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Brewed Awakening: 11/18/20
Brewed Awakening by Cleo Coyle is the eighteenth and as of writing this review, the final volume in the Coffeehouse Mystery series. Clare Cosi wakes up on a park bench unsure how she's gotten back to Manhattan after moving away with her young daughter, Joy. She knows she's near the Village Blend and she goes there for help. She's shocked to learn that it's fifteen years in the future!
This volume acts almost as a reset button, taking Clare back to before the events of On What Grounds (2003). Listening to Clare's memories brings into question the time that has passed between the first and last book of the series. I will address these gaps in time in a separate post.
Clare is taken in for psychiatric evaluation. The doctor in charge of her case orders her separated from all of her friends and family. He wants to keep her drugged. Clare, while she has no memories of the last fifteen years, is still smart enough to know something is shady with his treatment. When Blanche and some of the Village Blend employees help break her out.
Like in Dead to the Last Drop (2015), Clare has to help solve the mystery of her amnesia, as well as the circumstances of a woman's disappearance, while essentially on the run. That said, the authorities aren't written as all powerful / all knowing as they were in book fifteen.
The means behind the amnesia is completely fictional. That gives narrative freedom to have the cure be something that fits with the timing of other events. It's also more believable than more traditional reasons like being bonked on the head.
Ignoring the amnesia gimmick, the actual mystery is a satisfying one to solve. The gist is that the woman who owns the hotel where Clare and Mike's wedding is to take place has gone missing. She and Clare went missing at the same time. While some want to frame Clare's appearance as proof that she's responsible, it's clear that she's not. The clues to what happened to the woman and where she is being held are all there for the observant reader.