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Murder on the Rocks

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Mack's Bar is one of those nice, friendly places where everybody knows your name. That's great when someone's buying you a round, but not so hot when you find yourself atop a list of murder suspects--with your fingerprints on the bloody knife! Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with a nose for trouble--literally. A neurological glitch has left her with extra p Mack's Bar is one of those nice, friendly places where everybody knows your name. That's great when someone's buying you a round, but not so hot when you find yourself atop a list of murder suspects--with your fingerprints on the bloody knife! Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with a nose for trouble--literally. A neurological glitch has left her with extra perceptive senses. So when she stumbles upon a dead body in the alley behind the bar--the same spot where her own father was shot eight months earlier--she can tell right away there's something fishy in the air. The lead detective thinks there's a link between the two deaths, and he'll need Mack's help to sniff out the murderer amid the crowd of eccentric regulars. But when all the evidence points to her as the most likely culprit, it could be an early last call for Mack--and celebratory cocktails for a killer. Includes drink recipes


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Mack's Bar is one of those nice, friendly places where everybody knows your name. That's great when someone's buying you a round, but not so hot when you find yourself atop a list of murder suspects--with your fingerprints on the bloody knife! Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with a nose for trouble--literally. A neurological glitch has left her with extra p Mack's Bar is one of those nice, friendly places where everybody knows your name. That's great when someone's buying you a round, but not so hot when you find yourself atop a list of murder suspects--with your fingerprints on the bloody knife! Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with a nose for trouble--literally. A neurological glitch has left her with extra perceptive senses. So when she stumbles upon a dead body in the alley behind the bar--the same spot where her own father was shot eight months earlier--she can tell right away there's something fishy in the air. The lead detective thinks there's a link between the two deaths, and he'll need Mack's help to sniff out the murderer amid the crowd of eccentric regulars. But when all the evidence points to her as the most likely culprit, it could be an early last call for Mack--and celebratory cocktails for a killer. Includes drink recipes

30 review for Murder on the Rocks

  1. 4 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts Growing up in Wisconsin my parents owned and operated a tavern, much like Mack’s Bar. Drinks, food, pool table, dart boards, regular patrons and visitors from out of town. Thankfully we never found a dead body in the back alley. Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has taken over her father’s bar after he was murdered. That case is still open but without any real clues as to the killer. When Mack finds another body in almost the exact same place and she is one of the suspects she tries to s Dollycas’s Thoughts Growing up in Wisconsin my parents owned and operated a tavern, much like Mack’s Bar. Drinks, food, pool table, dart boards, regular patrons and visitors from out of town. Thankfully we never found a dead body in the back alley. Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has taken over her father’s bar after he was murdered. That case is still open but without any real clues as to the killer. When Mack finds another body in almost the exact same place and she is one of the suspects she tries to stay calm and cool. She knows she didn’t kill anyone. But since the murder weapon did belong to the bar the suspects could be anyone of her staff or customers. When she explains to the lead detective about a neurological issue she was born with he actually doesn’t think she is crazy. He thinks maybe her hyper senses may aid in the capture of the killer. A killer that he thinks took her dad’s life as well. When he wants to go undercover and work at the bar she just can’t say no. These characters are so likable. Mack loves what she does and in a business like hers you have to. Days are quickly consumed by the work it takes to keep the place up and running. She does have a boyfriend who is a paramedic, but they don’t have much time to spend together. Detective Duncan Albright seems more Mack’s type and they do have chemistry. In fact, when they are together is sends quite a rush to Mack’s senses. Most of the regulars remind me of customers who became friends with my parents over the years. All their reactions and actions rang true to life. Even the part where they gathered together trying to solve the crime themselves with the facts available to the public. Learning about Mack’s Synaesthesia was very engrossing. When Mack explains the condition to Duncan the author is explaining it to the readers as well. It is a rare and complicated condition that at first thought must be awful but Mack has adjusted to it so well, it absolutely amazed me. I really enjoyed that the author brought some Milwaukee history to the story. Yes, Al Capone once owned a bar in Milwaukee complete with some interesting basement activity. It is not much of a stretch of the imagination to think Mack’s Bar just might be the place. To spin the mystery to include part of this history was a fun plot line to follow with a twist that brings the whole story together. A little different from a normal cozy, Mack works hand in hand with the police and they appreciate her input. The police also love the coffee she serves so they were stopping by often, even ones not involved in the case. This is a well written story with characters I want to know more about. Murder with a Twist has moved way up on my To-Be-Read stack. I am excited about this series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rane

