Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

Fun but didn't really have that something extra. The whole idea that the perfectly mixed cocktail can give someone magical powers is pretty awesome. The idea that bartenders are part of a secret society that mix these special cocktails and wield these magical powers to fight monsters that want to eat humans? I can get on board.

Where it kind of lost me was the story itself. Bailey is fresh out of college working at the bar owned by her childhood friend and his uncle. She's currently looking for better employment when one night she accidentally mixes herself a magical screwdriver and has a run-in with a monster, which opens up a whole new world of scary. From there she learns that things aren't exactly as they seem and even old friends have secrets.

As I said before, it was fun, but it didn't grip me. Great concept, lackluster execution. I didn't really care about what happened to the characters or if they made it out of the situations unscathed. In truth, I cared more about the side characters. I did enjoy the tangents about the history of different cocktails and alcohols though. That was a nice touch.



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