Double Shot Death

Emmeline Duncan. Kensington, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3341-2

Duncan’s assured sequel to 2021’s Fresh Brewed Murder takes Sage Caplin, the co-owner of Ground Rules (“a coffee company consisting of a roastery, two food carts, and employees”), to the annual Campathon Music Festival, held at a farm outside Portland, Ore. Joining Sage for the weekend-long event is Lukas “Bax” Baxter, her video game developer boyfriend, who runs into Maya Olivera, a singer with whom Bax has worked developing music for some of his games. Maya’s former band, the Changelings, is also there and playing music written or co-written by Maya and Nate Green, the Changelings’ front man, which gives Maya reason to confront Nate’s manager, Ian Rabe, over royalties she hasn’t been paid. One of Campathon’s organizers and Ian’s assistant also have reasons to have it in for Ian. When Sage stumbles across Ian’s dead body, clutching a coffee mug of hers, she once again turns sleuth. Solid prose, a well-crafted plot, and plenty of coffee lore draw the reader in. A socially liberal vibe—Bax happily mixes with his ex-wife, their young son, and her husband—sets this cozy apart. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary. (May)