Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Moonshine Shack Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads:  The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Homebrew Mystery #1) by Diane Kelly

Rating: Liked It!
Source: Publisher

Description:  In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright--until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new 'shine shop will be a smashing success. What's more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store's doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

The homicide detective can't seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie's longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn't talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I read another book from this author and enjoyed it so thought I'd pick up this start of a new series up.

My Impression:  You can't turn around in any tourist-y area in Tennessee without tripping over a moonshine place (all of which give out free samples) so I thought this was a clever hook for a new cozy series.  I've only done one taste testing but the samples were tasty and I even happen to have a mason jar of a mulled spice moonshine in my refrigerator right this second.  It makes for a fantastic hot apple cider in the winter.  I do find the popularity of moonshine fairly entertaining.  My black sheep Great Aunt's ne'er do well husband was a moonshiner (his nickname was Shine in fact).  My very respectable family was horrified - especially when he was arrested and the story was on the front page on the very same day his daughter's wedding was on the front of the society section.  But that has nothing to do with this book.

Kelly writes in a very conversational tone (which apparently brings out my ramblings) which makes for an entertaining read.  Hattie, her grandfather, and her friend Kiki are fun characters and I liked the development of her relationship with the main detective Ace and Marlon who patrols on horseback around the Moonshine Shack.  A few neighboring business owners were also introduced and I really feel like the series has a lot of positive space for growth.  

The mystery wasn't the most mysterious but while I guessed the who pretty quickly I really enjoyed discovering the why and seeing how the investigation unraveled.  It's a bit on the cutesy side which I enjoy but might not be for everyone.  This is a series that I'm really looking forward to continuing with as I suspect Hattie will have a talent for getting into trouble!

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  So far I've read two books by this author and enjoyed both.  I'll definitely be looking for the second book in this series.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like cozies that are on the fun side with a touch of cutesy I think you'll enjoy this read.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. This sounds very cute, especially the moonshine theme. I love that it's set in Chattanooga, TN. We went there many times on various road trips when we lived in Georgia.

  2. Sounds really like a positive and I loved your story about the moonshine.

  3. How cool to sample moonshines! Never had some before. Loved learning your family history.