Author: Ryan Aldred
Genres: Mystery| Cozy
Print length: 258 pages
Publisher: Five Star Publishing
Publication date: June 22, 2016
Author website: http://www.ryanaldred.com/
Sand. Monkeys. Murder.
Ben Cooper was supposed to be on his Pacific honeymoon. Not waking up in a Costa Rican prison cell with no memory of the night before.
Then again, Ben never thought he would catch his fiancée with some clown — literally. Or that his friend Miguel would drag him to the surf paradise of Tamarindo before Aunt Mildred could ask why they cancelled the open bar reception.
But surely his friend and lawyer Victoria didn’t need to fly down from Toronto overnight. After all, the police would let him go once he sobered up and paid his fine. Right?
Except for the little matter of a murder. And Ben’s buying a beachside bar from the victim, hours before the man’s death.
With foreclosure looming and death threats piling up on the rum-soaked bar, they must turn to the wild idea that got them into this mess—building a business around those who’ve always wanted to run their own bar on a beach somewhere, even for just a week.
But to survive, they’ll need every skill at their disposal—including those they’d rather forget they have. GoodreadsThe plot: After catching his fiancee cheating on him with a clown (literally. This scene is both hilarious and sad), Ben Cooper calls off the wedding and crashes on his best buddy Miguel's couch. After wallowing for a bit, they decide to use the non-refundable tickets to go to Costa Rica, Ben's planned honeymoon destination, to help take Ben's mind off his problems and get as far away from his ex-fiancee as possible.
However, he runs away from one problem and straight into another. One drunken night is enough to land Ben in jail, with a possible murder charge hanging over his head, and his joint account with his ex-fiancee wiped clean. From what Victoria, his friend and lawyer extraordinaire, managed to piece together, Ben bought a ramshackle beachside bar mere hours before the owner, Antonio, was brutally beaten to death.
With Ben as a murder suspect and serious debt accrued with this bar purchase, it's going to take everything that Ben, Miguel, and Victoria have to keep Ben out of jail and this bar afloat. Oh, and there's also the serious matter of the death threats they keep getting...
The character(s): Ben is your typical everyman, just a regular Canadian dude with a predilection for rum and a magnet that seems to pull trouble his way.
Miguel is originally from Colombia, where he served some time in the army and learned a certain set of skills that he prefers to keep hidden from Ben.
Victoria rounds out the trio. All three of them were friends in university, but Victoria went her separate way after graduation, getting swept up in the busy life of lawyering (that's a word, right?) at her father's prestigious firm. She starts off as the stereotypical ice queen, but we see her begin to thaw as she works hard to keep Ben out of trouble.
The mystery: The ending didn't come as a huge surprise, but there were still plenty of twists and turns along the way, and there was enough happening to keep the story interesting all the way through.
Final bite: This book is the perfect beach read. It's light and fun and very funny, but there is some depth and great writing there as well. Definitely recommended.
Best enjoyed while lying out in the sun, with a pitcher of sangria or an ice-cold rum punch nearby. Consume tequila at your own risk.