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In the Drink by Allyson K. Abbott
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I like the author's use of synesthesia as a different angle for an amateur sleuth and I've always enjoyed her writing (she writes the series that begins with Working Stiff under the name Annalise Ryan).

This third one has her bar patrons trying to solve an old cold case - the murder of two girls 12 years prior. This plot (which I solved before I reached page 138) runs concurrently with what looks to be a new series arc - it reminded me of the old NBC show Profiler.

After all the press she got about how she helped the police (using her very misunderstood synesthesia), Mack has acquired a diabolical stalker who has set her on the trail of clues that each must be solved by a deadline, or someone close to her will be killed. Of course, no police intervention which specifically includes her sort-of boyfriend, who is on shaky ground with Mack anyway. This in turn allows the author to introduce a damn love triangle!!!

Malachi is an undercover police officer Mack's boyfriend asks to step in and watch her back. I'm guessing it's not her back he's going to be watching. But I do like him as a character - maybe a bit more than Mack's current boyfriend, whose name I can't remember (telling).

The stalker thing isn't wrapped up at the end; if anything it's tragically ramped up. I'm in for at least one more book - the love triangle needs to be very temporary for me to commit to more than that. ( )
  murderbydeath | Nov 12, 2016 |
If you read the first (or second) book in this cozy mystery series, you know the gimmicks are (1) Mack owns a bar and designs cocktails, and (2) she has really powerful synesthesia (where she sees sounds or hears smells and such, even faint ones that she isn't consciously aware of).

The book opens with a creepy anonymous letter basically challenging Mack to solve a murder using her special talents, in order to prevent future murders.

The book ends with another murder, and neither I nor Mack has really any clue who the murderer is.

To be fair, there's a side mystery here that gets resolved more or less satisfyingly, but when the central mystery -- the one that hooks you on page one and gets you to keep reading -- doesn't get resolved, that's hugely frustrating to me.

Who knows when the next one will even be published? Will I remember the details of the case enough for it to be a satisfying resolution to the suspense built in this novel? I can't imagine that the answer is yes.


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
It starts out rather ominously.

Mack ( Mackenzie Dalton) receives an anonymous letter touting her claim to being a top dog in crime solving.

The person challenges her to prove it by passing a series of tests. As she passes each test, she’ll move on the next one. A catch – each one is timed.

And there’s a chilling warning:

“Fail it and I will leave a body for you somewhere here in the city…It will be someone you know, someone who is close to you…”

She must do this on her own, no police, including her kind of boyfriend Detective Duncan Albright.

The test starts now and the letter is the first clue.

First off, this is the third book in the series and I haven’t read the others, so I worried about what I didn’t know. The author quickly filled me in on past events and I had no trouble with this installment.

Mack assisted the police in the past, first with her father’s murder and then with the murder of her father’s girlfriend. She has no claims of being a master sleuth. She’s a bar owner. She just wanted answers.

Mack’s is a synesthete, it’s a neuro disorder where the senses are cross-wired. An example is she can taste or see things that she smells. Also, her senses are extra acute, hearing things others don’t, smelling things others can’t. These things can be a great asset when trying to solve a crime. This can also help her sense when someone might be lying.

She’s kept it to herself for a long time. You can imagine the taunting Mack got from her peers when she was young, when she mentioned “music is too green”, or “apple is too loud”.

Someone leaked Mack’s ability to the press and her boyfriend, Detective Duncan was suspended for using her on a case. He eventually got his job back, but wasn’t allowed to use her on new cases.

Their budding romance is on the back burner because he’s been told to stay away from her or lose his job.

Mack knows she can’t handle this by herself, so she uses her crime solving group, the Capone Club, at her bar. They use real and made up crimes and try to solve them. Kind of just for fun, but one man wants the group to help with the cold case of his sister’s murder.

Now they have two real cases to solve.

Since Duncan can’t officially help Mack, and the psycho warned her not to tell anyone, he has a friend, Mal, an undercover cop, pose as her new beau so she won’t be left alone.

The tangled webs are woven.

Mack has a strong personality despite her insecurity about her disorder. I felt she was brave to expose herself to ridicule to help solve a crime. I liked her from the beginning.

It took a bit to warm up to Duncan. He was torn between his job and his attraction to Mack. You don’t get much about him in the beginning, but once the story gets rolling, you learn more. And when Mack feels a strong attraction to Duncan’s friend, Mal, things get really interesting.

Mack tastes chocolate when she thinks of Duncan. She savors the sweetness melting in her mouth. She also has the same sensation when thinking of Mal. Uh oh!

The plot is fantastic. So wicked. So twisted. This would be a great episode for the show Criminal Minds.

And the characters. I loved Mack and quickly became fond of Duncan and Mal. The secondary characters are too numerous to mention. I felt like I new them, the bar employees, the regular patrons, and the Capone Club. I bartended for almost twenty years and I could see their faces, recognize personalities.

Now we’ve reached the end of the book. Obviously I can say a word about it. But, I can say two – No Way!

I love suspense, thrillers, and mysteries, the creepier the better. Add in a frustrated romance, a possible poacher on said romance, and one sick, twisted villain, and I’m hooked til the end. ( )
  laura-thomas | Feb 2, 2016 |
Suspense and mystery from the opening words. This is the third book in the series, but it did not affect my reading In The Drink in any way.

