Bulletproof Barista (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
by Cleo Coyle
About Bulletproof Barista
Bulletproof Barista (A Coffeehouse Mystery)
20th in Series
Setting – New York
Berkley (November 14, 2023)
Hardcover : 352 pages
ISBN-10 : 0593197593
ISBN-13 : 978-0593197592
Digital ASIN : B0BV6GDX2W
When a film crew’s location shoot delivers an actual shooting, Clare Cosi finds herself at the scene of a true crime in this showstopping entry in the beloved Coffeehouse Mysteries from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.
Only Murders in Gotham, the smash-hit streaming program, is famous for filming in authentic New York locations and using real New Yorkers as extras. For its second season, they’ve chosen to spotlight the century-old Village Blend and its quirky crew of baristas. Shop manager and master roaster Clare Cosi is beyond thrilled, especially when her superb bulletproof coffee lands her a craft services contract for the production.
Madame, the eccentric octogenarian owner of the landmark shop, reveals an old kinship with the star of the show, comedian Jerry Sullivan. Now a Hollywood legend, Jerry frequented the Blend during his early years performing in Greenwich Village comedy clubs. But the past may hold more than nostalgia for Jerry. Suspicious accidents begin plaguing his shoot. Then a real bullet is fired from a stage gun, and Clare becomes convinced something sinister is afoot.
While Jerry’s production moves to exciting new locations, Clare keeps the coffee flowing—and her investigation going—even as a murderer lurks in the wings. But can she root out the rotten player in this Big Apple production before the lights go out on her?
Includes a stellar menu of surefire recipes!
“A wonderful series with plenty of local color, great characters, and a setting so real that readers will be scouring the streets of Greenwich Village looking for the real Village Blend.”—The Mystery Reader
“Clare and company are some of the most vibrant characters I’ve ever read.”—Mystery Scene
If you’ve followed along, you know I’ve reviewed a couple of Cleo Coyle’s books on this blog. I am a big fan of the Coffeehouse Mysteries series, and I had high hopes for Bulletproof Barista.
Only Murders in Gotham is filming at the Village Blend, using the staff as extras, and Clare is beyond excited. She’s a long-time fan of Jerry Sullivan, one of the stars of the show. And when he’s won over by her new bulletproof coffee blend and offers the Blend the show’s craft services contract, well, that’s just bonus. But all is not well in TV land. There are suspicions that someone may be trying to sabotage the show. When Tucker, barista and aspiring actor, is shot during filming, Clare has to get to the bottom of things for her crew’s safety.
As always, the characters are wonderful. Madame is sharp as a tack, and she’s got important backstory to contribute. Matt’s relationship with Clare is still slightly flirty, but I get the feeling that they really do see each other as friends and allies, and Matt proves himself a reliable business partner here when Clare is caught up chasing a lead. The show characters are all intriguing: Sebastian, the director who seems to have something to hide; Kylee, the ingenue in a lead role who may be more than she appears; Hutch, the newly minted armorer for the show when the previous armorer becomes a victim; Lizzy Meeks, the president of Jerry Sullivan’s fan club; and Jerry himself, an aging comedian who wants to protect the show’s reputation.
There’s a twist in this book. Usually Mike is doing everything he can to keep Clare from digging into mysteries. Here, he asks for her help as her concerns dovetail with a drug investigation his squad is pursuing. It was fun having them able to compare notes and for Clare to be able to freely discuss the results of her investigation with Mike.
Here our antagonist is identified as the Player. As is customary, Coyle gives us snippets of the Player’s viewpoint and thoughts. That adds to the tension of the book for me. We get a little hint as to what’s coming next, but Clare has no idea. And I was well and truly surprised by who the Player turned out to be. Kudos to Coyle for keeping me in the dark!
I’ve seen reviews comparing the show in this book to Only Murders in the Building. I haven’t ever seen that show, so I can’t draw any comparisons between the two. I will say that this story gave me a whole new insight into the world of show business! The infighting, the intense focus on public opinion as shown in Jerry’s extreme reluctance to involve the police, the – well, the drama. Every time Clare was surprised about something, Tucker told her that’s just how the business is, and wow, it seems cutthroat. I learned a lot, and I’m even more convinced I’d like to stay far, far away from the bright lights of fame!
And of course, there are several delicious recipes included!
The Coffeehouse Mystery series continues to be a favorite for me. Cleo Coyle is one of my must-read authors, and Bulletproof Barista does not disappoint!
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About Cleo Coyle
CLEO COYLE is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times-bestselling authors of the long-running Coffeehouse Mysteries and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, both celebrating 20 years in print. With more than one million books sold, their work has been honored with starred reviews and multiple best-of-year list selections by reviewers. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, Toho, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together. Connect with Cleo at CoffeehouseMystery.com
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