Tuesday 3 November 2020

Book ~ "Without a Brew" (2020) Ellie Alexander

From Goodreads ~ It's winter in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, which for local brewmaster Sloan Krause means lots of layers, pine and citrus-flavored craft beers, and getting the new guest rooms at Nitro into pristine condition before visitors flood in for IceFest - a local tradition filled with fireworks, ice carving, and winter games of all varieties. But Sloan and her boss Garrett quickly learn that being brewkeepers turned innkeepers may not be as idyllic as it sounded. 

While one couple staying with them seems completely smitten, a flashy group arrives in the evening demanding rooms. Sloan and Garrett are less than impressed but agree to rent to them anyway. The night takes a turn when brewery patron Liv Paxton finishes her frothy pint and, with no previous plan for an overnight stay in Leavenworth, eagerly takes Sloan up on the offer of sanctuary from the snow - until she has a strange run in with some locals and the other guests. Sloan could be imagining things but when Liv's room is found trashed the next morning, a hateful message painted on her car and Liv herself is nowhere to be found, Sloan is convinced another mystery is brewing. With many of the potential suspects hunkering down under Nitro's roof, she knows her co-workers and friends won't be safe until she serves up the killer a hoppy pint of justice. 

I like beer and I like mysteries so that's why this series has caught my eye.

Sloan had recently discovered her husband, Mac, had cheated.  She was working for his family's brewery and got another job working with Garrett in his new microbrewery/pub, Nitro.  Sloan is enjoying working with Garrett in his smaller business as it gives her a more hands-on opportunity to create interesting craft beers with him.

It's a busy weekend in Leavenworth.  Garrett had been considering opening up some rooms to rent out as a B 'n B and because of a shortage of hotel rooms in the village, goes ahead at the last minute.  There is a couple celebrating their anniversary, two couples who arrived together, and a woman named Liv who gets the last room.  Liv causes a bit of a stir when she arrives at the pub that night but causes even more when she is found drowned the next morning.  There are a few people who could have killed her.

In the meantime, Sloan is ready to move forward with her life.  Though Mac is trying to woo her back, she knows they are done.  But she wants to make sure that their teenage son isn't caught in the middle.  She has her eye on a cottage in the village and is considering buying it so she doesn't have to worry about the upkeep of the house she and Mac shared that is a short drive from the village.

Sloan grew up in foster care and she is starting to delve more and more into what happened.  She has always been close to her mother- and father-in-law but she recently discovered that they know more about her past than they've let on ... and they may be secrets of their own that they have been trying to keep hidden.

This is the fourth in the Sloan Krause Series by this author and I liked it.  I've read the first three and this works as a stand alone (there is enough background provided).  It's written in first person perspective in Sloane's voice.  There is a lot of talk about beer (which I found interesting) and there are also explanations about what was being talked about (what hops are and the varieties, for example).  It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.  I look forward to reading others in this series.

Other than murders, Leavenworth sounds like a fun place to visit!

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