Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig

An amusing little mystery that didn't over-stress my brain.

Death Before Decaf by  Caroline Fardig
Narrated by Callie Beaulieu 
Audio Released: February 2017
Amazon ♦ Goodreads

After her music career crashes and burns, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her fiance robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what's left of her beloved cafe down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend's coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing's changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over. The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who'd locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who's asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can't simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she's going to get burned.

My Thoughts
3 ½ stars rounding up

This was a cute listen on audio and kept me distracted during my mind-numbing drive to and from work. It reminded me a wee bit of the earlier Stephanie Plum novels but without the complete OTT zaniness.

Juliette recently had to push the reset button on her life after her ex broke her heart and devastated her financially, forcing her to close her café. She’s accepted a management position at the café where she worked during her college years. It’s owned by her old friend and long-time crush, Pete, who recently inherited the business and isn’t interested in keeping his wayward employees in line.

Juliette comes in and immediately lets her “Red-Headed She Devil” persona take over. Her new employees are not impressed, nor very threatened by her screaming and carrying on over their slackerly ways and keep doing whatever they please. She yells at one guy twice (and he totally deserves it), in front of tons of witnesses, and when she later finds him dead in a dumpster she is horrified to learn that she is a person of interest in the investigation. Sheesh, I am soooo glad I am not a manager of insolent café employees!

Anyway, the ineptitude of the local investigation team urges Juliette to do some sleuthing. This leads her into all sorts of trouble. She’s the type to jump first and never really think about it later. She’s feisty, hot-tempered and impulsive. That last quality gets her into many dangerous situations. Lucky for her, she has two sexy men who come to her rescue when things get out of control. Yep, it’s the dreaded love triangle which is better than the dreaded love-eye , I guess, but we won’t talk about that . . . This bugged me but not enough to ruin the book.

It’s an entertaining little mystery, nothing too taxing on the brain and has a nice dash of sarcasm and sexy.

Narration Notes: The version I read was narrated by Callie Beaulieu. She does a good job with the characters and you always know who is speaking but she does a dreadful Italian accent. The kind of Italian accent you might hear in a Super Mario game. I don’t know if this was on-purpose to get some laughs or if it was simply dreadful. Either way, I laughed. Fortunately, the Italian student is only a minor walk-on character.

*I was sent a copy of this book from Tantor Media. Thanks Tantor, hope you don’t regret it!


  1. Glad to hear the love triangle didn't bother you. They drive me nuts but I will admit that there are some that are done really well and at times, I find them OK. Not like the dreaded insta-love which I rarely find excusable. Juliette does sound like a fun character.

    1. I guess I'm just over getting all worked up about them. I few years ago I might've been fuming ;)

  2. Ugh. Impulsive characters typically annoy me. Deducting more points for the love triangle.

    Glad you didn't mind it, though!

  3. This series is a lot of fun, I will be listening to book three soon! :)

  4. This sounds cute as I liked those earlier Stephanie Plum novels. Plus I love that title. Great review!!

  5. It is like the early Stephanie Plum books AND it has a love triangle. Hmmm. That Plum triangle went on forever (Is it still going on?) This does sound like a fun listen. I have to admit that I kind of want to listen to the audio just to hear the bad Italian accent :)

    1. Ha, I think she even added in another to Plum triangle which would make it something other than a triangle, I guess! I read one out of order and was stunned to find her sleeping with yet another man. I think his name was Diesel and he had some paranormal powers. It freaked me out a little.

      Thankfully the bad accent is very short lived!

  6. I can handle impulsive. We're all that way sometimes. It's the love triangle that still kind of gets me. Still, this sounds fun.

    1. Yeah, she bounces back and forth a bit. It is annoying but I resigned myself to it.


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