Death by Iced Coffee

Bookstore Café Mystery #11

By Alex Erickson

ISBN 9781496736673

Author Website: alexericksonbooks(.)com

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie


A charming, relatable sleuth and quirky cast of characters sets Alex Erickson’s Bookstore Cafe Mystery series apart from the cozy pack–and this time, bookstore owner Krissy Hancock is stepping out from behind the counter and lacing up her sneakers to participate in her hometown’s first-ever marathon, only to find herself racing to solve a murder instead.

Bookstore-café owner Krissy Hancock is stepping out from behind the counter to take part in the first annual Pine Hills, Ohio, marathon. But with a killer close by, she may soon be running for her life . . .

It’s a brutally hot day in Pine Hills, and Krissy Hancock would love to be sitting in a shady spot and sipping her favorite iced coffee. Instead, she’s lacing up her sneakers for a marathon—and swiftly regretting it. Especially when she finds one of the other runners lying motionless. At first Krissy suspects heatstroke, but the red marks around the man’s throat tell a more sinister story.

The victim, it turns out, had brewed up all kinds of enemies thanks to his cheating ways—both romantic and financial. Krissy’s not keen to get involved, but her friend Rita’s boyfriend, Johan, seems to be mixed up in the mayhem. For Rita’s sake, Krissy wants to help filter out the real killer. But can she do it before another Pine Hills resident gets permanently iced? (From Amazon)


Krissy is off and running, literally, in this newest episode of the Bookstore Café Mystery series. Her friend Rita talked her into participating in the first Pine Hills marathon to benefit cancer research. They are in the middle of a heat wave, and people are dropping out before the marathon even begins. Krissy, who almost never exercises, considers it but knows Rita is counting on her participation. Tempers are hotter than the sun, and one runner had to be pulled away from an organizer.

Rita’s boyfriend Johan is supposed to be out of town. Before the marathon began, Krissy saw a blond woman and a man who looks like Johan going into the woods behind a couple storage sheds. She didn’t tell Rita at the time as she didn’t want to upset her friend.

The marathon was going reasonably well and for a while, Krissy was in the middle of the pack until she began to feel the effects of too much heat. She heard someone call for help from a nearby bicycle path, saw one man bent over a man lying on the ground. Assuming it was heatstroke, she stopped, but it was too late for Glen, the man who tried to fight Rod, an organizer, before the marathon began.

Somehow Krissy made it through the entire marathon. She stopped into Death by Coffee, the bookstore café she owns with her best friend Vicki, then collapsed at home. It wasn’t until later that she heard Glen was strangled. And she is sufficiently inquisitive to start asking questions, despite her boyfriend, a police officer and the son of the police chief. Paul has asked her, for her own safety, to stay out of murders in the past, but to no avail. Even if she puts herself in danger. Even if she would be arrested for interference.

Krissy became friends with Shannon, Paul’s ex-girlfriend, and Trisha, the wife of one of Krissy’s ex-boyfriends. Shannon and Trisha met and became friends at a group they attend for help with various mental health or living challenges. When Krissy found out that the group is run by Melanie, Glen’s ex-wife, she is happy. Of course, she would be interested in the group! She decided to meet with Melanie outside of the group when she can learn more about it before attending. There are no end of connections Krissy makes to get to the heart of the murder, especially when Rita’s boyfriend Johan could be a suspect.

The author’s descriptions are excellent regarding characters and pets! I could almost see and understand some of the characters, especially Krissy and Paul. I particularly appreciated the descriptions of Krissy’s symptoms of a harsh sunburn and near heatstroke. Krissy surprises me, however, with some of the things she does and the extreme risks she takes. I like that she is beginning to make more women friends, including Cassie, who invite her to new activities that don’t involve murder. The author is very familiar with pets, as one of the funniest scenes was her kitty, Misfit, with his new water fountain, proving that when it comes to our pets, few good deeds go unpunished!

The mystery is unpredictable, and the murder involved much more than tempers flaring in the heat. The suspect list gets longer as Krissy noses around. A detective on the force, her nemesis, seems to often find her where she shouldn’t be, even though he no longer suspects her of every crime in Pine Hills. There are many surprises, including what Johan was doing and the motive and situations behind Glen’s murder. All is resolved at the end, with no outstanding issues. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and series, especially for its clever creativity, humor, coffee shop/ bookstore setting, and intrigue.