    I was completely fascinated and hooked by the book bulb when I learned that the MC would have Synesthesia. Synesthesia:the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, a sound may evoke sensations of colour. Having learned about this from medical and even cooking shows, I couldn't help but wonder how it would be portrayed on paper. It was even better and gave an even deeper insight into Synesthesia and someone who has it. Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwau I was completely fascinated and hooked by the book bulb when I learned that the MC would have Synesthesia. Synesthesia:the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, a sound may evoke sensations of colour. Having learned about this from medical and even cooking shows, I couldn't help but wonder how it would be portrayed on paper. It was even better and gave an even deeper insight into Synesthesia and someone who has it. Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with Synesthesis, it gives her extra senses and her own senses a boost. Mack is going to need this boost when she stumbles upon a dead body of Gina her father old girlfriend, the mast matters even worse and strange, Gina's body was discovered in the same spot her father was killed in months earlier. Or both killing tied together somehow? And what does it have to do with the bar and the old mysteries. Mack must use her senses in order to catch a killer before the last cocktail is poured or she maybe next... Mack's life hasn't been a bed of roses since the sudden death of her father. So when the police have her as suspect one, Mack puts aside her misgivings in order to help solve the case. Mack was a truly solid character, real with her temper and compassion. Instead of flying off the handle or rushing into danger blind. She works side by side with Detective Duncan at the bar. Duncan sees that Mack's abilities may be able to help with the case, as along as both of them can keep their growing attraction under wraps. While a tad leery about the bar scene, it just worked with clues coming from much of the staff and bar regulars.Each of the characters were fleshed out nicely and gave tons of room to grow. The mystery itself had some amazing tie ins from Bootlegging legends of the past and a few surprises in store for the reader. Not to forget some recipes for alcohol and non-alcohol drink mixes in the back! I completely fell in love with book and looking forward from more from this series and to see what's in store for Mack, Duncan and the rest of the gang at the bar!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chatting About

    Overall, I enjoyed the story. The characters were interesting. I suspected who the killer was early on, but the author cleverly threw many suspicious red herrings in about other secondary characters to keep you guessing. I would read future books by this author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christina T

