Beyond a Reasonable Stout: A Sloan Krause Mystery Book 3 by Ellie Alexander

This may yet get me to try a craft beer. Although I’d be happier checking out this beautiful little Washington state village.

Five of Five Stars 5-stars

Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie AlexanderBook Blurb:

Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into the murderous political world in another delightful mystery from popular cozy writer Ellie Alexander.

It’s the dead season in Leavenworth, Washington. The throngs of Oktoberfest crowds have headed home, and the charming Bavarian streets are quiet and calm—momentarily. Villagers use the reprieve to drink in the crisp fall mountain air and prepare for the upcoming winter light festival. Soon the German-inspired shops and restaurants will be aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors will return to the northern Cascades to drink warm mulled cider and peruse the holiday markets. Brewer, Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are using the slowdown to stock up on a new line of their signature craft beers at Nitro. They’re experimenting with a hoppy holiday pine and a chocolate hazelnut stout. The small brewery is alive with delicious scents and bubbling batches of brew.

Sloan is in her element. She loves the creativity and lowkey atmosphere at Nitro. Only that is soon threatened by the incumbent city councilmember Kristopher Cooper. Kristopher is running for re-election on a platform of making Leavenworth dry. Everyone in beertopia is fuming. Leavenworth’s economy relies on keeping the kegs flowing. Kristopher wants to banish beer, a policy that might just bankrupt the entire village. However, Kristopher turns up dead days before election night. Sloan quickly realizes that his murder isn’t the work of a stranger. Friends, family, and every other business owner had a motive to kill him, including none other than April Ablin, Leavenworth’s self-described ambassador of all things German. Sloan finds herself defending April and trying to sleuth out a killer amongst a group of familiar faces.

My Review:

No I don’t drink beer and at my age can barely tolerate a small glass of white wine before I’m running for an antacid, but for some reason, this little series set a spark that has caught my attention.

Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie AlexanderProtagonist Sloan Krause has the nose and the taste buds for the business. She’s smart, inventive, and original. Having grown up the hard way through a series of foster homes, she thought she’d found a family when she married Mac and became part of his family’s Der Keller Brewery in the quaint mountainous Bavarian styled village of  Leavenworth. They had a son, Alex, but Mac soon acquired a wandering eye.

All was not lost when she discovered a start-up brewery run by Garrett at close by at Nitro. He is an ex-Seattle chemist. He is easy and laid back, detailed oriented and intelligent. They hired Kat, a young woman who needed a job and a roof over her head and acquired both with Nitro.

Book three has the village facing a city council election whose incumbent has decided Leavenworth should be alcohol-free–which, of course, would kill most of the town’s livelihoods. Following a nasty confrontation following a rally for his opponent, he is found murdered and it’s the town’s self-proclaimed “ambassador” April, who is #1 person of interest.

Running parallel in an undercurrent left from Book 2, Sloan again confronts her past and seeks answers regarding her parents and the resulting abandonment.

Once again, the compelling and well-developed support characters from the previous novel are back and are readily familiar, although you could easily read this as a standalone. There is a lot of industry-standard vocabulary, as well as Sloan’s tasty ideas for the upcoming season. Details of brewing are shared in an off-hand way that doesn’t interrupt the story, merely adds credence and understanding to the craft art.

As Oktoberfest is history, the village has a slight lull prior to Thanksgiving, the tree lighting ceremonies, the opening of ski season and winter activities, so they have the opportunity to work on projects and taste test. The weather is turning cold and the beauty of their village, their little valley, and the mountains take on a whole new perspective. The author imparts her love of the Pacific Northwest in her descriptive prose and once again creates a travel lust. I loved the descriptions of the various beers and exactly how they are classified, reminding me a little of the tour we took in Japan of the Kirin (Ichiban) Brewery in Yokohama. (Yes, I tasted it…how can you not?)

There continues to be some growth in the relationship between her and Garrett, although Mac is trying to come back and I’m discerning just a slight bit of emotional confusion. The antagonist was no real surprise, although there were a few twists and red herrings to throw you off. And I appreciated the way April returned the favor–and excited to see that idea going forward. But then, what?? A cliffhanger?!! Gees, I hate cliffhangers. I read Book 2, The Pint of No Return last year and loved it. (See that review here.) Now I have to wait another year??

“Beer Cures What Ales You.”

“Every loaf of bread is a tragic story of grains that could have become beer but didn’t.”

