From Beer to Eternity by Sherry Harris
A whip smart librarian’s fresh start comes with a tart twist in this perfect cocktail of murder and mystery—with a romance chaser.
MURDER ON TAP
With Chicago winters in the rearview mirror, Chloe Jackson is making good on a promise: help her late friend’s grandmother run the Sea Glass Saloon in the Florida Panhandle. To Chloe’s surprise, feisty Vivi Slidell isn’t the frail retiree Chloe expects. Nor is Emerald Cove. It’s less a sleepy fishing village than a panhandle hotspot overrun with land developers and tourists. But it’s a Sea Glass regular who’s mysteriously crossed the cranky Vivi. When their bitter argument comes to a head and he’s found dead behind the bar, guess who’s the number one suspect?
In trying to clear Vivi’s name, Chloe discovers the old woman isn’t the only one in Emerald Cove with secrets. Under the laidback attitude, sparkling white beaches, and small town ways something terrible is brewing. And the sure way a killer can keep those secrets bottled up is to finish off one murder with a double shot: aimed at Chloe and Vivi.
I am so excited about Sherry Harris’s new series. Don’t worry, there is a new Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery coming in December.
From Beer to Eternity, we meet Chloe Jackson, a children’s librarian in Chicago who has taken a leave of absence to fulfill a promise she made to her best friend Boone who was killed in Afghanistan. She promised that if anything happened to him to go help his grandmother in the Florida Panhandle with her business, the Sea Glass Saloon. Short on details, Chloe uses a few white lies to get Vivi Slidell to hire her as a cocktail waitress so she can find out just what help this seemingly very competent woman may need. Chloe never expected she would be working to keep the woman out of jail after one of her regulars is found dead behind the bar. Chloe soon finds that something is clearly brewing in the town of Emerald Cove and her questions could land both her and Vivi in the line of fire.
Ms. Harris has introduced some very strong characters in this story and fleshed them out nicely in this first book while leaving them plenty of room to grow in future installments. I loved that Chloe found common ground with the sometimes cranky young children she usually works with and the overindulging patrons at the Sea Glass Saloon. Handling both in the same way successfully. She is smart and can think on her feet. Dealing with Boone’s death is hard especially when she finds out his true feelings. Vivi is a strong, independent woman, and nothing like Chloe expected. She has run her business successfully for years. Bartender Joaquin befriends Chloe quickly and is a great buffer between Chloe and Vivi. These main characters are surrounded by a great supporting cast.
The setting for this series is positively divine. A place I would go to and probably never leave. As in her other series it is set near military bases, Elgin Air Force Base and the nearby Hurlburt Field and there are Navy bases nearby too. Her descriptions of the area were fantastic and created wonderful imagery. She took us to several places and I really felt like I was right there with her.
The mystery was well done, complex, and intriguing with plenty of suspects. I couldn’t really hone in on any person fully because they all seemed a bit shady with secrets or hiding something. The mystery reveal was a bit rushed for me although very exciting. I was on the edge of my seat.
As the book came to a close the ending wasn’t much of a surprise but this series is off to a fine start.
From Brew to Eternity feels like more than a cozy mystery. While it has all the cozy elements, amateur sleuth, small-town setting, humor in all the right places, etc. Chloe deals with the loss of Boone and that adds an extra serious element. I am eager to see where the author takes this series.
About Sherry Harris
Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award-nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series and the upcoming Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries. She is a past president of Sisters in Crime, and a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.
In her spare time, Sherry loves reading and is a patent-holding inventor. Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.