Review: A Brew to a Kill by Cleo Coyle

A Brew to a Kill
Cleo Coyle

Product Description (from

Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

A shocking hit-and-run in front of her Village Blend coffeehouse spurs Clare Cosi into action. A divorced, single mom in her forties, Clare is also a dedicated sleuth, and she’s determined to track down this ruthless driver who ran down an innocent friend and customer. In the meantime, her ex-husband Matt, the shop’s globetrotting coffee buyer, sources some amazing new beans from Brazil. But he soon discovers that he’s importing more than coffee, and Clare may have been the real target of that deadly driver. Can ex-husband and wife work together to solve this mystery? Or will their newest brew lead to murder? Includes recipes.

My Thoughts

Cleo Coyle’s new Coffeehouse Mysteries have been coming out in early August for the last couple of years, which means I always use birthday money to buy them for myself. A Brew to a Kill was one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received. :)

This new installment of the caffeinated adventures of Clare Cosi and company incorporates two nifty modern trends, social media and cupcakes, and adds a mystery that introduces us to an old colleague of Mike Quinn’s who might be almost as cool (but only almost) as well as new friends, but rest assured the entire gang from the Village Blend is well represented, in all their slam-poetry and art-creating glory, and ex-husband Matt and his mother Madame are both deeply involved in the mystery that involves Brazilian coffee, Asian cooking, drug trafficking, class snobbery, and a mobile version of the Village Blend (if only there was such a coffee van in my neighborhood – Starbucks should deliver, at least in suburban Texas).

Of course there’s a secondary storyline about the ongoing romance between Clare and Mike, but their relationship gets a new twist thrown into it in this book. To borrow a phrase from a favorite character in a totally different genre and medium, “Spoilers, Sweetie.” Translation: I don’t do plot reveals – you’ll have to read the actual book.

What I love about Coyle’s characters is that in both the Coffeehouse Mysteries and in the Haunted Bookshop series (which next installment cannot come soon enough) the protagonists are adults. Clare is in her forties, and Penelope is a single mother. They both have multi-dimensional lives with jobs, homes, and friends, and come across as completely real people. The men, too, are very vivid. Both Mike and Matteo are guys who could easily step off the page. (I confess, however, that in my mind’s eye Mike Quinn is played by Chris Noth and Matteo is played by Michael Sheen, who is Welsh, yes, but has that dark, curly hair that is generic European).

And then there are the recipes. I’ve tried several of the recipes in the Coffeehouse books (the Donut Shop Muffins are a favorite) and not only are they well written, but they never fail to please. For someone who is notorious for having a book with her at every meal, the fact that the author gives us the ability to reproduce key foods makes the books live longer.

A Brew to a Kill was an excellent read, and I’m excited to know that another Coffeehouse Mystery is due out before Christmas. Long live Cleo Coyle! Long live the Village Blend.

Goes well with: a double cappuccino and anything chocolate (I read my copy while enjoying chocolate raspberry birthday cake).