Review: Death on Tap (A Sloan Krause Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander

Being from the Pacific Northwest, I know all about the magical town of Leavenworth Washington. Everything Bavarian. It’s like the Northwest version of Germany year round. The beer and the Christmas festival are famous throughout the Pac NW, even here in Oregon.

This book is set in this little hidden mini Germany in the mountains of Washington, and it’s the first in a new series so I could hardly say no to something so unique and new.

When Sloan Krause walks in on her husband, Mac, screwing the barmaid, she gives him the boot. Sloan has spent her life in Leavenworth, Washington becoming an expert in brewing craft beer, and she doesn’t have time to be held back by her soon-to-be ex-husband.

She decides to strike out on her own, breaking away from the Krause family brewery, and goes to work for Nitro, the hip new nano-brewery in the Bavarian-themed town. Nitro’s owner, brewmaster Garrett Strong, has the brew-world abuzz with his newest recipe, “Pucker-Up IPA.” This place is the new cool place in town, and Mac can’t help but be green with envy at their success.

But just as Sloan is settling in to her new gig, she finds one of Nitro’s competitors dead in the fermenting tub, clutching the secret recipe for the IPA. When Mac, is arrested, Sloan knows that her ex might be a cheater, but a murderer? No way. Danger is brewing in Beervaria and suddenly Sloan is on the case (summary from Goodreads).

This book sounded unique if nothing else. It’s not every day that I read a murder mystery set in a quirky town that not many people have heard of and with a brewery. It sounded promising. Even though it was a cozy, it had a little more on an edge with some of the themes which I liked a lot. It wasn’t your traditional cozy but it wasn’t so ‘racy’ to be deemed something other than a cozy. It was charming and yet enticing all the same.

The mystery was a fast read and I found myself intrigued by not only the characters but the setting. Everything about this book worked together to create a unique hybrid of genres.

I loved Sloan. There was an edge to her that made he not quite fit in with the other characters or townspeople, but yet she wasn’t a completely odd duck. There were many comical moments in this book and a few times I actually laughed out loud. I love when a murder mystery gives me a little dosing of humor with it.

The only complaint that I had about this one was there was a TON of information on beer. I felt like I was getting a crash course in beer and brewing. Which on one hand was informative and interesting but on the other hand, I felt like this isn’t a story about beer, it’s a murder mystery. I think the basics would have been plenty for the average reader. At times I felt like the knowledge and background eclipsed some of the plot points. For a mystery that was so fast and enjoyable, it was frustrating when the beer facts started to take over.

I have no idea how the author decided to have a mystery set in Leavenworth, but I thought it worked well in this story. It was different and gave an element of charm to the novel. I personally have never been to Leavenworth but I’ve heard enough about it from family members and friends who have visited at Christmas (multiple times) to understand the culture of the town and this book just highlighted the town in a new way for me. I want to visit it now more than ever.

This novel is a great opener to what looks to be a promising new series. I don’t know that I loved every single aspect of the story, such as all the beer references, but I liked it enough to keep reading and am looking forward to see the direction the characters take in the next book!

Book: Death on Tap (A Sloan Krause Mystery #1) by Ellie Alexander 

  • Hardcover, 320 pages
    Published October 3rd 2017 by Minotaur Books
    ISBN 1250108632 (ISBN13: 9781250108630)
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 3.5 out of 5

Genre: cozy mystery, mystery

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