Once Upon a GrindOnce Upon A Grind by Cleo Coyle is the 14th book in the “Coffeehouse” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2014

When coffeehouse manager turned amateur sleuth Clare Cosi roasts “magic” beans for a Fairy Tale Fall event, she brews up a vision that leads to a sleeping beauty in Central Park; a big, bad wolf of Wall Street; and an East Side enclave with storybook secrets…

Fairy tale fever has descended on New York City. Broadway fans are flocking to Red Riding Hood: The Musical; museums are exhibiting art inspired by the Brothers Grimm; and Clare Cosi and her merry band of baristas give their coffee truck a “Jack and the Beanstalk” makeover for a Central Park festival. Clare’s coffee hunter ex-husband contributes a bag of African beans with alleged magical properties. His octogenarian mother entertains customers with readings of the grinds, but Clare remains skeptical–until she receives a vision that helps her find a young model’s body in the park’s woods.

The police dismiss “sleeping beauty” as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a list of suspects–from a New York Giant to quite a few wicked witches–and a cold case murder that reaches back to the Cold War. Now Clare is really in the woods with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming Club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending.

What can I say? The team of Cleo Coyle has done it again by delivering a fast-paced drama that was hard to put down as I had to know what happens next. This riveting page-turner is filled with tales of intrigue, suspense, a touch of espionage and a mystery that left me salivating for answers as the story moved toward a conclusion percolating with exciting new possibilities. The solid plot device used was brilliantly executed that put me right in the middle of all the non-stop action contained within the pages of this intoxicating narrative with key appearances by the Madame, the Quinn children and some of Clare’s fellow baristas. Clare makes amateur sleuthing easy in this entertaining read that engages you from beginning to end. I can’t wait to see where the story takes us in the next book in this tantalizingly appealing series. Bonus recipes are included.

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