Book Review: Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig

This poor book. It had been on my list to read for awhile, but I kept shifting it back in favor of books that would be published sooner. Finally I committed to reading it, and though it was originally described to me as a cozy mystery, which isn’t usually my thing, it ended up being a cute, fun read.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
After a coffee shop worker is murdered, the woman hired to save the shop from closing and the owner, her long time best friend, set out to find the killer. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
There were a lot of funny moments in this book, some of them absolutely absurd, including a funeral scene that was straight out of some hardcore redneck reality TV show. The widow of the murder victim was fairly trashy, and I couldn’t help picturing her as Jennifer Coolidge (who I love, but who would play that part perfectly).

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I enjoyed Juliet, who seems self aware of most of her downfalls, yet secure enough in herself to continue chasing a mystery even when she gets in over her head. My problem with other cozies I’ve read has been that the heroine annoys me, but that wasn’t the case in this book.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
The people in cozy mysteries never know what’s going on, and in this case, I felt like they had failed to read a news article since…ever. During the course of the story, there are very obvious identity theft signs, and yet no one seems to pick up on these. I couldn’t tell if they were really clueless or just being snarkily obtuse.

The Romance Factor
It’s hard to classify this as a romance when the heroine is sleeping with a guy other than the one you want her to be with. I know other readers were all about the mysterious guy of the love triangle, but I was rooting for her to hook up with Pete, her bestie, who she obviously had feelings for. In both cases, there were subtle hints of romance, but it definitely took second place to the mystery aspect of the novel. 2/5

The Steam Factor
Sexy times were talked about, but for the most part, this was all closed door. 1/5

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Final Thoughts
There is definitely paved way for another book in this series, and I can honestly say that I’m not entirely sure how things are going to pan out for Juliet with regards to her love life. This was a fun read and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book.

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