Title: The Pint of No Return (A Sloan Krause Mystery #2) by Ellie Alexander
Genre: Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Culinary, Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press-Minotaur Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title and Cover: The Pint of No Return – Conveys picturesque Bavarian village
Book Blurb: Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause returns in The Pint of No Return, another delightful cozy by Ellie Alexander—this time investigating a movie star who’s murdered not long after arriving in Leavenworth, WA to film his latest project.
No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.
To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew? [Don’t miss the Oktoberfest parade-click to see more!]
While I’m not a beer drinker, this had me thinking I might try again–something along the craft beer line like Apple Weizen! I wouldn’t know a pilsner from a weizen but I definitely got into this great little character-driven cozy mystery. And so much to learn about the artistry and mechanics of a good beer! Well, who knew? (Not me. I’m always amazed at how much science goes into producing a good alcoholic beverage. I’ve read about the whiskey and wine business, but somehow the way craft beer was poetically described here made it a whole lot more fun!)
Or maybe it was the whole Oktoberfest celebration in Leavenworth, Washington. Ms. Alexander does an amazing job of bringing the beautiful little Bavarian styled Washington village into sharp focus. (Yes, Virginia, there is a real Leavenworth village who actually packs in a crowd every year about this time!) But not just focus; the sound of the Oom-pah bands, the fragrance and color of the mountains in fall, and the German concentration of foods and desserts have you ready to hit Southwest for the next flight. I can imagine Main Street decorations and the people dressing up to fully experience that wild Oktober harvest and beer festival.
Sloan Krause is cracking the male-dominated beer crafting industry while she is settling into a new job with Garrett Strong at start-up brewery Nitro (psst! A “nanobrewery”). Easy, laid back detailed oriented Garrett is beginning to look pretty good now that Sloan has absolutely, positively separated heart and soul from soon-to-be ex, Mac. Sloan learned the biz at Der Keller when she married Mac and found a real family with his parents and brother, Hal. Sloan and Mac have a son, Alex, who is absent in this entry.
Sloan and Garrett are gearing up for Oktoberfest, counting their kegs, when they get the news that a film company will be in town to film a documentary of the authentic Beervarian experience. Unfortunately, the ex-child movie star who is to host is a blow-hard whose personality quickly offends everyone he comes in contact with. It isn’t long before Mitchell celebrates a little too much and is found prone, never to imbibe again.
There is a quiet little sub-plot brewing with Sloan as the product of the Wenatchee, Washington foster care system and a possible hint at who may possibly have abandoned her.
Ms. Alexander brings in some major bubbling support characters in addition to new boss, Garrett. There is the town crier (April), real estate agent (Lisa), and local police chief Meyers–female–who is totally over-worked and understaffed with the festival, and welcomes Sloan’s eyes and ears regarding the murder of Mitchell. There are also the members of the film crew. This is the second in the series, but each character is well-fleshed sufficient to discern their flushed cheeks and acquire your engagement.
It’s obvious the author did a lot of research, catching all the industry standard vocabulary as well as the minute details of brewing, but these are integrated naturally into the dialogue and didn’t come off as instructions from a manual; more like fascinating elements really that added to the appreciation of the end product. The conclusion arrives easily and efficiently in the well-plotted narrative and corks the antagonist while a few threads are left dripping, obviously to reappear in the next entry to the series.
I received this uncorrected proof download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. I am looking forward to following this series! Recommended for any who enjoy a cozy mystery or any well-crafted novel with wonderful fully-developed characters in a gorgeous setting.
Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars
The Author: Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.
Find out more about Ellie and her books by visiting her here:
©2018 V Williams