Battered by G.P. Gottlieb

Title: Battered (A Whipped and Sipped Mystery #1)

Author: G.P. Gottlieb

Published on: 6 August 2019

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Battered is the first book in G.P. Gottlieb’s Whipped and Sipped Mystery series.

Alene Baron is the proud owner of Whipped and Sipped, a café that offers healthy and delicious vegan food and drinks. Alene is also a single mother to three children. Post divorce from her husband Neil, Alene and her kids live with her aged father.

Things are going well at the café. Jack, a neighbor’s son comes over asking for a job at the café. A couple of years ago, Jack got a bit too handsy with Alene and she doesn’t want anything to do with him since. When she tells him she has no vacancies at the moment, he threatens her before leaving.

The previous owner of the café is a man named Gary Vanza. Alene’s family and the Vanzas have been quite close for over a decade. Alene picks up another neighbor from the airport and drops her home. Minutes later, she hears the neighbor scream. On rushing to her aide, Alene sees the reason for the commotion – Gary is lying dead in a pool of blood in the neighbor’s house.

As a series debut, the emphasis here is on character introduction, backstory, and series-scene setting. I loved the mystery and the amateur sleuthing and gathering of clues that finally leads Alene to the killer. Speaking of killer, their identity was a huge surprise.

The list of suspects is long – the victim was married thrice and had children from his first two marriages. The third wife had a grown son when she married Gary. His kids are not well-to-do and live on “daddy’s handouts.” The third wife is no angel either. She had an affair with Alene’s husband – when Alene heard of it, she divorced her cheating jackass of a husband.

Multiple characters and many side stories. There were far too many negative characters for my liking. The Vanza clan seem to be a toxic bunch. The same goes for Alene’s ex-husband. Now that I think of the story, it did seem like most of the men in this series were “man-child” – the emotionally immature and irresponsible kind.

The niggles I had with this story is the vast number of characters (I had a hard time remembering who’s who) and too many negative characters. Some of them are downright annoying and rude – and yet Alene puts up with their behavior because they are ‘grieving.’

Overall, a good start to the series. As of posting this review, I have already read the next two books. So, I will say this: I love this series – characters, side stories, mystery and storytelling are simply fantastic.

I received a copy of Battered from Lori of Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours on request.

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