    A decent enough start to a new series with a very unique protagonist. The Good, The Bad, and Everything in the Middle: I've always been drawn to unique characters, particularly ones with some sort of "disability" as their inner character tends to be strong and full of perseverance. With Mack I've found a character I've never run across before. Mack has Synthesia (a very basic definition is a neurological condition where the person's senses are crossed often resulting in being able to see sounds o A decent enough start to a new series with a very unique protagonist. The Good, The Bad, and Everything in the Middle: I've always been drawn to unique characters, particularly ones with some sort of "disability" as their inner character tends to be strong and full of perseverance. With Mack I've found a character I've never run across before. Mack has Synthesia (a very basic definition is a neurological condition where the person's senses are crossed often resulting in being able to see sounds or taste smells among other things...it is more involved but this is the gist.) Her constantly having to sort if she were having a real sensory reaction to stimuli or a resulting secondary reaction caused by her Synthesia was really interesting. Mack did mention she spent her whole life trying to ignore the sensory reactions that weren't "real" but I would think after so many years some reactions would be constant. For example, her father, although he had already died months before this book takes place, I would think Mack would have one specific occurrence when, let's say, she hugged her father. In turn whenever she would see, taste, or hear that particular indicator she'd know it was her dad's "ring tone" so to speak but all of extra sounds, colors, smells, etc. were viewed as garbage distractions she felt she had to ignore. Towards the end a friend and her were putting together something to track them but I would have thought she would have had a basic list already. Oh and on a side note tasting chocolate when a good looking man talks to me sounds like a great way of controlling my blood sugars. All the flavor. None of the sugars. OK enough of that. As far as character development goes I thought Mack was done pretty well and left enough room to grow through the series. On a lesser degree, Duncan's character wasn't as fleshed out. I really don't know what he saw in Mack (other than she threw a temper tantrum and stripped in front of him and the rest of the police because she was considered a suspect)….and hey! what guy wouldn't appreciate a young healthy woman who strips in front of him after an hour? His admiration and attention to Mack felt a bit forced unfortunately especially since Mack went from nice to bitchy at the drop of a hat. I spent half the book liking Mack and half the book thinking she was emotionally unbalanced. The bar regulars were not really fleshed out and became stereotypical bar patrons to me. You got the floozy, the 2 brothers who are the wise old owls offering advice to everyone, the pushy boyfriend who was unlikable and you knew that relationship was doomed from the beginning, the crotchety cook, and the secondary father figure who happens to have book shop next to the bar. There were more but you see what I'm saying. None of them were fleshed out really well and none stood out to me. I'm hoping for more development for them in the coming books. The conclusion felt rushed as the majority of the book was setting up the "sting" where Duncan would pose as Mack's new bartender/server and Mack turned out to be TSTL. Why Mack? WHY? Once murder has been established you do NOT fail to lock your door. You do NOT venture down into the basement during a BLACKOUT. You do NOT assume your fake employee, who happens to be a cop, decided to just leave without saying good-bye. Especially since the night before he was the last to leave and made sure you LOCKED YOUR FREAKIN' DOOR!!! Ugh...I just can't with her. If this was a Friday the 13th movie she wouldn't have even made it to the half way point. Matter of fact she probably would have died during the stripping scene. In a Nutshell: Despite Mack's TSTL moment at the end of the book I will read the next book in the series. I'm interested in seeing how Mack's condition can be used in the future rather than being ignored and there were quite a few yummy sounding drink recipes included in the book. The coffee based Macktini sounded really tasty.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lori Henrich

    I really loved this. It was so fun to read a mystery set in my home town of Milwaukee. Hearing familiar names and locations was very cool. I loved Mack and the idea of her special abilities could help solve mysteries. The bar setting was a fun back drop. The romantic tension between Mack and the detective was not over done which I liked. I am looking forward to more in this series. Mack has been running the bar ever since her father was killed. It has been ten months since he died. The crime has I really loved this. It was so fun to read a mystery set in my home town of Milwaukee. Hearing familiar names and locations was very cool. I loved Mack and the idea of her special abilities could help solve mysteries. The bar setting was a fun back drop. The romantic tension between Mack and the detective was not over done which I liked. I am looking forward to more in this series. Mack has been running the bar ever since her father was killed. It has been ten months since he died. The crime has not been solved and it still hangs over Mack like a dark cloud. She never expected that when she went to take out the trash that her life would be in upheaval once again. Mack lives in an apartment above the bar that she shared with her father. She suffers from a particular disorder that causes her senses to work in a different way than most people. For example when she hears certain tones in Detective Albright's voice she tastes chocolate. Mack discovers a dead body in the alley behind the bar when she takes out the trash. When she finds out that it was her fathers former girlfriend it doesn't make the situation worse because she knows that she will be suspect number one. A group of regular patrons try and help Mack sort out what happened so that they also can be taken off the suspect list. Great flow and interesting premise. I LIKED IT!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Keri

    This is a new series for Beth Amos and I really like Mack, she is a red-head with an attitude. Not quite the humor of the Mattie Winston series, but still good. Mack has a condition called synesthesia, that when she gets sensory input it gets translated into taste and sounds and colors. Now Mack has a good handle on the condition to a degree and it adds to the story. If you want to read about an English detective wh0 also has it to an extreme degree, pick up Nigel McCreary and his DCI Mark Lapsl This is a new series for Beth Amos and I really like Mack, she is a red-head with an attitude. Not quite the humor of the Mattie Winston series, but still good. Mack has a condition called synesthesia, that when she gets sensory input it gets translated into taste and sounds and colors. Now Mack has a good handle on the condition to a degree and it adds to the story. If you want to read about an English detective wh0 also has it to an extreme degree, pick up Nigel McCreary and his DCI Mark Lapslie series. Will be picking up the next in this series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peggy R

