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An entire Washington town is threatened by a feud over alcohol.

Leavenworth lives and dies by beer. It’s tricked out to look like a Bavarian village, with shops that sell all things German and restaurants and breweries that draw in year-round crowds. Sloan Krause, who’s on the verge of divorcing her cheating husband, Mac Krause, adores his parents, Otto and Ursula, who made her feel welcome after she’d spent much of her life living in foster homes. Sloan has a share in the family business, Der Keller, but is working for Garrett Strong, whose nanobrewery, Nitro, is anything but retro. The businesspeople are up in arms over an upcoming election for city council, as current member Kristopher Cooper has suddenly decided that Leavenworth should go dry. After a raucous meeting at Der Keller punctuated by personal attacks, Cooper is found stabbed in the office of April Albin, the self-proclaimed ambassador for the town whose repertory includes kitschy German outfits and a fake accent. April is arrested by Police Chief Meyers, who’s worked with Sloan before and trusts her sleuthing abilities (The Pint of No Return, 2018, etc.). April begs for Sloan’s help. Even though she’s truly annoying, Sloan doesn’t believe she’s a killer. The problem is that there are endless suspects who hated Cooper for a plan that would ruin every business in town. As Sloan goes about her business, she picks up tidbits that might help solve the crime. She works with Garrett on concocting new brews for the winter holidays and refurbishing rooms above the brewery for a planned B&B. But she’s distracted by hints from Sally, her former social worker, that there are mysterious and possibly dangerous circumstances surrounding her birthparents. Although Sloan’s talents help solve Cooper’s murder, her past hints at future problems.

Appealing characters, a brewing primer, and myriad suspects combine in a sprightly adventure.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-250-20575-9
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2019


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