Cover Image: Death by Spiced Chai

Death by Spiced Chai

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Member Reviews

Krissy Hancock is co-owns the Death by Coffee cafe and bookshop in Pine Hills together with her best friend. She’s also a amateur sleuth, being kind of predestined as the daughter of a famed crime writer and having helped solve a number of murder cases in the past. But in this installment to the fantastic cozy mystery series someone in town distinctly seems to have it in for her ! Who could possibly dislike her so much?
This book will keep you guessing and entertained. I look forward to joining Krissy for her next mystery !

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Sometimes the smallest things intrigue me, and Death by Spiced Chai pulled me in from its title because it’s one of my favorite drinks. What I hadn’t expected was that I’d be starting a series in book ten, and I happen to be one of those (un)fortunate souls who needs all of the backstory. So I started back at one, with Death by Coffee, which introduces Krissy Hancock, her new bookstore of the same name, and the cast of characters that makes up the small town of Pine Hills, Ohio. Throughout the series, she finds her way into the middle of murder investigations and is an unlikely, yet effective, detective who simultaneously fumbles her way through romance, friendship, and establishing a life half a country away from home.

In Death by Spiced Chai, Krissy instead finds herself on the wrong side of the law. A series of mysterious incidents have the townsfolk turning against and her already shaky reputation on the downswing. When she ends up suspected in the murder of a bookstore cafe customer with whom she was seen arguing only days prior, she begins to wonder who exactly is out to get her and why. While she’s adamant about her innocence, the links to previous murders seem a bit too coincidental for many to believe and she’s both trying to solve a murder and solve who is setting her up.

I will admit that Krissy takes a lot of warming up to. As far as protagonists go, she’s foolhardy and her sense of self-preservation needs recalibration. Others might consider her brave, but her impulsivity had me convinced she was in her early 20s and not mid-40s. Overall Krissy means well, but her methods err on the side of immature and it’s easy to see why she lands herself in trouble so often. Nonetheless, she’s also a good foil for the local officers, gossips, and various neighbors. This book in particular added more tension between her and those with whom she’s close, particularly her boyfriend, officer Paul Dalton, and neighbors she’s become friends with. I thought this was an interesting take given that these same people often enable her amateur-sleuthing in other books.

Having read all 10 books in quick succession, I can say that the plots are engaging as far as cozy mysteries go. The stories are interesting enough and not terribly predictable, especially in this installment. The drama is high and makes for books I rarely want to put down. They aren’t high suspense, so the angst and stress is low, making these perfect for a lazy afternoon.

One major critique I have is in Erickson’s depiction of Krissy; she reads as if she’s written by a man. At times she seems stereotypically insecure in her romantic relationships, and her actions as they relate to her exes with ties to Pine Hills just don’t come off as realistic. This depiction doesn’t make her more relatable and only served to make me question her judgement. Luckily, the romance isn’t the central plot point in most books, so it’s not a prevalent enough issue to make me stop the series.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed the series, and particularly enjoyed Death by Spiced Chai for putting Krissy in the hot seat. I’m hoping her character will grow and mature over future books, so I’ll keep an eye out.

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A bookstore cafe mystery series. Sounds great. I love bookstores, and while I don't drink coffee, spiced chai is a tea and we all know how I love my tea. This is the tenth int his series, although this was also new to me. Bookstore and cafe owner Krissy Hancock is at first annoyed by what seem to be pranks, but then becomes very concerned when it becomes evident that someone is targeting her. And the clues indicate that she's been targeted because of her past involvement in murder investigations (so earlier books are referenced, and without having read them, I was a little puzzled). Krissy make some questionable choices as she investigates (no, don't go talk to your main suspect and tips hem off!), and the author makes some questionable choices as backstory (Is till don't understand the paragraph about chipped mugs at location 1275 on a Kindle). Another irritant to this reader: Krissy is dating Paul the policeman, and seems irritated that he won't tell her about his boss' investigation in the murders in which she is a main suspect. Hello, Krissy, he could lose his job over that! Paul's character is clearly tormented by these two things pulling on him, but Krissy's lack of understanding and concern for his career annoyed me. As did her assumptions that the police were not doing their jobs simply because she remained a suspect and no one was telling her who they were investigation besides herself. A few inconsistencies in plotting (e.g., one person comments that nobody walks around her neighborhood but then suddenly remembers that actually there was somebody passing byre hime at least a dozen times over two days and that didn't cause any suspicions--really?) and what I felt was a thin reason for the murder meant that I didn't particularly enjoy this book. I doubt that I will seek out further in the series.

