review: The Malt in Our Stars (Book #3: Literary Pub Mystery series) by Sarah Fox

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Sadie is delighted to have booked famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss for an event at The Inkwell, her literary-themed pub, housed in a renovated grist mill. The author and her personal assistant Marcie are staying at Shady Creek Manor, a grand historical hotel that was once a private mansion and is rumored to still hold hidden treasure somewhere within its walls.

But the hotel’s storied past is nothing compared to its tragic present when Marcie plummets to her death from an open window on the third floor. After Sadie discovers signs of a struggle in the room, it’s clear that someone assisted the assistant out the window. But Marcie is new in town—who would have a motive to kill her?

In between pulling pints and naming literary-themed cocktails, Sadie takes it on herself to solve the case, wondering if the crime is connected to the vandalized vehicles of a film crew in town to do a feature on local brewer Grayson Blake, with whom Sadie shares a strong flirtation. Or could the poor woman’s defenestration have anything to do with the legendary treasure? As Shady Creek Manor prepares for a May Day masquerade ball, Sadie is determined to unmask the killer—but when she uncorks a whole lot of trouble, will she meet a bitter end?

Source: NetGalley and Kensington Rating: 3½/5 stars

Sadie couldn’t be any happier with her life!  The Inkwell is doing well, Sadie has settled into life in her adopted town, and she is surrounded by friends and family that she truly adores.  As if all that weren’t enough, The Inkwell is set to host its first live author event, and Sadie just can’t wait.  The author is none other than Linnea Bliss, famed suspense author and all-around good, kind soul.  Unfortunately, the success of the live event is completely tainted by the death of Linnea’s personal assistant, Marcie.

From the moment Marcie is found, Sadie knows there is something amiss.  It’s awfully hard to fall out of a window on one’s own and the room Marcie fell from is locked up tight.  The local cranky museum operator insists it is Marcie’s checkered past that has caught up with her, but both Linnea and Sadie can find nothing to support such a claim.  Adding to the drama of the murder is a string of vandalism that may or may not be an attempt to derail the murder investigation.  Finally, Sadie has heard through the grapevine that her beloved aunt may be seriously considering a marriage proposal and a move out of town.

Sadie used to be perfectly happy and content with her life.

As usual, Sadie doesn’t intend to get involved in the investigations, but she can’t seem to help herself.  Her community is small and when something like a murder occurs, it impacts the entire town.  Poking around into the investigation isn’t exactly safe, but the vandalism and the murder are too close to home to ignore.  Though she hasn’t known Linnea long, she likes the author and wants to see her achieve some level of peace where the death of her assistant is concerned.  The more Sadie digs, the more she realizes the complexity of her town, its history, and the history of some of its residents.  Not all secrets need to be unearthed and if Sadie keeps poking around, she’s going to find herself the target of a proven killer. The

Bottom Line:  I think this book may be the speed bump in the series.  I had an awfully hard time getting connected to this read and the story.  I think the hardest part for me lay in the plot and its rather cliché nature.  A suspense author caught up in a murder just feels far too overused and cliché for my liking and that kept me from really buying into this read.  With that said, I am still very fond of this series, the characters, and the setting and won’t be giving up on this series any time soon.  Sadie and the Inkwell are just too quirky and fun to let go at this stage and because of a minor speed bump.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Hardcover

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