cover image Fresh Brewed Murder

Fresh Brewed Murder

Emmeline Duncan. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3339-9

Sage Caplin, the narrator of Duncan’s strong debut and series launch, and her business partner, Harley, are excited about opening day for their Portland, Ore., coffee cart. That first morning, Sage impresses a customer with her cold-reading skills, making an educated guess that she’s a college student. When Sage tries those skills on another customer, a stern-looking man, he just orders a black coffee. The man comes back the next day and is just as unfriendly. Then early on the third morning, Sage arrives at her cart to find him lying dead on the ground with his throat slashed. The murder weapon turns out to be a box cutter from Sage’s cart, and Sage’s estranged, con artist mother, from whom she gets a surprise phone call, turns out to have a connection to the dead man. Luckily, Sage’s dad is a cop and her brother is a lawyer, and she gets plenty of emotional support from Harley and other food cart operators in her effort to prove her innocence. Lively characters help propel the intricate plot. Cozy fans will hope to see a lot more of Sage and friends. [em]Agent: Joshua Bilmes, Jabberwocky Literary. (Apr.) [/em]