Genre: Cozy Mystery
Setting: Modern day Leavenworth, Washington, set right before Oktoberfest begins
***I received an eARC of Death on Tap from the publisher, Minotaur Books, via NetGalley***
***this post contains affiliate links***
Review: A fun cozy mystery that’s heavy on setting and theme, but light on the mystery. Death on Tap is the first in a new series by Ellie Alexander, who writes the Pacific Northwest Mysteries, and also the Bakeshop Mysteries. Death on Tap is set in the picturesque Bavarian-styled town of Leavenworth in Washington State. I’ve never been to Leavenworth, but it’s been on my list to visit for a while, and it has definitely moved up the list after reading this book! It sounds like such a lovely place, and so atmospheric!
Besides the beautiful setting, another fun component to this book is all of the talk about beer. The main character, Sloan, is a brewer with an interest in cooking and baking, and Death on Tap is full of beer knowledge and information about different beers and the brewing process. I enjoyed all of this information about beer, however, there was quite a bit of it, so if beer doesn’t interest you, you might not find the book as interesting as I did. Besides beer, Sloan also whips up various baked goods and savory dishes that all sounded delicious! Death on Tap really made me hungry and eager to get into the kitchen and make something, with my favorite beer in hand.
I liked Sloan, who narrates the book. In the first chapter she discovers her husband, Mac, cheating on her with a younger woman, and even though she’s angry with her husband and throws him out of the house, she still tries to maintain maturity with him because they have a teenage son, Alex. I enjoyed the relationship between fifteen-year-old Alex and his parents. He talks to them both, he is interested in what is happening in their lives (and the parents are interested in his life), and he is supportive.
As Sloan decides to leave the family brewing company, she begins to work at a start-up brewery called Nitro, which is owned by the handsome Garrett Strong. Garrett seemed like a nice guy with a bit of mystery to him, but is very much the standard cozy nice guy.
One issue I did have is that Sloan repeatedly thinks of the woman that her husband was with as “the beer wench”. While this was fine the first couple of times it was mentioned, it was used far too frequently for me, and I kept rolling my eyes when I saw it.
I will say that the mystery aspects of Death on Tap were very light. Yes, there is a murder, but Sloan isn’t 100% intent on solving the mystery. She investigates a little, and talks to the police chief (who is yay! a woman!), but her thoughts are very much about what is going on with her life and her job rather than dropping all semblance of life until the mystery is solved. I found this light mystery approach actually very refreshing, and I think that contemporary readers who typically skip cozy mysteries because they aren’t really into the mystery aspect would like this book. Those who are into heavily plotted and complex mysteries will find Death on Tap lacking. I personally very much enjoyed the focus on setting, theme, and family here, so the light mystery didn’t bother me at all. I’m looking forward to future books in this series as Death on Tap ends in a way that sets up another mystery to solve.
Bottom Line: A cozy mystery for those who don’t enjoy mysteries. Fabulous setting and theme!
Does this sound like a fun read? Have you ever been to Leavenworth? Which beer is your favorite? (Mine is Russian River Brewing’s Blind Pig IPA)
****** this was a scheduled post. My blog is currently on hiatus due to the tragedy in Santa Rosa, CA. Hope to be back blogging at some point. I am receiving emails of others blog posts and hope to be able to read those and comment at some point. Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers. **********