Line: I rarely dislike an anti-hero and Cassie Black feels very much like an anti-hero to me. She walks a little on both sides of the line between right and wrong and I find that to be one of her best character traits. I also like the fact Cassie is bold, strong, and determined to do what she can to solve her own problems; if it means solving some other problems along the way and helping a few others, then so be it. Finally, I am quite fond of the fact the Perfect Brew is perfectly sentient and willing to help Cassie in her endeavors and there are familiars! I believe this is my first Jo-Ann Carson book and I’m quite glad this is where I chose to start. I see a bright future for Cassie Black and the Perfect Brew!