Friday, July 24, 2020

From Beer to Eternity (Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery, #1) by Sherry Harris

From Beer to Eternity (Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery #1)From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A smart children’s librarian solves this cozy mystery set in paradise!

Before Chloe Jackson’s best friend, Boone, deployed to Afghanistan, he had her promise him that should anything happen to him; she would take care of his grandmother, Vivi. He added the stipulation that she couldn’t tell his grandmother that this was his final wish. So when a sniper’s bullet took his life, Chloe took a leave of absence from her job as a children’s librarian in Chicago, loaded up a few things in her hand-me-down VW beetle, and headed to Emerald Cove, Florida, to keep her promise.

Chloe’s expectation of caring for a sweet, little, gray-haired lady quickly evaporated when she met the actual Vivi who turned out to be the vibrant, independent, feisty, 70-something-year-old, hell-on-heels owner of the Sea Glass Saloon right there on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. Grandma Vivi certainly didn’t seem to need, and definitely didn’t want any help from Chloe, and in fact, appeared to dislike her on sight! But Chloe persevered and starts waitressing at the bar to help Vivi and her one employee, Joaquin, out, all the while sleeping in her car or aboard Boone’s tiny boat moored at the nearby marina and hunting for a needle in a haystack: an affordable rental at the height of tourist season.

Just as Chloe is getting this waitressing thing down, she discovers the body of one of their regular patrons out back by the dumpster with one of the bar knives stuck in his throat. And when suspicion falls immediately on Vivi and, seemingly, no one else, Chloe begins to question all the suspects that the police are overlooking. She knows she’s on to something when she’s almost run off a bridge one night, and then someone tries to set fire to Boone’s cottage where she ends up staying. But, even though she wants to pack up and return to Chicago, she believes a promise is a promise and becomes more determined than ever to clear Vivi’s name and find the real killer.

From Beer to Eternity is the first book in the new series, Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon, by author Sherry Harris. While dealing with issues of grief and loss, it is still a fun and exciting start to the series. Chloe is so likable! She’s smart and kind and is quite a sympathetic character as she goes through quite a lot making good on her promise to her best friend (and that’s before she finds the dead body!) I enjoyed the ways she used her skills as a children’s librarian to gain her footing in the unfamiliar bar setting and her comparison of toddlers at the library and the bar patrons. I was ready to sign up for either a course in library science or bartending!

Because she was a total stranger to the community (like a reader is), her investigations really begin at ground zero, and I liked that. We were both discovering clues at the same pace. She had to ferret out all the hidden history in Emerald Cove herself. And speaking of Emerald Cove, I wanted to make a reservation for a vacation there; it sounds ideal.

All in all, the mystery was logical and plausible with bad guys we immediately knew were up to no good and secret villain lurking behind the scenes and a façade of gracious kindness and a smile for Chloe to uncover in the nick of time. I highly recommend this book to cozy mystery readers and those that like the beachy-bar setting in a paradise of a vacation spot, and those that enjoy a smart librarian as the protagonist.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy. #FromBeertoEternity #NetGalley

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