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The Big Thrill Recommends: DEATH UNFILTERED by Emmeline Duncan

Recommended by Bonnie Traymore

Book Cover: DEATH UNFILTEREDDEATH UNFILTERED is the fourth book in the Ground Rules series by Emmeline Duncan, mystery writer and YA author also publishing under the name Kelly Garrett.

Resilient and likable protagonist Sage Caplin has recently opened a micro cafe in Portland’s new Button Building. She’s no stranger to adversity, having overcome a tumultuous childhood at the hands of her grifter mother before finding stability with her father, now a retired Portland detective.

When a perky young blogger named Rose arrives on the scene looking to do a story about Sage’s infamous mother, Sage is sent into a tailspin. Most people don’t know about her checkered past, and she’d like to keep it that way. Plus, she’s literally surrounded by people who’ve been shammed by her mother, including fellow micro-restauranteur Bianca and her mother’s former lover Michael, who mysteriously resurfaces just as Sage is launching her new business.

But Sage takes a liking to Rose and agrees to help—if Rose agrees to keep Sage’s identity secret. On the day of the opening, Rose stops by the cafe to grab two coffees for herself and Bianca, who she’s about to interview. Minutes after drinking the coffee, Bianca falls to the ground and dies. The story takes off from there.

DEATH UNFILTERED is a delightful, cozy mystery chock full of all the right ingredients: a clever plot, red herrings, relatable characters, a cuddly cat, and some actual recipes for the fictional food and drink offerings. The book is also a poignant commentary on the struggles of small business owners trying to keep a once-vibrant city and their start-ups alive in the face of mounting costs and declining profits. The book can be read as a stand-alone, but why deprive yourself? Curl up with a cup of java and binge-read the whole series. You won’t be sorry.


The Big Thrill Recommends: DEATH UNFILTERED by Emmeline Duncan