I received this uncorrected digital galley from the publisher and NetGalley and loved the opportunity to read and review. I am really looking forward to following this series and will be watching for Book 4! Recommended for any who enjoy a fun, fast-paced cozy mystery or any well-crafted novel with wonderful fully-developed characters in a unique and gorgeous setting.

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books

  • ISBN-10:1250205751
  • ISBN-13:978-1250205759
  • ASIN: B07P7BXXHZ

Print Length: 284 pages
Publication Date: To be released October 1, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Beyond a Reasonable Stout

Kate Dyer-Seeley - authorThe Author: Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries (St. Martin’s Press), is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing 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:
web: http://https://www.elliealexander.co/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellie_alexander
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwd80ruKbz98VZQGT2I23-Q/featured
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliealexanderauthor
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/BakeshopMystery

©2019 V Williams V Williams

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Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview

Freedom Road by William LashnerTitle: Freedom Road by William Lashner

Genre: Literature and Fiction, Thriller and Suspense, Action and Adventure

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Print Length: 377 pages

ASIN:B07F6CLX1H

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Freedom RoadDepicts lonely flight

Book Blurb:

He’s taking a dangerous path in search of his missing granddaughter—the only part of his life worth saving.

Oliver Cross is fresh out of jail. His plans for the future are to live out his days in regret, back pain, and a bottle of Lone Star. But when he finds out his granddaughter, a wild child who reminds him of his late wife, has vanished—bless her hell-raising heart—Oliver jumps parole. With a sketchy teen and an abandoned dog, he hits the blacktop to find her.

On the road and on the run from a vengeful Russian drug dealer, Oliver finds himself on a trip across America and into his own past, fueled by fumes from a Ford F-250 and a reason to live. But from an exclusive club in Chicago to a seedy commune in the Rockies, a series of disastrous choices sends Oliver spiraling further from his goal and deeper into danger. It’s a journey that could all end in redemption or a hail of bullets. And either’s okay by him. 

My Review:

Perhaps Clint Eastwood is now too old to play the part of 72-year-old Oliver Cross, but he could have played the brooding, caustic, cantankerous man so believably that these pages would have quivered with the excitement. There were sooo many times I pictured him in this part, seeing Oliver as Clint has always been, the quintessential masculine hero who would triumph even at his own expense.

Oliver is a remnant of the ’68 Chicago Viet Nam anti-war demonstrations that have come to blows which actually introduces him to Helen, who will become the love of his life. Oliver is the product of a wealthy family, first-year law student, destined to become one of the good ole boys following in his father’s footsteps where the name Cross means wealth and power. But two things happen that will totally change the course of his life: He meets Helen and his brother, a soldier in ‘Nam dies a hero. Continue reading “Freedom Road by William Lashner – a #BookReview”

Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette #BlogTour #BookReview

Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

Book Details

Death on the Menu: A Key West Food Critic Mystery
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Crooked Lane Books (August 7, 2018)
Hardcover: 295 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683317463
Digital ASIN: B078MBKH95

Book Blurb

When a killer strikes just before flan time, beloved food critic Hayley Snow is forced to sniff out the killer before someone else bites the dust.

Hayley Snow, fiery food critic for Key Zest magazine, has just landed a ticket to one of the most prestigious events in Key West: a high-brow three-day conference at the Harry Truman Little White House. Even though she’ll be working the event helping her mother’s fledgling catering business, there’s plenty of spicy gossip to go around. But just before her mother’s decadent flan is put to the test, Key West’s most prized possession, Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for The Old Man and the Sea, is discovered stolen from its case.

Unsavory suspicions point to Gabriel, a family friend and one of the new busboys working the event, who mysteriously goes missing moments later. Anxious to clear his name, Gabriel’s family enlists Hayley to help find him, but right as they begin their search, his body is found stabbed to death in the storeroom.

Hayley has no shortage of suspects to interrogate and very little time before the killer adds another victim to the menu in national bestselling author Lucy Burdette’s delectable eighth Key West Food Critic mystery, Death on the Menu.

My Review

Hayley Snow is a food critic writer for the local Key Zest Magazine in Key West, Florida, but has been caught up in her mom’s huge catering opportunity for the lavish and historic Key West/Havana conference to be held at the Harry Truman Little White House on the island. Her mother is over-the-top thrilled for the catering opportunity thinking the success of which would mean solid future success for her fledgling catering business. She has hired additional local personnel to help with the menu and set up.

