News Article

French Roast.

By Sandra Balzo

Dec. 2022. 208p. Severn, $29.99 (9781448306732); e-book (9781448306770)

Coffeehouse owner and amateur sleuth Maggy Thorsen’s newest adventure takes her on a wild trip. Her barista, Amy Caprese, has a French boyfriend, Jacque Oui, an older man who owns a failing supermarket. He also has two ex-wives, one dead and one, Paulette, who suddenly shows up in sleepy Brookhills, Wisconsin. Then it turns out Paulette may still be married to Jacque, a revelation that sends Amy off to her therapist. Shady entrepreneur Jamie Bright wants to buy Jacque’s store, but Jacque is determined to keep it. When a mysterious fire starts in the store and two bodies are discovered in the ruins, Maggy’s fiancé, Pavlik, the town sheriff, investigates. Maggy and her business partner get involved to support Amy, and they uncover a tangled web of relationships that extend back to Jacque’s past in France. Balzo's latest (following The Big Steep, 2022) will keep readers on their toes as they track the many characters and plot turns.

Solid cozy fare.

 — Barbara Bibel