It’s a steamy September, and business is brisk at Perkatory, the hottest coffee shop in Devil’s Beach, FL. Much of the clientele pours in from Dante’s Inferno, the hot yoga studio next door. But the bright, sunny Gulf Coast days turn decidedly dark-roast when the body of the studio’s owner turns up in a nearby swamp.
Between running Perkatory and training Stanley, her golden Shih Tzu puppy, reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis is too busy to go sleuthing. But when the editor of the local paper asks her to write about the murder, Lana’s dreams of getting back into journalism start to percolate.
Lana discovers that the yogi has a nefarious past and her share of mug shots, so grinding her way through the suspect list is a large task. She learns that the victim was fatally beaned by an SUV before she was dumped in the swamp. But was the killer one of her students? An envious yoga teacher? Or a local photographer who seems to know too much?
But no one tells Lana Lewis what to do. Hunting the caf-fiend who killed the yogi puts Lana and Chief Noah’s relationship–and Lana’s life–in very hot coffee.
Source: NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books Rating: 3/5 stars
The Bottom Line: Yet again, I find myself not only on the fence with a book but having to fess up to a personal bias. One of my least favorite character types is the “anything for a story” reporter and, unfortunately Lana fell well into that category in this read. There were several moments in the story when even Lana questioned her motivations and actions especially with regards to Noah. It is this aspect and this aspect alone that has caused me to drop my star rating to a 3; I reiterate, this is one of my least favorite character types.
If I ignore the above – and I will not! – my star rating would have gone up to at least a 4 if not a 4½. When Lana is in coffee mode, she is all kinds of fun and her little shop, Perkatory is such a great vibe for the setting and the reader. What’s more, I adore Noah, Stanley, Erica, and Lana’s tree-hugging hippy grandfather. Finally, I enjoyed the plot of this book with the twists and turns and the drama among all the various characters/suspects. All the above leaves me at the ever-awful book crossroads. I can’t see Lana’s obsession with her former career lessening any time soon, which means I will start each new book in the series with a strong bias. On the other hand, there are so many other characters and qualities of this series that I do truly like. I think my final decision on the series as a whole will be determined by the third book and how far Lana dives into the journalism side of her personality.