Death on Tap (A Sloan Krause Mystery #1)
by Ellie Alexander
From Ellie Alexander, beloved author of the Bakeshop Mysteries, comes the first in an intoxicating new series: Death on Tap.
When Sloan Krause walks in on her husband, Mac, screwing the barmaid, she gives him the boot. Sloan has spent her life in Leavenworth, Washington becoming an expert in brewing craft beer, and she doesn’t have time to be held back by her soon-to-be ex-husband. She decides to strike out on her own, breaking away from the Krause family brewery, and goes to work for Nitro, the hip new nano-brewery in the Bavarian-themed town. Nitro’s owner, brewmaster Garrett Strong, has the brew-world abuzz with his newest recipe, “Pucker-Up IPA.” This place is the new cool place in town, and Mac can’t help but be green with envy at their success.
But just as Sloan is settling in to her new gig, she finds one of Nitro’s competitors dead in the fermenting tub, clutching the secret recipe for the IPA. When Mac, is arrested, Sloan knows that her ex might be a cheater, but a murderer? No way. Danger is brewing in Beervaria and suddenly Sloan is on the case.
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Death on Tap is an exciting book in Ellie Alexander's new Sloan Krause Mystery series. I really enjoyed the setting and small, hometowny feel that Ms. Alexander pens in her new series. Setting up Sloan's ex-husband to take the fall for a competitor's murder, the author takes the reader along for a twisted and dangerous ride. As Sloane encounters many people who could be the murderer, she discovers that the sweet German-eque town in which she lives harbors residents with secrets.
I really enjoyed the multiple threads woven into this story. It's not just a murder mystery. In fact, the murder happens a little later in the book than what I'm used to reading - and that's okay. We get to see the author develop the main characters and do a lot of world building in order to make the cheating, murder, and other events tie in together properly. I love Sloan's character. She's strong and doesn't put up with Mac's infidelity. She gets along with almost everyone in the book. For the sake of their son, Sloan even works on finding the real killer. She knows Mac, even though he betrayed her, did not kill anyone.
The cheating husband angle demonstrates how cheating on a spouse doesn't just affect the couple but everyone around them - including their children, friends, and other family members alike. There is a genuine emotional connection between Sloan and her in-laws and we get to see what happens when a divorce is imminent. The fact that Sloan and Mac have a 15 year old son also plays into the relationship between Sloan and her in-laws. I just like the way the author takes a bad situation and doesn't necessarily destroy other relationships.
I was very engaged in the story. The murder mystery kept me guessing. Sloan's history with the foster system, another thread woven in, provides a lot of insight on her character. The brewery aspect was interesting to me as a Michigander where breweries and microbreweries are popping up all over (https://www.michigan.org/breweries#?c=44.4299:-85.1166:6&tid=62&page=0&pagesize=20&pagetitle=Breweries). I found the entire book to be well thought out with wonderful pacing.
I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
I was given a hardcover copy to read.