Duncan Albright is a homicide detective in Milwaukee. He is MacKenzie's lover and they must keep their meetings secret, because of his suspension. It had been discovered that he used her on one of his cases and the higher ups didn't like that.

MacKenzie owns a bar, left to her by her murdered father. She has synethesia - mixed up senses, sees music, hears smells... She works with her lover, Duncan, using her abilities. That she was even born is a miracle in itself. Could that mean she was meant for something great?

Her friends and bar customers formed the Capone Club to help her solve crimes. The group works as a whole. There are two mysteries going on and the lives at stake are the ones closest to Mack.

Cora and the Signoriello brothers are her closest "family". She would trust them with the news about the evil game that was afoot, the challenge someone has issued to her.

M & M - Mack & Mal. I love both the guys. Can we keep them Allyson, pretty please? I don't want Mack to have to choose. Mal has stolen my heart. I know Duncan is a busy cop, but so is Mal. Mal keeps Mack at arms length because he would not betray his friend, Duncan. But Mack is very hard to resist. Their attraction puts him to the ultimate test. He is chivalrous, hot. I feel bad about Duncan, but hey out of sight, out of mind.

The characters are individuals, with something of their own to contribute, whether its computers skills, connections to someone...

I am ticked off about the ending and that is all I am saying.

I love cozy mysteries, suspense and thrills. There is more going on than meets the eye at first glance. Plots, yep, more than one. Mystery, yep, plenty to go around. Suspense, yep, some of that too. Just be careful as you read In The Drink, because you may very well be caught up in the mystery, having to return in the next episode to keep up with all the wonderful characters. I know I am.

I received In The Drink by Allyson K Abbott in return for an honest and unbiased review. ( )
  sherry69 | Aug 11, 2015 |
In the Drink by Allyson K. Abbott is the third book in the Mack’s Bar Mystery series. Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has grown up in Mack’s Bar. Her mother died before she was born (was kept in a coma until Mack could be born safely) and she was raised by her father. Her father has been gone almost a year. Mack has just finished expanding the bar and adding a games room as well as a room for the Capone Club (a group of bar patrons that like to solve mysteries and crimes). Mack has been dating Duncan Albright a cop she met a year ago. However, since it came to light that she helped with his last case, Mack has not seen much of Duncan. Duncan got to keep his job, but he is not allowed to consult with Mack.

Mack has synesthesia. It is a neurological disorder where her senses are cross-wired and her senses are highly acute (she can smell things that others cannot). Mack is also good with math and letters. Mack and Duncan make a good team (Duncan is good with deductive reasoning). Mack, though, just received a threatening letter. She has to solve the clues in the letter without help from the police or someone she knows will die. Mack with help from the Capone Club as well as Duncan and a new friend, Malachi O’Reilly set out to follow the clues from letter to letter.

In addition, the Capone Club is working to solve the twelve year old case of two missing girls (Lori Gruber and Anna Hermann). Lori Gruber was the sister of club member Tiny Gruber. Tiny (whose real name is Jurgen) wants to find out what happened to his sister. He needs closer. The group will have their work cut out for them to solve this cold case and keep ahead of the killer.

In the Drink was a fun cozy mystery to read. One thing that I did not like, though, was that the mystery of the letters was not solved in this book. We have to wait until the next book for answers. The murder mystery of Lori Gruber and Anna Hermann was a cinch to solve, but it was a good mystery. I liked Mack’s unique disorder. The author did a good job describing it and I like how the character uses her disorder (skill) to solve crimes. I give In the Drink 4.5 out of 5. This is the third book in the series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone book (it reviews the information from the previous two books).

I received a complimentary copy of In the Drink from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Jul 27, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 075828019X, Mass Market Paperback)

Mack’s Bar and its crime-solving clientele are quickly gaining notoriety for helping solve some high-profile cases. But Mack is learning the hard way that not all press is good press…

By day, Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is the proprietress of a popular Milwaukee watering hole. But after last call, she uses her unique cocktail of extra perceptive senses to help solve some of the city’s most grisly homicides. Now, Mack and her barstool detectives are happy to help when Tiny, one of the bar’s newest patrons, asks them to look into his sister’s murder. Though the case has gone cold, Mack’s heightened senses quickly put her on the killer’s trail. But when a throng of reporters intrigued by her talents descends on Mack’s Bar, her efforts are muddled as a real-life Moriarty begins putting her infamous skills to the test, leaving Mack feeling shaken and stirred…

* Includes drink recipes *

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 13 Jul 2015 05:53:29 -0400)

"By day, Mackenzie 'Mack' Dalton is the proprietress of a popular Milwaukee watering hole. But after last call, she uses her unique cocktail of extra perceptive senses to help solve some of the city's most grisly homicides. Now, Mack and her barstool detectives are happy to help when Tiny, one of the bar's newest patrons, asks them to look into his sister's murder. Though the case has gone cold, Mack's heightened senses quickly put her on the killer's trail. But when a throng of reporters intrigued by her talents descends on Mack's Bar, her efforts are muddled as a real-life Moriarty begins putting her infamous skills to the test, leaving Mack feeling shaken and stirred. Includes drink recipes! --… (more)

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