Saturday 20 August 2022

Book ~ "Strange Brew" (1998) Mary Kay Andrews (Kathy Hogan Trocheck)

From Goodreads ~ The winds of change are blowing, bringing gentrification to Callahan Garrity's funky Atlanta neighborhood. Though it probably won't harm her House Mouse housecleaning service, not everyone welcomes the rebirth. And when the body of a murdered microbrewer is discovered in the aftermath of a furious Halloween gale, suspicion falls on the aging "flower child" shopkeeper whom the victim put out of business.

A former cop, Callahan isn't as quick to condemn a colorful local character as some law officers still on the force. But her investigative zeal is stirring up secrets that are forcing her to reassess old friendships and a one-time love - and is brewing up more lethal trouble than Callahan and her "mice" can safely swallow. 

Callahan used to be a police officer and changed careers when she bought House Mouse, a cleaning service that she runs with her mother, Edna ... but she still does private investigating on the side.

The neighbourhood where Callahan and Edna live is cleaning itself up ... trendy and cool businesses are pushing out the struggling businesses that have been there a lot time.  One of them is Wuvvy's shop where she sells posters, teeshirts, etc.  Wuvvy is a the local free spirit who drinks, smokes weeds and sleeps with everyone.  There is a brewpub moving into Wuvvy's shop and she doesn't like it one bit and she's not quiet about it.  When the owner of the soon-to-come brewpub is found murdered, Wuvvy is the suspect, especially since she has disappeared.  Callahan's not convince that Wuvvy did it so starts to investigate.

While this is happening, a storm brings destruction to Atlanta and there is a lot of damage, including to Callahan and Edna's house.  But this brings extra business to House Mouse, which is good because they need the extra money to repair their house and van that damaged in the storm.

The writing was okay.  It is written in first person perspective in Callahan's voice.  Because it was originally written in the mid 1990s and is set in the mid 1990s (just after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta) they are still using pay phones, answering machines, cheques, etc. Some of the terms used are now cringe-worthy such as the "N-word" and "coloured" which makes the book seem racist.  Edna was nastier than usual in this book ... she was fed up with the "winos", "bums", etc. in her neighbourbood so she forms a neighbourhood watch.  I found the craft beer angle in this one interesting.  As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

This is the sixth in the Callahan Garrity Mystery Series.  Though part of a series, it works as a stand alone as there is enough background provided. It's not a great series but I only have a couple more to go so I've kept going.  This book was better than the last two.

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