I first discovered this mystery series in early 2006 and at that point, three books had been published in the series so I read all of them in about two weeks. Since then, I have read each book as it becomes available and have yet to be disappointed. I read several other mystery series and only two come to mind as holding up much past book 7 - this one and the Tea Shop Series by Laura Childs. The others just seem to start out strong and then something happens. The author runs out of ideas or becomes bored and doesn't put forth the effort? Whatever the problem is, they start dropping in quality around that point and I either hang in there hoping for better (and being disappointed) or sadly give up and no longer invest the time and effort as new books are released. This series has beaten the odds in my estimation and the quality has remained at a level beyond my expectations, especially for a series that has now run nine books long.
This particular novel again features Clare Cosi, manager of The Village Blend, an independent coffee shop in the heart of Greenwich Village. This installment has a slightly different twist as the main focus of the mystery is that coffee shops around the city are being set on fire and people are being hurt or killed in the process. Clare happens to be in one of the cafes when the first fire starts so she is immediately caught up in trying to understand what is happening and trying to ensure nothing happens to her own, much-loved, Village Blend. Much of the story line revolves around the NYFD and when you read the afterward you will better understand why. While I miss the Village Blend and the baristas located there, they do make appearances which made me happy. Also, the characters of Mike Quinn and his cousin Michael Quinn are both further developed throughout the story.
A good mystery with a heavy emphasis on both fire-fighting and coffee brewing, this latest effort continues with snappy dialogue, humor, and a cast of characters that are evolving and developing over time. I think one of strengths of the novels is the setting of New York. It allows the author to continue to add fresh characters, an incredibly strong sense of place, and more "realistic" situations than many other books. Some of the stories will resonate more than others, based upon your interest and personal preferences, but the series is wonderful and this is another solid installment that the author should be proud of.
An interesting primer on coffee roasting is included in the back as well as recipes which will make your mouth water !