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The plot twists were wild for at least the first half of the book, and the best they could discover was the description of one of the people involved. The author did an excellent job of penning a seemingly unsolvable mystery. He also included very funny scenes that helped break the tension. The solutions were very surprising, as well as the motives, and the end was very satisfying. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and look forward to Death By iced Coffee and Death By Peppermint Cappuccino to see what mysteries Krissy gets herself involved in.

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3.5 stars rounded up

This is the tenth book in the series and my first. Definitely not my normal cozy mystery. This book left me feeling anxious about all the crap that was being done to Krissy. Obviously the killer was a deranged person with the stunts done on Krissy.

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In Pine Hills, someone is trashing Krissy Hancock’s reputation. First, Cockroaches are found in the bookstore, then spiteful reviews, and vandalism are all blamed on Krissy. Her boyfriend, local cop Paul Dalton, is on the case, but before they can source the saboteur, Krissy is framed for murder, too. Unless Krissy can uncover the truth, it won’t just be her business in hot water, her life will be on the line too.
This is a great series for any cozy mystery reader. The plot is well developed, the characters are diabolically created, and the story is fun. This one of those stories that if you put it down for a day, you can pick it right back up and know what’s happening. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for this advanced reader’s copy. This review is my unbiased opinion.

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Death by Spiced Chai is the tenth book in the Bookstore Cafe Mysteries by Alex Erikson. In this installment, protagonist Krissy Hancock is plagued by a series of events that recreate specific circumstances from each of the murders that she has solved in the previous books as well as a series of not so innocent pranks directed at her and the coffee shop.

In this story the author has done an excellent job of interweaving the various plot points from the earlier books while maintaining consistency within the characters and their individual histories and relationships. With the variety of twists, turns, red herrings, and misdirects the reader is kept guessing until the end as who, what and why Krissy is being targeted. By including aspects of the earlier stories, the author gives new readers to this series a taste of what they have missed which ultimately will entice them to go back and read the entire backlist. I look forward to seeing where the author goes in future installments with both the mysteries and the relationships that are continuing to deepen throughout the series.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Kensington Publishing and am leaving this review voluntarily.

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I tried to read this book, but the writing style was just not for me. I had a really hard time getting into it. So I put it down. Maybe I will try again in the future.

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Krissy Hancock is one of three owners of Death by Coffee and bookstore. Business has picked up, books are selling, and she needs new employees. Her favorite employee did the work of two people, but she just left for college.

When someone screams in what’s usually a quite place, Krissy knows to go running. A customer announces as loudly as she can, there’s a cockroach in her half-drunk coffee. Before Krissy can wonder why the woman didn’t notice it before the halfway point, the woman runs for the bathroom and moments later, screams there are roaches in there too. Way to clear a room!

Krissy’s day, week even, goes downhill after that. There’s a weird phone call, a trash review about the library supposedly written by Krissy, a recent photo of Krissy’s boyfriend with his ex and looking mighty cozy, a new neighbor who doesn’t want to be friends, and a nasty online gossipy ‘newspaper’ that seems to devote most of its space to slamming Krissy. When a crime is committed, Krissy gets the blame for that too—and then there was a murder.

People can get angry about a lot of things—a mistake in their order, a misunderstood comment, a name forgotten—but someone is angry about every area of Krissy’s life. Even her cop boyfriend, Paul, can’t help her. He’s been ordered not to discuss any investigation with her. She’ll just have to see what she can find out on her own and hope she lives to tell who did it.

