Shot in the Dark, by Cleo Coyle is the 17th book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series. I have been in love with this series since it started back in 2003. This is one of those I don’t want to end. Let me tell you why.
The Setting Description
The descriptions in the books are very well written. There is enough detail to where you feel the energy of the city, and think you can see what is going on. And yet there isn’t so much that you was to jump paragraphs to get back to the story.
The characters have been developed over the series. They are growing, not just being the same in each book. My favorites?
Matteo Allegro is one jerk that you hate and love at the same time. He’s protective of his family, but a bit smothering.
Detective Franco of the police force is coming into his own. He’s in love with Claire and Matteo’s daughter. Matteo wants nothing to do with that! He is trying to do the right thing, but sometimes people just get in the way.
The baristas Dante and Esther are the best. They are recurring characters that are creative, alive, fun, and you want to be their friends.
And let’s not forget the stars, Claire and Mike. Anyone who has read a single episode of this series can see they belong together. But Cleo Coyle is not pushing them together right away, she’s dragging out the tension in the romance.
The dialogue for each character is unique. No two talk the same. No two are mirror images. Even without dialogue tags, you can usually tell who is speaking, because of the quirks and such of the characters. They sounded like real people from all walks of life.
What I liked about this plot is that it isn’t a rehash of the other plots. The backstory is not the same in each of the books either. So you aren’t hearing the same story over and over again.
The one thing I liked about this plot, is Mike (Claire’s fiancé) kind of took a back seat in the story. Most cozies you have the amateur sleuth and the police hooking up together all the time. But Cleo Coyle did this one different. The amateur sleuth took control of the situation. Most of the cops were taking a back seat to her sleuthing. Which makes you want to root for the sleuth more. Come on, girl, you can solve this on your own!
The plot had serious depth to it. It wasn’t just 5 people, one dog and a cat as suspects. The story, and its subplots were well thought out, were interconnected, and made for some serious thinking of what was going on.
The red herrings and clues were on the money. There were enough of each to make me keep changing my mind about who the killer was. The killer was a surprise to me, but as soon as things started getting explained, I had the “ah ha” moment. There was no, ‘what do you mean?’ or ‘that doesn’t sound right!’ questions.
The one thing I gritted my teeth at was the subplot between Franco and Joy. The man is a police detective. I automatically thought he was undercover, but both Joy and Claire thought he might be cheating. No!!!!
FYI, each of Cleo Coyle’s books have recipes. And we aren’t talking just desserts. Simple, fancy, main course, dessert, even drinks!
And yes, I did test one of the recipes in this book, as I try to in all culinary mysteries. I made the Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones with Vanilla Lemon Glaze. Yum!
You can read my post that show the list of all the novels in the series, as well as some basic background here.
And check out Cleo’s website here.
I have never had one of these books I didn’t like. I’m pretty tough on giving 5 stars, but this one definitely earned a 5 star review from me!