Genre: Cozy Mystery

Shot in the Dark

Shot in the Dark
Clare Cosi returns! A smartphone dating app turns the Village Blend into a top meeting spot for its users. It's great for the business until someone gets murdered.

Cozy mysteries are quite new to me. I’ve only discovered this through my Goodreads feed (where I get a lot of great recommendations from what my friends are currently reading). Full disclosure, I binge-read all of Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries in a matter of days earlier this year. I was really excited for this new addition. I really like this series because of the coffee references, and I love that there’s much emphasis on where the beans are sourced and how different factors affect how coffee tastes. I liked the details. There’s also a lot of food references, so reading a Cleo Coyle book always makes me hungry after, haha.

This new book has less coffee and food references compared to previous books. I really miss that. Still, it’s a pretty good mystery. Somehow the character of Clare Cosi straddles that fine line between justifiably curious and annoyingly nosy. The clues, the police interaction are all plausible. I’ve always liked the strong female characters of this series but I love how Esther Best’s character shone in this story. The poems in the slam poetry session for horrible hookup stories were funny. The story also finds the sweet spot between being comfortable with using technology and understanding how this isn’t a replacement for real-life relationships. Of course, there’s the usual annoyances with Matteo’s juvenile ways, which I had hoped would be toned down a bit. Not much interaction with Mike Quinn on this book, but that’s alright. It’s actually one of the things I like about the book. There’s not much of that cloying, overly-romanticized, wishy-washy love story. They’re both busy with their careers, they both try to balance their responsibilities and personal lives. I actually like how the series show the day-to-day challenges Clare Cosi face while managing Village Blend, and little tidbits about how she navigates relationships with suppliers, customers, and even her coffee broker.

Cleo Coyle succeeded in making a nice little world in this series, and despite the fewer coffee and food references on this installment, I still enjoyed it a lot.