Roast Date, by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press, 2022)
Macy Hatfield is a good friend and a good neighbour. So she can’t help but get involved to try to clear her neighbour Vera’s name after a woman is found dead in Vera’s home. Especially since there’s no family around to help… and Christmas is coming.
The Christmas activities fit into the story to add atmosphere without feeling tacked on like they do in some books. There are cookies, carols, presents, and a visit to a Christmas tree farm. It would be a good book to read any time of year, but I enjoyed reading it mid-December.
The Barks & Beans Café Mystery Series is perfect for readers who like a fun, clean read with engaging characters… and pets. The stories aren’t fluff, but neither are they deep and brooding. Adult siblings Macy and Bo make a good team—both in the café and in solving the mysteries that keep coming their way. And of course Coal, the gorgeous Great Dane pictured on all the book covers, is a treat in his own right.
I always enjoy a virtual trip to the Barks & Beans Café to discover what’s on the menu and to see the interaction with the shelter dogs. Macy’s friend Summer brings them for café patrons to visit and hopefully adopt.
Roast Date is book 7 in the series and I think it’s one of the best. New readers could begin here and not feel lost. Doing so would give some minor spoilers for earlier books.
It’s a good series to read from the beginning, though, as the characters’ relationships do develop and there’s a behind-the-scenes villain who shows up from time to time. (Each mystery is self-contained and fully solved at the end of each book.)
This one ends with a hint of trouble to come in book 8, Shade Grown, which will release in 2023.
Heather Day Gilbert’s books range from clean mainstream cozy mysteries to Christian romantic suspense to Viking historicals. For more about the author and her work, visit heatherdaygilbert.com.
[Review copy provided by the publisher. My opinions are my own.]