Live and Let Grind, a Coffee Lover’s Mystery
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Live and Let Grind
Devil’s Beach is percolating with a hot murder case, and reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis could be the next to get beaned in Tara Lush’s third Coffee Lover’s mystery, perfect for fans of Cleo Coyle and Lucy Burdette.
Laid-off journalist Lana Lewis is thriving as the proprietor of Perkatory, a coffee shop on quirky Devil’s Beach island, Florida. She’s juggling a relationship with police chief Noah Garcia, enjoying the company of her best friend, Erica, and relishing the companionship of her golden Shih Tzu, Stanley. Only problem is her neighbor, Gus, who incessantly uses his leaf blower, disturbing everyone in the neighborhood. Lana has learned to tune it out, but Erica’s rage boils over and she confronts Gus.
Then Gus is found dead, killed when his leaf blower explodes. Erica immediately becomes suspect number one. But there are plenty of other candidates as well: Gus’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Honey Bailey, who thinks she’ll be written out of his will; Mickey Dotson and Doug Beck, who were scalded financially after purchasing a pirate-themed tourist cruise business from Gus; and plenty of angry neighbors who’ve had run-ins with him.
As the clock ticks down will Lana get someone to spill the beans on the killer so she can clear her friend’s name, or will Erica go to jail for a crime she didn’t commit?
Live and Let Grind (A Coffee Lover’s Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Florida
Crooked Lane Books (October 11, 2022)
Hardcover : 320 pages
ISBN-10 : 1639101128
ISBN-13 : 978-1639101122
Digital ASIN : B09Q877DDS
To purchase Live and Let Grind, click on any of the following links: Amazon, BARNES AND NOBLE, APPLE, KOBO, INDIEBOUND & GOOGLE PLAY
Guest Post by Tara Lush — Music in Live and Let Grind
Music plays a big role in my Coffee Lover’s Mystery series.
When I started my first book, Grounds for Murder, I knew that I wanted music to be part of the story to evoke a time and a place for the readers. I always make playlists for books that I write.
My main character, Lana Lewis, is a millennial. I am not a millennial — far from it, in fact. While I’m hip to some new music trends (do people even say hip these days?), I’m definitely not the expert I once was back in 1989.
So I decided to make Lana a millennial who loves 70s and 80s music, the tunes of her parents’ generation. She especially enjoys “Yacht Rock,” which is the soft rock that dominated the radio airwaves back in those decades. You know, artists like Jimmy Buffett, Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers. Nothing too brash. The songs are easy, breezy, and perfect to play in a café across the street from a Florida beach.
Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” is one of the classics in that genre. And while I wasn’t a big fan of it back in the day, when I relistened to it while writing my latest book, Live and Let Grind, I discovered that it’s actually an amazing jam.
You can easily picture being on vacation in the Sunshine State and hearing some smooth tunes coming from a beach bar or a coffee shop. Sipping an iced latte or a frothy cocktail while listening to a hybrid of synth-pop and smooth jazz evokes memories of Miami Vice, doesn’t it?
As a Florida resident, I joke that it’s the law that everyone who lives here must know all the words to “Margaritaville” within a month of arrival. Since my series is set in Florida, this seemed like the perfect music for them to listen to.
Lana is a huge fan of Fleetwood Mac, and plays it in Perkatory, her beachfront café. Her parents met at a Fleetwood Mac concert, and many of the songs — like “Landslide” — remind her of her late mother.
There is one music-centered mystery in Live and Let Grind. Lana’s father, an old hippie who usually loves The Grateful Dead, begins listening to Electronic Dance Music. Lana hates the throbbing club beats that remind her of her old life in Miami. She’s not sure if her father is having a midlife crisis or what, but she’s determined to get him to stop playing it in the café. It’s a bit of comic relief while the father-daughter duo investigate a murder.
Here’s an excerpt of Lana, her shih tzu Stanley, and her dad in Live and Let Grind.
