A Coffeehouse Christmas

Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle

Why shouldn’t I love this book?  It’s a sleuthy Christmas-themed mystery set in and around an independent coffee shop in New York City–right up my alley!  But while I really did enjoy reading this book for each of the reasons listed above, I just didn’t love it.  I think I’ve spoiled myself lately with very good, intelligent books by very adept writers that I may have asked too much of this merry mystery.  The plot begins with Clare Cosi, the coffeeshop managing protagonist, discovering the dead body of her neighborhood’s local Traveling Santa.  Having grown fond of him from his visits to her shop, she makes it her mission to find the killer and meanwhile winds up in the midst of multiple murders, celebrity and more.  Aside from the silly (but appropriate) writing style, the only very bothersome aspect for me was a certain egotistical characteristic inherent in the narrator.

Clare Cosi is someone I would love to know; she is a single mother of one grown child managing a vibrant coffee shop in the City.  However, she comes across the object of every (read: every) male’s fancy throughout the entire story.  While Clare’s romantic life is merely a subplot to the mystery at hand, her first person narrative descriptions of the constant gawks and affections began grate my nerves a bit near the end.

Aside from this minor fault, there is a lot to love about this book.  The characters are unique and likeable (for the most part) and I truly didn’t know whodunit until the tail end.  While this isn’t my everyday fare, after a tough read I would certainly love to sink my teeth into another Coffeehouse Mystery.

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