When Clare Cosi returned to New York City to manage the historic Village Blend coffeehouse, she forgot what a grind the Big Apple's dating scene could be. Between juggling her grueling schedule and dealing with infrequent and always inconvenient visits from her handsome but impossible-to-live-with ex-husband (who owns an equal share of the apartment over the shop where she lives), it's a wonder Clare manages to date at all.
Right now, the romantic situation is even more complicated, because Clare has decided to check out the dating services her daughter Joy is using…by trying them herself. As she moves from dark and dangerous on-line hookups to the fast-paced "power meets" at the Cappuccino Connection upstairs in her own coffeehouse, Clare gets more and more steamed about the bitter blend of losers, geeks, and freaks that seem to be the mainstays of the dating menu for her and her beloved daughter. Out of all the guys she's met, she's only found one strong yet mellow one who really appreciates her…and shares her love of fine coffee.
But caffeine and romantic frustration aren't the only things making customers and staff of the Village Blend jittery lately. Clare is determined to find out whether the seemingly unrelated deaths of several recent customers are truly suicides or accidents…or if something dark, dangerous, and deadly is brewing for the Village Blend. Cleo Coyle's Coffee House Mystery series (which got off to such a potent start last fall with On What Grounds) builds strength in Through the Grinder with a delightfully robust and complex plot enhanced by richly drawn characters. Sue Stone