Book Review: Death Before Decaf (A Java Jive Mystery, #1) by Caroline Fardig

Death Before Decaf  is the first book in the Java Jive Mystery series by Caroline Fardig. After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over.  The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.

Death Before Decaf  is a cozy mystery that has great characters and depth, which is not always true of the genre. There is a huge backstory here, a=one that we get bits and pieces of through out the story, and which adds to the atmosphere and character development. I liked Juliet from the beginning, she has faced some serious issues in the recent past and is working hard to move on with her life and find some peace and happiness. She is a little traumatized and cautious, but when the first week of a new life includes butting heads with staff and finding a dead body, well it is understandable. I would like to find out more about Juliet’s musical past, but I expect that to come like the rest of her past as the series continues. I liked Peter, and the tension between them as well. However I have to say that there were moments when I wanted to kick them both for being blind. Even in the beginning of the story readers are well aware they love each other, and have from the beginning, but both are too stubborn or scared to do anything about it. 

Death Before Decaf  is a engaging and entertaining read. I really enjoyed it and avoided other important things like sleep or cooking dinner so that I could keep on reading. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Mug Shot, which I have a galley request in for on Netgalley so hopefully I will be reading it soon.
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