Book Review — Last Call (Murder on the Rocks #2) by Cathi Stoler

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Fiction, Murder Mystery, Amateur Slueth

Bar None, set in the heart of New York City, is an edge-of-your-seat mystery that features It’s New Year’s Day and Jude Dillane, owner of The Corner Lounge, is cleaning up after last night’s celebration when she discovers the body of a man with a knife through his heart in the dumpster out back. She recognizes the victim immediately—it’s Michael Bevins, younger brother of her customer and neighbor, Art Bevins. Devastated, Jude becomes even more horrified when she learns that Michael is the latest victim of the New Year’s Eve Serial Killer whose horrible crimes stretch back more than twenty years. Determined to find this monster, Jude risks her life as she gathers evidence that leads her closer and closer to the killer and the staggering truth that he may be someone very close to home.

Via the Publisher

I was so excited to dive back into the world of Jude Dillane and The Corner Lounge. The second book in the “A Murder on the Rocks Mystery” series did not disappoint and is even faster-paced than the first in my opinion. We are reintroduced to Jude post-New Year’s Eve, after a night of serving drinks to celebrating patrons when she finds the dead body of one of those patrons in the dumpster outside. It turns out this murder is similar to previous NYE murders throughout the years and is the work of a serial killer aptly named the New Year’s Eve Serial Killer. Jude unwittingly gets swept up into the investigation because it was her chef’s knife that was used as the weapon and the killer keeps sending her threatening messages that assume she saw something.

I was frustrated with Jude and some of the reckless situations she put herself into, but it’s not her fault that someone was targeting her. One thing that nagged me was how easy it was to shake the FBI security detail. I imagined that he would have been out of sight, out of mind but still keeping an eye out.

What I love about these novels is the setting– the explanations of the food and drinks, the descriptions of the customers, and the New York scene are so fun. You also have characters like Jude, Sully, and Eric who are real– they are frustrating, headstrong, compassionate, and lovable. I can’t wait to read more of the series!

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