# # #
Erica, my barista, closed her mouth, then opened it again, but before any words came out, the music abruptly changed. One minute Don Henley was singing about the end of innocence, and the next there was a heavy bass beat, synthesized riffs, and what sounded like a guy grunting “oh yeah” over and over.
“What is that?” Erica whispered. “It sounds like someone’s jackhammering inside my head.”
“I feel like I’m in a cheap club in Miami.” The song changed to a rhythmic beat, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Doug bob his head in time with the music. I turned my back to him and grimaced at Erica. “This is the kind of music Dad was listening to last night when I called him.”
She visibly winced. “Might want to talk to him about that.”
Nodding, I toted Stanley into the back room, praying that no one from the health department was in the café. Dad was washing his hands.
“Hey there, I have some wicked gossip for you.” He lathered up. One thing Dad was diligent about was hygiene. And gossip.
“Uh, cool, but I need to ask you something. Did you change the satellite radio station?”
He turned the water off with his elbow and reached for a paper towel, his eyes glittering. “Yes, this is Diplo’s Revolution. Don’t you love it? I’ve been listening to this a lot lately. Don’t you dig the beat?”
I stroked Stanley’s fur. I very much did not dig the beat and found it headache inducing. But I was leaving, and if that was what Dad, Erica, and Barbara wanted to listen to, I guess it was okay. “Make sure the customers don’t mind. They’re usually pretty pleased with the yacht rock.”
“Sure, sure. Now listen. About Gus.”
I rifled through my backpack and found a leash for Stanley. “What about him?”
“Apparently, he and Honey had some troubles. They were separated. I told you that. But it turns out he had a girlfriend too.”
I rolled my eyes. “What, he wanted someone even younger?” It was difficult to hide the snark, because I was a bit salty about older men who paired up with much younger women. My ex-husband—now a bigshot TV news reporter in Miami—had left me for a twenty-two-year-old.
“No, that’s the thing. He left her for one of the women who works at the library. She’s his age.”
I clipped the leash onto Stanley’s collar. When I stood, he immediately tried to climb my leg. “Well, that’s a twist.”
“Yep. And I’m hearing Honey isn’t all that sad about Gus’s death. Apparently she was skating by the beach today.”
I scrunched up my nose. “How do you know those things?” “Well, it’s the leader of the crystal bowl group. You know, Abe?”
“Abe. No. Don’t know him.”
“He’s a mystic. His wife, Ethel, is an astrologer.”
“A mystic? Dad, come on. What even is that?” Sometimes Dad was a bit much, trusting in people I thought were total crackpots. As far as I knew, he wasn’t giving them his life savings, but thank- fully now that I was back on Devil’s Beach, I could keep a close eye on the situation as Dad got older.
“A mystic’s similar to a light worker.”
I snorted. “Okay, whatever. That tells me nothing.”
“Abe knows a lot about the people in the group. About their auras. He was something of a father figure to Honey.”
“I’ll bet he was.” Sarcasm dripped from my tone. “Anyway. We’re leaving so Stanley can do his business. We’re going to take a little stroll to that new pet food store down the street, and then we’ll be back for the bike.” My bicycle had a deep basket in front for Stanley, and he loved riding with me.
“Sounds great, munchkin.” Dad gave me a kiss on the cheek as he passed by, tickling me with his beard. Now that I thought about it, he looked a little like a thin Santa Claus. Or an extremely fit Jerry Garcia. “Your beard’s getting a little long,” I called out. “And so is your hair. You look like a hippie.”
“Make love, not war, man,” he cried as he loped out.
Tara Lush — Author of Live and Let Grind
Tara Lush is a Rita Award finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and a George C. Polk Award winning journalist.
For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with the Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics.
She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. A fan of vintage pulp-fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, and 1980s fashion, she lives with her husband and two dogs on the Gulf coast.
To learn more about Tara, click on any of the following links: WEBSITE, FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM & GOODREADS
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