The Pint of No Return
Sloan Kraus, Book #2
By Ellie Alexander
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
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? (Goodreads)
The second book in the Sloan Kraus series by Ellie Alexander, The Pint of No Return, is a wonderfully crafted cozy mystery set in Leavenworth, Washington. While this book does stand alone, I suggest you read the series in order to get a bit more of the backstory on the main characters and the town itself. The first book in the series is titled Death on Tap.
The story begins with Oktoberfest preparations in full swing and the sounds of The Chicken Dance. I can overlook The Chicken Dance if I have to, but the remaining descriptions in the opening pages of this book certainly had me (at least in my imagination) right there in Leavenworth and looking forward to the opening weekend of Oktoberfest. In fact, I found most the descriptive segments very provoking, for example:
“The drive from our farmhouse took me past a long stretch of organic vineyards and orchards. Sunlight flickered on the hills, illuminating the lush color of the changing deciduous trees. Leavenworth’s beauty was unmatched year-round, but during the fall our landscape put on a magnificent show of color. Gold, green, red, orange, yellow, and brown leaves highlighted the hillside. Two red-tailed hawks circled above, gliding on the gentle wind. Picturesque mountains rose like steady giants. Dew kissed the lush grasses and sparkled on the tips of flowering fuchsias.”
The premise for the mystery is a tried and true one (or so it seems to me). A film is being shot in Leavenworth and the main actor is a diva type jerk and not surprisingly, he turns up dead. Now, with many people in the running as a suspect, it behooves Sloan to work with Chief Meyers to solve this as quickly as possible, since the body was found close to Nitro. Mixed into this quagmire is the fact that Sloan is dealing with her relationship with her soon to be ex-husband, Mac as well as the pressures from working in a new brewery for its first Oktoberfest. What also added more depth into Sloan’s character is the story line that is emerging with respect to finding her birth parents. I cannot wait to see where this leads, along with a possible budding romantic relationship with Garrett? And will we ever really know Kat? I am however glad she has been brought on staff at Nitro.
I found the list of suspects interesting and really enjoyed the process that Sloan went through to first identify in her mind the suspect and then how she proved each ones’ innocence, until the killer was identified. The list of red-herrings was long, which added to the enjoyment of the mystery.
Here is hoping Nitro’s new Christmas beers are truly delicious because by the sounds of the ingredients for each brew, they should be delectable! (of course, only if you enjoy beer). Just as provocative as the new beers sound, the descriptions of cookies that Sloan ate while having a discussion with Kat early on was mouth watering:
“The cookies that I had chosen were soft and were sprinkled with sugar before being dipped in royal icing and dark chocolate. They were nicely spiced with delicate hints of nutmeg and cloves. Soft with chewy centers and just a touch of sweetness.”
All in all, a satisfying cozy mystery where I was not certain of whodunit until the very end – which is just the way I like my cozy mysteries.
Can’t wait to pick up the next book in the series, Beyond a Reasonable Stout, and carry on enjoying life in Leavenworth. Think I will go and pour a cold IPA.