Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery #1) by Emmeline Duncan, Kelly Garrett #bookreview #mystery

Title: Fresh Brewed Murder

Author: Emmeline Duncan

Publisher:  Kensington

Publication Date: March 30, 2021

Page Count:  240

My rating: 3 stars

About the book:

With its entrepreneurial, 20-something protagonist, focus on a hipster-run food truck pod in Portland, Oregon, and real-world issues involving homelessness and gentrification, Fresh Brewed Murder is a trendy, updated cozy mystery that offers strong appeal to Millennial and Gen Z readers.

Master barista Sage Caplin is opening a new coffee cart in Portland, Oregon, but a killer is brewing up a world of trouble…

Portland is famous for its rain, hipsters, craft beers…and coffee. Sage Caplin has high hopes for her coffee truck, Ground Rules, which she runs with her business partner, Harley–a genius at roasting beans and devising new blends. That’s essential in a city where locals have intensely strong opinions about cappuccino versus macchiato–especially in the case of one of Sage’s very first customers…

Sage finds the man’s body in front of her truck, a fatal slash across his neck. There’s been plenty of anger in the air, from long-time vendors annoyed at Ground Rules taking a coveted spot in the food truck lot, to protestors demonstrating against a new high-rise. But who was mad enough to commit murder? Sage is already fending off trouble in the form of her estranged, con-artist mother, who’s trying to trickle back into her life. But when Sage’s very own box cutter is discovered to be the murder weapon, she needs to focus on finding the killer fast–before her business, and her life, come to a bitter end…

Fresh Brewed Murder by Emmeline Duncan is the first book in the new cozy A Ground Rules Mystery series. As with most cozy mysteries the mystery within this first book is fully solved by the end of the story so it could be read as a standalone if choosing to do so.

Sage Caplin is happy to have finally reached her dream of owning her own business in Portland, Oregon. She has just opened her coffee truck, Ground Rules, with her business partner, Harley,in a great location. Business is going great with plenty of new customers when one day Sage arrives at the truck to find a previous customer has been murdered with Sage’s own box cutter.

Fresh Brewed Murder is definitely a cozy for coffee lover’s as it’s the type of cozy which spends a lot of time on the theme. I’m not a coffee drinker myself so the whole workings of the cart were not something I’d connect with but other than Sage’s coffee expertise I didn’t find anything else about her to draw me in either. As one who loves there to be something/someone humorous in cozy mysteries this one also seemed rather bland on that front leaving the opener at three stars for me. 

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon **

About the author:

Emmeline Duncan is a mystery writer based out of Portland, Oregon. The first installment of her new Ground Rules series, FRESH BREWED MURDER, releases March 30th, 2021.

Emmeline also writes for teens as Kelly Garrett. Her debut YA novel, The Last To Die, was an Oregon Book Awards finalist and was re-issued by Sourcebooks Fire in November 2019. Kelly is also a 2020 Oregon Literary Fellow.

Emmeline/Kelly is a board member of the Northwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and co-organizes Friends of Mystery’s Bloody Thursday lecture series. She’s also a member of Sisters-In-Crime, Willamette Writers, and SCBWI. You can find her online at

**This is an Amazon affiliate link which will allow me as an associate to earn a small commision on any purchase made through the link of the products I share and that commission in no way changes the pricing of any items for the buyer.

2 Comments on “Fresh Brewed Murder (A Ground Rules Mystery #1) by Emmeline Duncan, Kelly Garrett #bookreview #mystery

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