A Grave Roast is the first book in the new paranormal cozy mystery series, Orchard Hollow, by author A.N. Sage, and with its delightful main characters, cute small town, and unique “world,” I hope we’re in for a long run of follow-up adventures!
Piper Addison is very likable as the new proprietor of her own coffee café, Bean Me Up, although she’s lived in the town all her life. I liked that she’s a mature woman (not quite 40 yet) and is open to finding a new romance after experiencing some real duds in her past. She’s fun, and her less-than-proficient magic use had me laughing. Even though she was not friends per se with the victim, she was still compassionate enough to pursue looking into what happened and why he reached out to her (whether the police had her as a suspect or not!) I liked that she has quite a unique familiar, although I’m not quite a Stella fan. And I was completely taken by surprise and enjoyed how her furry nemesis, Harry Houdini, also gets involved and gets his point of view aired.
The author’s writing style is easy to read, very pleasing, and well-paced. I was immediately engaged by the story and the descriptions of the town with both water and mountains in view and enjoyed getting a real feel for the shops on Cliff Row and their owners. In other books, this initial reveal of the population of the cozy mystery town often gets overwhelming and tedious, but happily, that did not occur here; it was very natural and simply accomplished. Of course, my favorite spot in town is Brooks Books!
The town exists on top of an accumulation of ley lines, so many supernatural or paranormal types have congregated in Orchard Hollow to call it home. I found it a unique twist that their magical abilities are not made public knowledge even with each other. It’s personal and only shared with those one trusts. The fact that there are supernatural beings there is no secret, though, and even the humans are aware of their existence. I did like the idea of the coven of “mean girl” witches, even those Piper was their frequent target.
With its unusual supernatural world, engaging and unique main characters, and solid puzzle to resolve, I recommend A GRAVE ROAST to cozy mystery readers who enjoy a paranormal element in their stories.RAVE ROAST to cozy mystery readers who enjoy a paranormal element in their stories.
A.N. spends her free time reading and binge-watching television shows in her pajamas. Currently, she resides in Toronto, Canada with her husband who is not a creature of the night and their daughter who just might be.
A.N. Sage is a Scorpio and a massive advocate of leggings for pants.