Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun characters and atmospheric mystery
Cons: One dropped plot point; needed another pass from an editor
The Bottom Line:
Witches’ Ball murder
Halloween atmosphere in
More Trouble is Brewing in Buttercup
I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that more authors are adding Christmas entries to their cozy mystery series. Considering how much I love Christmas, I’m hardly complaining about that, but I do find it funny that Halloween isn’t used more since it fits in so well with the murder mystery theme. Karen MacInerney decided it was the perfect season for Deadly Brew, the fun third book in her Dewberry Farm series.
It may be October, but it is hardly cooling down in Texas. That’s a problem for a farmer like Lucy Resnick, especially when it’s been a dry summer yet again, since it has left her well dry. Meanwhile, there is something in the area attacking live stock, and the local rumor mill is attributing it to a mythological creature. And Lucy’s moved a historic house from the area to her property only to learn that it just might be haunted.
With all this going on, Lucy is looking forward to a relaxing evening at the Witches’ Ball. The evening ends in tragedy, however, when Bug Wharton dies. He had opened an exotic game ranch in the area. While his ranch was less than popular with Lucy and her friends, she didn’t wish him dead. But when a fatal reaction to a bee sting becomes linked to the murder, Lucy knows that her friends will becomes the sheriff’s prime suspects, and he’s not known for changing his mind easily. Can Lucy find the truth?
Obviously, there’s a lot going on with a good mystery and several sub-plots. That means the book never lacks for something happening. I was always turning pages trying to find out what would happen next and how Lucy would figure things out. Unfortunately, one plot point is left dangling, but the rest are wrapped up in a satisfactory manner. And the climax is fun, creative, and suspenseful.
This being the third book in the series, we’re really getting to know Lucy and a couple of core characters, and I loved spending more time with them. Naturally, we meet some new characters here, and they are strong as well.
And we get a couple of updates on characters we’ve met in previous books. I was glad to see these cameos, but they do come with a warning. By necessity, events from the previous books in the series are spoiled. That means you’ll need to read the series in order, which isn’t really a hardship at all.
Unfortunately, this book did need another pass by an editor. At least in the digital version I read, there are a number of continuity issues. They don’t interfere with the plot of the mystery, but they were annoying, especially when they made me scroll back to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Hopefully, these are fixed in later versions of the book.
If you are looking for Halloween atmosphere, you’ve come to the right place. While never leaving the cozy mystery genre, this book hass a hint of spookiness that is just plain fun and adds a nice flavor to this particular book. Combine that with the light hint of paranormal the series usually has, and you’ve got a perfect book to read in October.
And yes, there are recipes. No surprise that two of the four are pumpkin recipes, including a delicious sounding pumpkin bar and pumpkin butter.
If you are looking for a fun cozy to read during October, look no further than Deadly Brew. But no matter what time of the year you read this book, you’ll enjoy it.
NOTE: I received a copy of this book.