Espresso bar owner Lana Lewis returns in Tara Lush's second Coffee Lover's mystery, a stimulating read that fans of Cleo Coyle and Laura Childs will savor to the last drop.
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.
In Lush's enjoyable sequel to 2020's Grounds for Murder, Lana Lewis, a former Miami crime reporter who has returned home to Devil's Beach, Fla., can't resist the chance to do some freelance work for the local newspaper by looking into the disappearance of Raina Rose, the owner of Dante's Inferno, the yoga studio next door to Perkatory, Lana's coffee shop. Lana's search for answers leads to conflict with the paper's newly hired and extremely flirtatious photographer, Cody Graves, and, more importantly, with Lana's hunky love interest, the Devil's Beach police chief. When Raina's body turns up in a nature preserve, Lana discovers a host of murder suspects connected to Dante's Inferno, including Raina's boyfriend, who helped run the studio. Distinctive characters, including Lana's stoner new age dad, complement the twisty plot. On the minus side, the reason for Lana's cold brew blend tasting terrible, a concern that runs throughout the book, comes as a letdown. Those who prefer their whodunits without sex or strong language will be satisfied. Agent: Amanda Leuck, Spencerhill Assoc.