Genre: Light Mystery, Cozy Mystery
Series: #3 in the Java Jive Mystery series
Publisher: Random House Canada - Alibi
First Published: November 8, 2016
First Lines: "Sinclair's? Wow. I certainly wasn't expecting this," I said as Ryder opened the passenger door and helped me out of the car."
Book Description from GoodReads: Coffeehouse manager and reluctant sleuth Juliet Langley returns in a gripping novel from the bestselling author of Death Before Decaf and Mug Shot. Just as things are perking up in Nashville, a serial killer sends tensions foaming over.
Juliet's personal and professional lives have recently received an extra jolt of energy. Her romance with the hunky detective Ryder Hamilton continues to simmer, and business at Java Jive has never been better. But her good mood quickly turns as stale as day-old espresso when she finds out that Ryder has been promoted to his precinct's homicide division. With him risking his life to catch the worst kind of criminals, Juliet's growing sense of unease ignites when a local college student goes missing.
Suddenly every Nashville resident is on high alert, especially Juliet's neighbor Chelsea. Juliet does her best to calm the girl's nerves, but her worst fears are confirmed when she finds Chelsea dead. Even though she tries her best to stay out of it, Juliet's involvement puts a strain on Ryder's first homicide case. The situation soon becomes even more personal for Juliet and her best friend Pete Bennett when one of their employees disappears during her shift. As a killer lurks in the shadows, Juliet, Pete, and Ryder seek out a double shot of justice.
My Rating: 3/5 stars
My Review: This is the third book in the Java Jive cozy mystery series and my first book by this author. While I'm not an avid 'cozy' reader, in the past I have enjoyed the genre once in awhile. While readers could, like myself, jump right into this book, I'd advise reading the first two books before picking up this mystery. While I got the gist of things I felt like I missed out of having a solid sense of the connections between the characters. You understand who is who but miss out a bit on why they have such strong feelings - good and bad - for each other.
The mystery aspect of the book was strong and kept me guessing throughout the book. There were good twists and a gaggle of potential baddies to choose from. I also liked how a mystery in a previous book was solved within this story line tying in the two books. It gave closure and stirred up some new issues too. That's awesome!
Juliet stands out as a spunky gal who needs that sass to deal with all of the issues in her life. She has the requisite penchant for getting into trouble and the ability for some funny banter. Unfortunately, she had a very frenetic feel to her and her decision making abilities were often bad and unbelievable. I also wasn't a fan of Juliet's soap opera-esque problems with the various men in her life. It's not a love triangle, it's a rectangle of romantic angst. That's too much romantic mayhem for me. I'm in it for the mystery and felt that too much time was spent focused on her relationships.
I also have to admit that I didn't like Ryder. At all. The issues/fights between him and Juliet felt immature, seemed to come out of nowhere and became tiresome fast. One minute they're getting cozy and the next minute one of them picks a fight over something silly and they're screaming at each other. Plus, there's Ryder's issue of Juliet interfering with police business - at one point he's adamant that he doesn't want Juliet anywhere near his case and then soon after he's asking her to help get info from people she knows. Wha?! I didn't understand why they wanted to be together except that Ryder has an amazing body which is referred to several times.
This book was hit and miss for me. I really enjoyed the mystery and felt that Fardig threw great red herrings at her readers to keep us guessing. But too much time was spent on Juliet's love life for my liking. With more focus on the mystery and more likable characters this book would have garnered a higher rating from me.