Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: Roast Mortem

Roast Mortem (Coffeehouse Mystery - Book 9) by Cleo Coyle

Publication Date: August 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 368pp
ISBN-13: 9780425242728
ISBN: 0425242722

(Received for an honest review from the author) Berkley Prime Crime

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Cleo Coyle (Alice Alfonsi) on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from Roast Mortem


Clare Cosi, manager and head barista of the landmark Village Blend coffeehouse, has perfected the pulling of steaming hot espresso. But can she keep New York's Bravest from getting burned?
When the firefighters of Ladder Company 189 pull Clare's friends out of a blazing cafe, she happily comes to their rescue - visiting their firehouse kitchen to teach them the finer points of operating their newly donated espresso machine.
But as someone starts torching cafes around the city and firefighters begin to die in suspicious ways, Clare investigates, staking out a five-borough bake sale and sniffing out clues in the pizza joints of Brooklyn.
After her detective boyfriend, Mike Quinn, is pulled into the fire of a false accusation, Clare is desperate to put out the flames. But will she be able to come to Mike's rescue before someone tires to extinguish her? 


Recently I reviewed Murder by Mocha the latest book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle. This was the first book in the series that I had been privileged to read and I will have to say it is one of my favorite cozies of the year. Shortly after that the author sent me two of the previous books in the series to review at my convenience. It didn't take me too long to get into reading the ninth book in the series, Roast Mortem. I continue to be impressed by the quality of the writing and the robust sense of place that is so much a part of this series. New York's Greenwich Villlage comes alive in this series and Coyle does a fantastic job of bringing New York into the limelight. 

The longevity of this series is unprecedented. As with many series' that continue past five or six books, readers would expect a decline in the story telling potential, but not with the Coffeehouse mysteries. Each book that I have looked at or read in the series so far, continues to evolve and get better. This a series I would definitely recommend to new readers to the cozy sub-genre and to anyone who loves cozies, but hasn't read anything by this author. Each book is self-sustaining and can be read without the others, but they are so good readers will be unable to resist going back and reading the others. With beautiful cover art, great recipes, and a cast of characters that readers won't soon forget. These books are a must read for cozy enthusiasts!

Roast Mortem takes up the adventures of Clare Cosi and the gang from the Village Blend and mixes in an arsonist, some familial rivalry and some of New York cities finest. Coyle continues to develop story after story with new and exciting themes. In this book, Clare must try to figure out who is torching local Coffehouses and targeting New York city firemen. I thought this was a great premise for the whodunit, especially when Clare is present for one of the first attacks. This gives the protagonist a valid reason to be sleuthing, as well as the fact that her own coffeehouse may be subject to the same fate if the Coffeehouse Arsonist isn't caught. I love the fact that Coyle always gives the reader plausible storylines and definite reasons for amateur sleuthing. In some cozies this is often far fetched or it stretches the limits of the readers ability to believe, but this one is clear concise, adding to the overall effect of the book.

Coyle has a knack for writing characters that readers want to read about and in Roast Mortem readers are treated to learning more about Clare's love interest Mike Quinn and his rivalry with his cousin Michael Quinn. Even though Clare knows that Michael is trying to start trouble between her and Mike she must rely on him a great source of information since he is a New York City fireman. I thought that Coyle balanced the aspects of mystery well with the aspects of Clare's personal life and I liked the fact that the relationship between Clare and Mike isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Clare's relationship with Matt, her ex-husband is also interesting. They remain friends and partners and readers will love the dynamic between them. With snappy dialogue and moments of clarity, Coyle uses these characters to move the story along.

There were times when I thought I had it nailed, but Coyle surprised me with another twist or an unexpected red herring. I love it when an author can stump me until the very end and Roast Mortem was one of those. The mystery was well written and tightly plotted. Every clue and scene in the book advanced the story. There was nothing unnecessary or unnatural about any part of it. When Coyle finally lets the reader in on whodunit, they will be scratching their heads and saying... "Why didn't I think of that!"

I have to say that next to Laura Childs, Cleo Coyle is fast being a favorite cozy author of mine. Roast Mortem exceeded my expectations and I look forward to reviewing, Holiday Grind later this month. This is a series you don't want to miss. I recommend it to all of my readers, and especially to those cozy fans out there. Roast Mortem ranks right up there with Murder by Mocha!

Roast Mortem is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Cleo Coyle is the pseudonym for a multipublished author who collaborates with her husband to write the nationally bestselling Coffeehouse Mysteries. Although they did not meet until adulthood, Cleo and her husband had very similar upbringings. Both were children of food-loving Italian immigrants, and both grew up in working-class neighborhoods outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before moving to the Big Apple to begin their postcollege careers. Cleo as a journalist, and children's book and media tie-in author; and her husband as a magazine editor and writer. After finally meeting and falling in love, they married at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas. Now they live and work in New York City, where they write books independently and together, cook like crazy, haunt local coffeehouses, and drink a lot of joe. Among their many coauthored projects are the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, written under the pseudonym Alice Kimberly.

1 comment:

mamabunny13 said...

Don'tcha just love the title? :D