Review of Without A Brew by Ellie Alexander

I haven’t been waiting too long to read this book… just since last October! At least I can suay it was well worth the wait. This series is definitely one of my favourites and now I’ll be impatiently awaiting the next one.

Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into a murderous winter wonderland in another delightful mystery from cozy writer Ellie Alexander, Without a Brew.

It’s winter in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, which for local brewmaster Sloan Krause means lots of layers, pine and citrus-flavored craft beers, and getting the new guest rooms at Nitro into pristine condition before visitors flood in for IceFest—a local tradition filled with fireworks, ice carving, and winter games of all varieties. But Sloan and her boss Garrett quickly learn that being brewkeepers turned innkeepers may not be as idyllic as it sounded.

While one couple staying with them seems completely smitten, a flashy group arrives in the evening demanding rooms. Sloan and Garrett are less than impressed, but agree to rent to them anyway. The night takes a turn when brewery patron Liv Paxton finishes her frothy pint and, with no previous plan for an overnight stay in Leavenworth, eagerly takes Sloan up on the offer of sanctuary from the snow—until she has a strange run in with some locals and the other guests. Sloan could be imagining things, but when Liv’s room is found trashed the next morning, a hateful message painted on her car, and Liv herself is nowhere to be found, Sloan is convinced another mystery is brewing. With many of the potential suspects hunkering down under Nitro’s roof, she knows her co-workers and friends won’t be safe until she serves up the killer a hoppy pint of justice.

Thanks to NetGalley for my copy of Without a Brew in exchange for an honest opinion.

Available on Amazon.

  • Publication Date : November 10, 2020
  • Print Length : 304 pages
  • Publisher : Minotaur Books

One of my favourite elements is the setting for this series. It’s such a part of the story and the people you encounter within the pages. Every time I read one of these books I’m dying to get a taste of the beers, like the fruit-forward ales and sweet strawberry pilsners. Interwoven (very well) with the story we see how craft brewing works from the chemistry to the marketing process. Each book brings new and interesting details.

Of course, if you’re not excited about the world of micro brewing, you can simply enjoy Leavenworth with its Bavarian charm. In this installment, it’s just after Christmas but the snowfall and special winter lighting add a festive cheer… except for that pesky murder business.

Who killed out-of-towner, Liv? It’s so odd that in this small place with random strangers, quite a few people seem to recognize her. Sloan gets to sleuthing when Liv’s body turns up and the police chief asks her to keep ears and eyes open. There are numerous suspects from obnoxious bed and breakfast guests to an old friend and even a random couple with a past link. While opportunities seem evident, what are the motives? To find the truth, Sloan will have to look harder and ask some difficult questions. There are enough clues and red herrings to get you fully involved in the case.

The other big secondary storyline is the truth behind Sloan’s placement in the foster care system, as a child. Her old case worker, Sally, had concerns in the past and now has proof that things weren’t kosher with Sloan’s case. Unfortunately some of that ‘proof’ casts shadowy light on Sloan’s ex in-laws and only true family she’s ever known. As much as I like Sloan, I found her actions and thoughts to be highly judgmental and unfair towards people who had only ever shown her love and kindness. Her situation is difficult and she really grapples with it, so I’ll cut her some slack. However, every piece of this puzzle makes for an intriguing series arc!

Overall, this is an awesome series. Easily one of my favourites and I look forward to continuing! I give Without A Brew 4.5 espresso shots.

3 thoughts on “Review of Without A Brew by Ellie Alexander

Add yours

  1. yes! excellent review, Nina. you so nail some of the cogent points and more of my thoughts. it is so atmospheric, i think just the town alone is beautifully crafted–let alone the beers–and i’m still not a beer drinker. however, i found her reaction a bit strong as well, as we agreed, a bit much for people who’d become mom and pop to her. she needs to chill along with the beer. (i wouldn’t know, but they say chilled is best.)

    Liked by 1 person

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