The unusual event has been orchestrated to bring both the Cuban dignitaries and the American officials together hopefully to quiet tensions between the two countries. Hayley has been asked, politely, by her detective boyfriend (Nathan) bordering on serious suitor, to please stay out of it as with the officials involved, promised protests, and security tight but nervous, the event could turn nasty.

The event has invited some major guests, set up displays, and scheduled tours, including that of Ernest Hemingway’s Key West home. Hemingway’s Nobel Prize gold medal has been loaned especially for the momentous occasion for display, but almost immediately goes missing during the first dinner at the Little White House. It is the son of one of her local assistants that is an immediate POI, but then he is found stabbed in a kitchen storage room. His family asks Hayley to please help with the investigation.

This is apparently the eighth installment of the Key West Food Critic Mystery series but my introduction to both the series and the author. I’ve read of Key West before, but the author really gets you onto the surface streets to the real town, the flavor, the sights, smells, and the people. I loved her description of the architecture and the colors, the ethnic mix of people and the food. And the history–loved it–not only the stories about the Truman Little White House–I never knew–and it also played host to Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton. (Truman felt that the “white house” was wherever the president was.)

And Hemingway, his stories are larger than life, as was he. All of them true. He wrote To Have and Have Not during his (1930’s) years in Key West. And he loved cats? Seriously? Not just cats–five-toed cats–polydactyls.

But back to the plot:

It’s a cozy.

I’ve often mentioned that for me a cozy mystery seems to dawdle. There is always a reason, reprising the protagonist for those new to the series. Bringing in the support characters, in this case, her beloved roomie, Miss Gloria, is up in years but not old. (Also recruited to help with the festivities.) She lives on Houseboat Row, which sounds ducky, until you try to figure out how the black tank is emptied. Otherwise, I got such a mental picture of her life on the island, I wanted to get the fish scale scraper.

The food. Not so much into the food–especially spicy–but “ropa vieja” sounded interesting and definitely got my attention with flan. Did someone say Flan? I love flan! (Almost every version of it!) However, the recipe presented at the back of the book prepared enough to feed an army. You’d definitely have to cut it down, but then reading the directions, it sounds like too much trouble. Next time I’ll understand why it’s one of the more expensive desserts on the menu.

Hayley is from the “interview the suspects” school of thought. Unfortunately, everyone at the event becomes a suspect and because of the tight security, only those vetted allowed to attend. How to narrow it down? Interview.

Bottom line: I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the descriptions, and most of the writing. Hayley is devoted to her mother and Miss Gloria, though her mother is not as well fleshed here as Miss Gloria, and I couldn’t get into Hayley’s boots (did she ever wear a helmet on that scooter?). Nathan? Meh. But he does seem devoted and fortunately, the romance aspect didn’t logue down the plot line. The conclusion didn’t feel wholly gratifying. The narrative might function well for others as a standalone and worked okay for me, though Hayley may be better developed in previous installments.

I was given the download by the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Recommended for anyone interested in the history of chugs, Cuba/Key West relations, popular Key West tourist sites, and cozy mysteries. (What is a chug? You don’t want to know.)

Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About the Author

Lucky Burdette - author Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 16 mysteries, including the latest in the Key West food critic series, DEATH ON THE MENU (Crooked Lane Books, August 2018.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime. She blogs at Jungle Red Writers and shares her love for food with the culinary writers at Mystery Lovers Kitchen She lives in Madison CT and Key West FL. Read more at www.lucyburdette.com.

​Author Links:

Facebook: WWW.facebook.com/lucyburdette

Twitter: www.twitter.com/lucyburdette

Instagram: www.instagram.com/lucyburdette

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib

GoodReadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4781149.Lucy_Burdette

Purchase Links:

Amazon  B&N  IndieBound BookBub Kobo

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

August 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 1 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 2 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen – RECIPE

August 2 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 2 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Killer Characters – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 3 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 4 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 5 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 6 – Map Your Mystery – INTERVIEW

August 6 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW

August 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – Jungle Red Writers – GUEST POST

August 7 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – RECIPE, REVIEW

August 7 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 8 – The Conscious Cat – GUEST POST

August 8 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 9 – Mystery Lovers Kitchen #2 – RECIPE

August 10 – Wicked Cozy Authors – GUEST POST

August 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

August 11 – Book Babble – REVIEW

August 12 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW

August 13 – Mallory Heart Reviews – REVIEW

August 14 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 15 – Fabulous Florida Writers​ – GUEST POST

August 15 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW

August 15 – Varietats – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams