Death Before Decaf (A Java Jive Mystery #1)

deathcover72120-mediumAuthor: Caroline Fardig

Publisher: Random House – Alibi

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: Publisher & Amazon

Type: Novel in a Series

Provided by Publisher


Blurb: After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.

The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.


Review: This was a confusing, heady hot mess of a mystery that I suspect I didn’t have enough coffee for! It took me for a ride and then some, but it was funny and bittersweet so I’m signing up for the next one…just so I can find out what happens between two of the characters. I feel like I’ve invested some time in these people–know what I mean?  Sometimes you read about characters and after you’re through, you forget them. But these guys are still in there, percolating a little–I need to find out what’s next. And Cecilia? She’s a bitch and I’m hoping she has some trouble down the road that I get to see…

It’s your classic love triangle. Juliet has always wanted Pete but he’s never seen her that way–or at least to our knowledge, though we get some hints that might not be exactly true. When her stage fright gets out of hand and her music career has left her, as well as her ex with all her cash and belongings, she returns to Nashville and good old Pete for a job selling joe in his dad’s cafe, Java Jive.

Pete’s all grown up but is unfortunately hooked up to their old friend Cecilia, who hates Jules for all she’s worth. But that didn’t stop their friendship or Pete’s jealousy when Jules gets hit on by handsome Vanderbilt professor of media, Seth Davis. When one of the cooks at the Java Jive gets killed, Jules is lucky enough not only to be the one that finds him but also the last person who fought with him. We have a suspect! Sure that the police aren’t going to investigate enough, Juliet sets out to “help,” which gets her into trouble with both the police and Pete.

What’s a girl got to do to get a break?

I laughed a lot, was confused a lot, but ultimately kept reading because I liked these characters and wanted to know what happened. It was funny and sweet and if you like books similar in feel to the Stephanie Plum series, minus the goodfellas and a lot of exploding cars, this is for you. A great, settle in your seat and read on a Saturday afternoon romantic suspense with a lot of great atmosphere and humor.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.