This is book ten in the series. What’s not to like about a bookstore with a café and a cat? The three partners get along well, business is good, and Krissy’s dad is an author whose books sell like crazy. Krissy and Paul have a good relationship which would be better if she’d stay out of his investigations. It’s a small town police department and they realize that’s not likely to happen. She takes a lot of risks by not telling others where she’s going or who she suspects and not trusting the police to do their jobs. I do hope in book eleven, Krissy remembers to charge her phone and keep it in her pocket at all times. Sorry to say, no recipes included.

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This was an enjoyable cozy. Krissy Hancock runs a bookstore/coffee shop. Someone is trying to destroy her business and her reputation culminating in the murder of one of Krissy's patrons. Cockroaches, vandalism, murder, what is happening. Krissy has to do something. Currently she is the primary suspect in the murder. She sets out to discover what is happening and to find to real killer.

The writing style is easy-to-read and the story is fun and engaging. It kept me turning the pages and wondering who is the killer.

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Krissy is happy with her life as a bookstore and cafe owner. Things take a dark turn when one of her customers is poisoned, and she is the main suspect. My issue is that all of the bugs and other sabotage is beyond obvious. You go from having a spotless cafe to piles of roaches in a rest room. Please give Krissy a few more brain cells.

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Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher/author for this ARC for an exchange for an honest review.

This murder mystery was so good.

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This was an awesome read! This is the first of this series I’ve read and I look forward to reading the others! Krissy, owner of Death by Coffee cafe and bookstore, and the main character, is being set up for a series of crimes. All the evidence matches previous crimes she’s solved before, which makes her look guilty to many people. The plot moved quickly, stayed on point, and was just a great book!

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You must really love plot driven stories for this one. I am more of a character driven story, and I felt the character/relationship development within this book was lacking. While the mystery itself was getting interesting, I really felt the void of connecting with the characters.

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I loved a good book-themed cozy mystery, and this one doesn't disappoint. Krissy is the daughter of a best-selling crime writer who also owns a bookstore with attached cafe (also known as living the dream!!). Placed in the centre of a string of 'bad things', Krissy has to figure out who is trying to set her up before she ends up in prison for a crime she didn't commit. I really enjoyed the way this book was written and I can't wait to read the next one. This is the first book in this series I have read, and I am so glad that I am already approved for the next one after this in NetGalley! I might just have to go back and read some of the others as well.

This was an honest NetGalley review.

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Death by Spiced Chai is book #10 in the Bookstore Cafe Mystery series by Alex Erickson.

Krissy Hancock is being targeted. First it is her business and reputation being attacked. Then she is framed for murder.

This was an intriguing mystery. The frame job was quite elaborate and who knew Krissy well enough to do that? I like Krissy and the friends that stood by her. The setting is a place I’d like to go to, without roaches or murder.

Thank you to the author, Kensington, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) copy of this book and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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I can't believe that this is book #10 in the Bookstore Café Mystery series. I always enjoy stories revolving around bookstores and this was another good one.

The characters are becoming like old friends and it's always good to catch up with them. Krissy tries hard but doesn't really have a choice but get involved in this mystery. The plot has twists and turns and kept me turning pages until the end.

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Krissy Hancock gets herself in trouble as someone is murdered with spiced chai tea from a teapot in her store. Death by Spiced Chai has Krissy trying to find out who is framing her for the murder and other vandalism; the police don't seem to be helping so she is on her own. Read and enjoy

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Death by Coffee, recently remodeled, is co-owned and co-managed by Krissy Hancock and Vicki & Mason Lawyer.

When Krissy is on duty, A scream shocks everyone, and a woman reveals a cockroach in her cup of coffee. More of the creepy bugs are in the restroom, but only in the women's restroom. Already, I'm suspicious, but Krissy is not. Nobody is.

Multiple sub-stories are hidden here, making the "mystery" slightly more complex than the structure can handle; clues, red herrings, dead-ends, and extra drama. And some of the most important motives are not fully explained.

