Book Review: The Pint of No Return (Sloane Krause #2) by Ellie Alexander


The Pint of No Return
Ellie Alexander
Title: The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander

Rating: 4 stars (🌟🌟🌟🌟)

Publisher: Minotaur Books

The autumn fairs and Oktoberfests that I usually headed off to in autumn with my family weren't happening in 2020. That doesn't at all change the fact that I was in that mode and so I went on a hunt for some thematic cozy mysteries. I found Sloan Krause in a short novella Trouble Is Brewing where she's introduced to readers while helping baker, Jules Capshaw, solve a keg theft. I have some of the baker books on my TBR but Sloan living in Leavenworth WA really captured my attention so I bought this to read immediately.

Leavenworth is a whole Bavarian-themed town and in this installment, Oktoberfest is just beginning. The hamlet of 2000, is about to be inundated with tourists to enjoy all the brats, beer and as many reels of the Chicken Dance they can stand. Add in a blaze of foliage, strings of twinkling lights, pastries, schnitzel and murder and this was an engaging and enjoyable read. Sloan Krause is a likeable sleuth. She's trying to get her life back on track while being a mother in the midst of a divorce from a cheating husband, working at Nitro, a small brewer (the first job she's had outside of her husband's family brewery Der Keller in about 20 years) and of course, is having some feelings that aren't strictly professional, for her boss, Garrett. There's also the not so small matter of her ongoing search for her birth parents which, as the story progresses, is getting more mysterious. If she's found to be a secret Contessa or hidden heiress to some storied family's fortune (related to beer or perfume because she's got a Nose), I wouldn't be surprised.

Also descending onto the town is a film crew making a documentary on beer and brewers. They're a somewhat interesting bunch but the most obnoxious is the host, Mitchell. The murder takes place at the end of Chapter 6 so there was a good amount of story to go in which to puzzle out the clues and solution, which was great. Sloan didn't talk with the people I most wanted to hear from until the end so that put up a bit of a red flag for me as to the culprit but it didn't diminish the story. I liked all of the characters as they fit their parts well. April was a real standout and while she was not likable, she was a necessary character to have around. I liked Sloan's moment of charitable thought about April also. I liked Chief Myers. I wanted to see more of her and liked that she didn't have an adversarial relationship with Sloan. Garrett is perfectly anodyne and just what I expect of would-be love interests in cozies. I liked that he's a scientist and has neat tee shirts. I do hope Sloan's son, Alex gets to be around more in future books. He's a sweet kid. And Kat is just a ball of bouncing positive energy so I was glad that she's staying on at Nitro. I hope to see more of Lisa and her real estate ventures, since it seems they will cross with April's.

I should say that I'm not a beer drinker but I did find all the brewer information interesting (and there was a lot of it). It showed that the writer and the main character cared about the craft. I was able to appreciate that and had fun reading some of the beer descriptions to my husband (the in house beer drinker). I was more drawn to the food and there's a vegetable soup Sloan makes that I highlit and will be riffing because it sounded delightful for an autumn meal.

I'll likely read the next (Beyond a Reasonable Stout) soon. It's still autumn in Leavenworth and set during election season and obviously, thematically perfect for the moment. Recommended.

Summary:  No other festival compares to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington. The whole town is buzzing with excitement over this year’s activities and eagerly awaiting Nitro’s latest offering Cherrywizen, made with locally sourced cherries. But local brewmaster Sloan Krause is tapped out. Between trying to manage the pub, her pending divorce with Mac, and her mounting feelings for Garrett, she’s fermenting in internal turmoil.

To complicate matters, dreamy movie star Mitchell Morgan and his production crew have arrived in the village to film during the authentic Bavarian brewfest. Mitchell has his eye on Sloan and a taste for Nitro’s Cherrywizen. Sloan escapes his advances for good when she finds Mitchell slumped over the bar. Is this a case of one pint too many, or has Mitchell been murdered by microbrew?

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