Click Here To Purchase Triple Shot (Maggy Thorsen)

Author: Sandra Balzo

Publisher: Severn House

ISBN: 978-1-84751-381-6

I’ve got to admit that I am a sucker for coffee house mysteries. Something about the descriptions of the characters drinking frothy espressos, savoring their drinks with a decadent pastry in the warmth of a charming café, makes me enjoy a book immensely. Sandra Balzo’s Triple Shot has a good dose of this atmosphere when the action takes place in Maggy Thorsen’s Uncommon Grounds.

This is the first Maggy Thorsen mystery I have read. I found the setting and characters to be a bit predictable for this genre, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Coffee house tales by their nature beg for a cold or wintry setting such as Triple Shot’s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Fans of the cozy or the coffee house mystery will instantly find a comfort level with characters they’ll feel familiar with. There are, of course, a few quirky personalities, and Balzo treats these in a fresh light in their idiosyncrasies. Possibly the most unpredictable character is Maggie’s business partner, Sarah, who seems to have some flaws that make her both irritating and entertaining.

The story line moves at a good pace. Plots and subplots are intertwined well so that we’re not sure whether the murders (yes, plural!) of real estate agents are the work of a serial killer, someone wreaking vengeance for a sale gone bad, or whether they are associated with the crew in town to film a bit of history. Seems the Mafia was involved in a shootout and subsequent disappearance of a large sum of money that has never been accounted for. And Maggy’s coffee house and neighboring buildings figured prominently in the mayhem. The unexpected outcome made for an exciting climax, something that I always appreciate in any mystery. Balzo manages to retain the element of surprise till the very end.

The aspect of the book that my editor’s eye had difficulty with was the punctuation. Because I reviewed an advance uncorrected proof, I can only hope that Balzo’s editor changes all the single quotes to doubles for North American publication. I hate to nitpick, but the British style was jarring, at least to this U.S. reader.

I am always glad to find an enjoyable author after their debut novel, so that there are more books to read immediately. Balzo has seven books in the Maggy Thorsen series, and has begun a new series set in the North Carolina High Country, both familiar locales, as she is a native of Wisconsin and now spends part of the year in North Carolina. She has also written two books available exclusively as e-books.

Click Here To Purchase Triple Shot (Maggy Thorsen)