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Triple Shot by Sandra Balzo
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This is a murder mystery set in a small town, so all the characters know each other and know all about each other. Yet it definitely can't be classified as a cozy mystery!

The dialogue was written much in the form of the Puzzle Lady mysteries. It's a little difficult to become accustomed to, but is quite charming and effective in presenting the storyline.

The book is well written, and makes for fast reading. It has a bit of something for everyone: intrigue, murder, mystery, romance, and history! The guilty party was cleverly concealed until virtually the last page.

I didn't know it was a series when I started reading, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything. The story reads well on its own. I enjoyed reading Triple Shot very much!

Disclaimer: This review was written by my father, Ralph. I received the book free from the publishers for an honest review. ( )
  NCRainstorm | Jul 24, 2012 |
I enjoy a good mystery. A lot. In fact, without even knowing that there were 6 other books in the Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse mystery series, I requested a review copy of Triple Shot, which is the 7th. I loved it so much and not once did I feel that I was missing part of the story just because I had not read the previous books. I felt very comfortable reading it as a standalone. Maggy Thorsen is a coffeehouse owner in a small town in Wisconsin where everything seems to be quiet and mundane, but nothing is further from the truth. Someone is killing real estate agents, out of all people, and Maggy takes a special interest in the case once the body of one of these victims show up right under her nose.This book was so hard to put down. I went through it so quickly and was so entertained and intrigued by it and I stayed up late last night just because I couldn't stop reading this book. The characters, the mystery, and the plot twists captivated me from the first page. All of the characters are unique in their own way and Sandra Balzo does such a great job of clearly painting that picture for you. What I loved most about the main character, Maggy, is that she's not your usual know-it-all heroine. In fact, Maggy is so flawed, she keeps pointing it out to herself as she narrates the events in the book. She's quirky and definitely not a people person, but has an inquisitive nature and a knack for putting two and two together that can put the entire police department to shame.Read full review at JJiReads.com ( )
  johannabr | Mar 23, 2012 |
I love a good mystery, and trust me this is a good one. We enter a town in Wisconsin and are immediately taken inside the “Uncommon Grounds” Coffee house. Once inside we begin to meet the well developed cast of characters. Maggy Thorsen is the owner of the coffee house along with her partner Sarah Kingston. Sarah is also a local realtor and the owner of the building the coffee house sits in. Sarah and Maggy are so different that they compliment each other. Sarah voices her opinion on everything with a slight sarcasm. She calls another group of realtors who are also coffee shop customers “The Barbies, Broker Barbies or Holly Hobbies”. Maggy takes uncomfortable situations and moves ahead no matter what. Some of those uncomfortable situations involve her friend Sarah.

Maggy opened the coffee shop and realized they had a strong odor throughout the place. No one knew where it was but it seemed to be stronger in certain areas. Things really turn interesting when Ward Chitown enters the coffee shop. He has come back to do a live show that will bring up a past that his father was involved in. It seems the small town was home to the mafia. During a shoot out that involved his FBI father, several men were killed and over a million dollars disappeared. Now real estate agents are being killed. Upon investigating the smell Maggy learns from Sarah that the historic train station that houses their coffee shop had a waiting room used by the mafia. They waited there until their train was called and slipped aboard. Imagine the surprise when they not only find the room but a dead body inside.

The author did such a wonderful job of describing things I could almost smell the coffee, and the stench. I could picture the train tracks and the special hidden room. I loved the fact that Maggy, who wasn’t always sure she liked her friend Sarah, decides she has to solve the death of the young girl who worked for Sarah because they are friends. We also meet Maggy’s boyfriend a sheriff who feels like he is always rescuing Maggie. I learned after reading this that it was the seventh book in the series. It stood quite well on its own. I will however need to get the previous six books just so I can see what else has happened to Maggie and her friends.

If you like a good mystery, then this is one you must put on your list to read. ( )
  skstiles612 | Mar 12, 2012 |
It's really tough to run a food and beverage establishment when there's a funky smell so strong permeating the space that even the scent of Triple Shot Fully Leaded Espressos can't cover it. Upon investigation, Maggy Thorsen and her partner Sarah Kingston discover a body in a hidden room beneath Uncommon Grounds.

The body happens to be that of Sarah's apprentice Brigid, who had filed a complaint against her boss with the real estate board, giving Sarah the perfect reason to do away with her. Being the good friend that she is, Maggy promises to help prove Sarah's innocence.

Meanwhile, the underground room turns out to have been a private place for members of the mob to wait for the train to arrive at the station next door. A Chicago production company decides to do a television special about the room, and asks Maggy to cater for the crew, putting her in the perfect position to investigate.

Sandra Balzo has created another extremely enjoyable mystery. Maggy is a realistic and genuinely likeable protagonist who'd make a great next-door neighbor. Just a warning: if you believe that the pun is the lowest form of humour, Maggy's adventures may not be for you.

FTC Full Disclosure: The author was kind enough to provide me with an e-book in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Marlyn | Jan 24, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0727880799, Hardcover)

The new Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse mystery - There’s a chill in the Wisconsin air, and it's a shot in the arm – a triple espresso shot – to Uncommon Grounds, the Brookhills coffeehouse owned by Maggy Thorsen and real estate maven Sarah Kingston. Their new autumn drink is a huge success. But two estate agents have died lately, and Sarah herself is under investigation for irregularities at her job. Then a stench begins to percolate through the coffeehouse, and soon it’s clear that corpses – like other bad things – do indeed come in threes . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:04 -0400)

"There's a chill in the Wisconsin air and it's a shot in the arm--or 'triple shot' in this case--to Uncommon Grounds, the Brookhills coffeehouse owned by Maggy Thorsen and real estate maven Sarah Kingston. Not only is their relocation to the town's historic train station a success, the store's autumn drink, a 'Triple Shot, fully-leaded Espresso', is taking off, fueled by hefty doses of caffeine and sugar. All seems well, if a little jittery, in Brookhills as faded Chicago television personality Ward Chitown arrives in search of a long-hidden Mafia stash from an FBI raid in which three agents died. A tragedy, but it's agents from Sarah's profession, real estate, who are facing more modern-day peril as a stench begins to percolate through the coffeehouse, forcing the partners to investigate. In the process, they find that corpses--like other bad things--do indeed come in threes."--P. [2] of jacket.… (more)

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