There are also minor plot holes that confuse the characters, but readers will be trying to clue them in; "It happened when...!" or "Just say they had a problem! It isn't that hard!"

Krissy's 'romantic' thoughts about her boyfriend were suggestive, had an 'eww' factor for me, and were not exactly part of the story.

I wanted to like this book, but it soon felt like unnecessary work.

2.4/5 Stars More unfocused than complex.

Thanks to Kensington Books, Kensington Cozies, and NetGalley for the temporary digital preview; any review is voluntary and my own opinion.

#DeathbySpicedChai #NetGalley
#KensingtonBooks #KensingtonCozies
#AlexErickson #AlexEricksonAuth

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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie

Death by Coffee sounds like my kind of hangout! The café/ bookstore is named after one of Krissy’s father, James’s, best-selling novels; she is a co-owner along with best friends Vicki and her husband, Mason. The café on the ground floor is extremely busy, while the bookstore is on the second floor overlooking the seating area. There were many pieces to this complicated murder, vandalism, and other actions someone is committing to ruin Krissy’s business and reputation.

Hamish Lauder was a customer who was abrupt but not unkind. He came in to purchase James’s latest novel. Hamish was upset that an author would disrespect a reader by starting a new series while in the middle of writing another one, but he did purchase the new book. He left it for her father to autograph to him, and perhaps even deliver it when it is ready. If someone didn’t know Hamish or Krissy, they would think the two were ready to fight, but Krissy would never do that with a customer – even if they did talk bad about her father.

Shortly after he left, a lady in the café screamed; there was a roach in her half-full coffee cup. She ran into the ladies’ room and came right back out, as there were roaches in there, too! What a way to clear out a café…

It only got worse from there. A local “news” blogger, who Krissy hadn’t heard about before, had amped up her comments about Krissy. Her new next-door neighbor had a strong, obvious dislike for her. She is called into the police station and accused of vandalizing a competitor’s building. Then she is called into the police station about the murder of Hamish, even though she didn’t know him before the day he bought the book. Her Javacon coffee mug and a book of her father’s, autographed to her, were at the crime scene, along with a pot of her current favorite tea.

Thankfully her boyfriend still believes her, but it is a mixed blessing. Someone texted her a grainy photo of Paul and his ex-girlfriend in which it appears he is leaning in to kiss her. He is a police officer, and was told by the detective, John, that he should stay away from Krissy until all is resolved. Krissy’s best friend, Vicki, and a few other people, including Rita, her friend despite being the biggest gossip in town, are trying to find out what they can to help her, as the police don’t appear to be looking at anyone else.

Krissy and her best friends/ business partners are going forward in the café after making sure no roaches have taken up residence in the building. They refuse to believe that she is behind all the goings-on in their lives. As for Paul, they are sure he has a good explanation, but when she finally does ask him, he can’t tell her unless his ex will allow him to as it isn’t his story to tell.

This is a very emotional time for Krissy, and she is rarely this flustered. To someone who hasn’t been stalked or had such audacious lies told about them over the space of forty-eight hours, her behavior and personality seems over-the-top. All the characters are described as well as fitting for their roles, even though Krissy isn’t shown at her best.

Even to an avid reader, this sounds like either a conspiracy – as almost nobody could have that many things go wrong in less than 48 hours – or that Krissy is a train wreck waiting to happen! I felt bad for her, especially since she truly enjoyed where she lives, her friends, and her business. The thought that she could lose it all, go to prison, and never know why would be devastating. Even her remarkable tenacity and optimism were exhausted before each day ended.

Thankfully, there are people willing to help sort this out with her. The plot twists were wild for at least the first half of the book, and the best they could discover was the description of one of the people involved. The author did an excellent job of penning a seemingly unsolvable mystery. He also included very funny scenes that helped break the tension. The solutions were very surprising, as well as the motives, and the end was very satisfying. I highly recommend this cozy mystery and look forward to visiting Krissy at Death by Coffee again soon.

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