Mug Shot by Caroline Fardigby Caroline Fardig

ebook, 292 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Alibi
4.5 Stars

Synopsis: Former musician Juliet Langley has barely had a day off since taking over management of the coffeehouse owned by her best friend, Pete Bennett. But there’s always more to be done—such as prepping for the annual Holiday 5K Race organized by Pete’s snobby socialite girlfriend, Cecilia Hollingsworth. This year, Java Jive has a booth right at the finish line, and since Juliet and Cecilia don’t always see eye to eye, everything has to be perfect. Nothing can go wrong. Nothing . . . like Juliet stumbling over Cecilia’s dead body on the morning of the race.

When Pete is arrested for Cecilia’s murder, Juliet sets out to clear his name. She’ll do whatever it takes—even if it means standing up to the police, her ex-boyfriend, and the grande dames of Nashville. But there isn’t enough espresso in the world for the greatest challenge in her path: infiltrating Nashville’s high society to uncover the hidden hotbed of scandal without running afoul of the law herself. With her last dime staked on Pete’s bail bond and her staff growing jittery, the last thing Juliet needs is for her trademark temper to land her behind bars. As time drips away, Juliet needs to crack this case before the killer comes back for another shot.

My Review: In our second visit to Java Jive, we see Juliet single as she and Ryder split up at the end of the first book. Pete is once again dating Cecilia, and she and Juliet still can not stand one another. Juliet is dating Stan, Cecelia’s brother and the opening of the book has them all at a funeral and wake for Stan and Cecilia’s grandmother. When Cecilia is found murdered in the tent that Java Jive is using to sell cookies at the 5K fundraiser, Pete is not only suspected of the murder, but is actually arrested. Juliet is beside herself that her best friend is in jail and will do everything in her power to find the real killer and get Pete released. She puts herself in danger when she begins poking around in things that are none of her business. The rich have money to hire excellent lawyers and if and when they get in trouble, they tend to get out of jail quickly, not so with Pete.

The characters we met in the first book are back in another great story. The humorous and witty dialogue, mixed with romantic tension, and a puzzling mystery make this a book that I quickly read. Juliet is a wonderful heroine, she reminds me a bit of Stephanie Plumb from the Janet Evanovich books. She is humorous, constantly justifying her actions to herself and others and so loyal and loving to her friends it is impossible not to root for her and like her. The mystery-suspense elements have an emotional twist this time with Gertie and Juliet worried about Pete, she does things without thinking because she can not live without him. There are so many suspects in this one with twists and turns that I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end.

I think cozy mystery readers will enjoy getting to know Juliet, also known as The Redheaded She-Devil or Scooby, and all her friends at the Java Jive. This series is well written and extremely entertaining.