Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tangled Up in Brew

Author:  Joyce Tremel
Series:  A Brewing Trouble Mystery #2
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  October 2016

Description:  Brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara and her chef/boyfriend, Jake Lambert, are excited to be participating in the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival. Max hopes to win the coveted Golden Stein for best craft beer—but even if she doesn’t, the festival will be great publicity for her Allegheny Brew House.
Or will it? When notoriously nasty food and beverage critic Reginald Mobley is drafted as a last-minute replacement judge, Max dreads a punishing review. Her fears are confirmed when Mobley literally spits out her beer, but things get even worse when the cranky critic drops dead right after trying one of Jake’s burgers. Now an ambitious new police detective is determined to pin Mobley’s murder on Max and Jake, who must pore over the clues to protect their freedom and reputations—and to find the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner.

My Review

I am sad to say this one has been on my to be read pile much longer that I would have liked.  I was a fan of the first book in the series, so this second one was an automatic buy. Once I opened the book and read the first few pages, it was like I have never left Max, Jake and the rest of the crew at the Allegheny Brew House.

One of the things I like best about this series is that it Max is in a business that is traditionally male dominated.  It is the uniqueness of a female brewer that I initially found intriguing. However, gender aside, this author does a terrific job at developing a real sense of camaraderie among the brewers.  Max O'Hara is one of those lead characters that is engaging and draws the reader into the story.  Max is a very likable character.  She is smart, caring and holding her own both in her new business and her new role as accidental sleuth.   The author has surrounded her with a terrific cast of secondary characters that rounds out the story.    I think the romance between Jake and Max is progressing well and it feels natural but doesn't overpower the mystery.

The mystery in this installment was really solid.  The first victim was not a well liked person at all.  This allows the author to provide us with plenty of suspects to choose from. There are a good number of twists and turns, including a second murder, which throws suspicion around among the suspects.  There are several plausible motives for the crimes which made it difficult for me to really decided on one specific suspect as the killer.  I did not guess the identity of the culprit until Max revealed it at the end.

This is a fun series and I am really looking forward to more. If you are a fan of well crafted cozy mysteries with great characters and mysteries that keep you engaged and guessing until the end, I would suggest you give this series a try.  I don't think you will be disappointed.

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