When Sloan Krause walks in on her husband, Mac, screwing the barmaid, she gives him the boot. Sloan has spent her life in Leavenworth, Washington becoming an expert in brewing craft beer, and she doesn’t have time to be held back by her soon-to-be ex-husband. She decides to strike out on her own, breaking away from the Krause family brewery, and goes to work for Nitro, the hip new nano-brewery in the Bavarian-themed town. Nitro’s owner, brewmaster Garrett Strong, has the brew-world abuzz with his newest recipe, “Pucker-Up IPA.” This place is the new cool place in town, and Mac can’t help but be green with envy at their success.
But just as Sloan is settling in to her new gig, she finds one of Nitro’s competitors dead in the fermenting tub, clutching the secret recipe for the IPA. When Mac, is arrested, Sloan knows that her ex might be a cheater, but a murderer? No way. Danger is brewing in Beervaria and suddenly Sloan is on the case.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 3rd 2017 by Minotaur Books
Three and a half stars: A nice cozy mystery perfect for beer connoisseurs, but it was easy to figure out the culprit.
The day Sloan catches her husband in a compromising position with the bar maid, is the day she decides it’s time to get a new job. Thanks to her brother in law, Hans, Sloan quickly lands a job helping start up brewer, Garrett Strong, launch his beer and pub. Garrett is in way over his head, but luckily, Sloan comes to the rescue. The opening is a smash, but then things quickly sour when Sloan discovers the body of one of the brewers in the beer tank. Who would murder a fellow brewer and why?
What I Liked:
- Death on Tap is the perfect read for anyone who truly appreciates beer. This book is all about brewing craft beer. Living in the Pacific Northwest, I have learned a thing or two about beer, and so this was a fantastic read for me. I loved the author’s attention to detail when it comes to all things beer and food. If you are a beer drinker, this is a fun one to check out.
- With any cozy mystery, you need a terrific setting. This one delivers with Leavenworth, Washington. Leavenworth is a real life Bavarian town set in the Mountains of the Pacific Northwest. The story is about all things German, especially the beer and food. I soaked up the setting, and I now want to visit myself.
- The overall mystery was well done, even though I had the culprit pegged early on. The author provided plenty of red herrings, lots of motives and potential suspects. So even though I was quite sure who committed the murder, I still found myself second guessing.
- I liked that this one had some interesting side stories so it wasn’t all about the beer and the murder. Sloan is forced to face her past, explore her relationship with Mac, her estranged husband, and she learns a thing or two about friends and family. There was an intriguing hint at the end of the book regarding Sloan’s heritage, which I will be eager to follow up on.
- I enjoyed some of the secondary characters. The Krause family, Otto, Ursula and Hans were delightful. I was especially charmed by Otto and Ursula the kindly, elderly German owners and brewers of Das Keller Brewery. Both of them were sweet, generous and adorable. Hans was wonderful as well. I loved how he stepped up and helped Sloan. Garrett was interesting, and I found myself liking his laid back approach to life, even though he kept me guessing. I have to admit that I spent the majority of the book not liking Mac, but at the end, he impressed me, and I am hopeful that I will like him.
- The ending was well done. The case wrapped up neatly and everything was explained.
And the Not So Much:
- I found myself not liking the majority of the characters. Aside from Sloan, Garret and the Krause family, I didn’t like anyone else in town. Most of the townsfolk that were introduced were rather unsavory from April the town busybody to Eddie and Bruin the brewers and Van the hops guy. One thing I usually love about cozy mysteries is the setting and the warm characters. This one needed more friendly characters.
- The author gave too much away early on and it was easy to pick out the murderer.
- Some of the ploys that were used to throw the reader off the trail of the culprit didn’t exactly come across as realistic when all was exposed.
- This is a personal niggle, but I really wanted some recipes. I wish there were recipes for Sloan’s comfort soup, IPA Citrus Cupcakes and Stout brownies. All the yummy food described in the story made my mouth water.
Death on Tap was a fun cozy mystery perfect for beer lovers. I loved the author’s attention to detail when it comes to beer. She truly did her research. The setting was fantastic, and the food descriptions were scrumptious. The only drawbacks were that this book had too many unsavory characters and it was rather easy to pick out the murder early on. Still this was an entertaining read, perfect for when you want a lighter mystery.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.