    This book has been on the TBR pile for longer that I'd like to admit, so when it finally made its way toward the top I decided it was time to check out this series. I have to say that I enjoyed this book more that I expected. It grabbed my attention right from the first few pages and kept me hooked until the very end. I like Mack. She has a neurological condition that makes her character different giving her a unique perspective. In addition she is a feisty, independent red-head. The secondary c This book has been on the TBR pile for longer that I'd like to admit, so when it finally made its way toward the top I decided it was time to check out this series. I have to say that I enjoyed this book more that I expected. It grabbed my attention right from the first few pages and kept me hooked until the very end. I like Mack. She has a neurological condition that makes her character different giving her a unique perspective. In addition she is a feisty, independent red-head. The secondary cast of characters consists of her employees and regular customers. I enjoyed all of them and thought they rounded out the story. There are plenty of suspects to choose from and the author does a good job of laying out the clues to distract the reader from the killer's identity. I have to say that when the killer was revealed it was not a surprise but the fact that I had guessed the identity didn't detract from the story. I enjoyed this first book and look forward to returning to Mack's bar for the rest of the books in the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Brown

    Enjoyable start to this series! I like the fact that the main character, Mack, has an ability that makes her senses extra perceptive. It was different for a cozy mystery. I didn't think the killer was that obvious. The added bit about Capone was nice too. I will be continuing with this series and in fact just requested them all :-)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this book!!! Definitely one of the best cozy mysteries I've read in awhile. The mystery caught my attention right away. There were quite a few suspects to work through and even though I pegged the culprit fairly early on, it still didn't take anything away from the remainder of the story. Mack is a fantastic protagonist!!! She is smart, snarky, incredibly likeable and her neurological condition was extremely interesting to read about. Before this book, I was unf I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this book!!! Definitely one of the best cozy mysteries I've read in awhile. The mystery caught my attention right away. There were quite a few suspects to work through and even though I pegged the culprit fairly early on, it still didn't take anything away from the remainder of the story. Mack is a fantastic protagonist!!! She is smart, snarky, incredibly likeable and her neurological condition was extremely interesting to read about. Before this book, I was unfamiliar with synesthesia, but have enjoyed looking up more info on it. Very interesting that several musicians and well known people have the same diagnoses. I think that it puts a fun, unusual twist on a mystery and really I loved how Mack used it to help the investigation out. The cast of supporting characters really made this a fun read too. The local bar patrons are a great assortment of quirky people. Then there is Duncan. I love Duncan and there is no denying the chemistry that radiates between him and Mack. I love how the author set up future books by making the bar a relaxing hangout for cops and using Mack as a special consultant. The author did a great job of making the scenes continuously flow. Looking forward to starting book number two!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Awesome first book in the series. I really liked Mack, her bar and her bar regulars. There was some real chemistry between the characters and I can't wait to see what happens next. I also liked how at the end they went over how some of Mack's synesthesia reactions were at the crime scene. For as much as it kept me guessing whodunit, I was excited when my top suspect was guilty. Maybe I'm getting close to getting my arm chair PI license after all!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tari

    I've been wanting to read this for a long time now, and I really enjoyed it! I loved how all the bar regulars joined together in trying to clear all their names--everyone was a suspect in this book, since Mackenzie aka Mack's father's girlfriend was found dead out back by Mack's dumpster. Big Mack, as her dad was called, had been murdered ten months ago, but it was still a cold case. I liked the new friendship Mack formed with the detective named Duncan who went undercover as a bartender to keep I've been wanting to read this for a long time now, and I really enjoyed it! I loved how all the bar regulars joined together in trying to clear all their names--everyone was a suspect in this book, since Mackenzie aka Mack's father's girlfriend was found dead out back by Mack's dumpster. Big Mack, as her dad was called, had been murdered ten months ago, but it was still a cold case. I liked the new friendship Mack formed with the detective named Duncan who went undercover as a bartender to keep an eye on the crowd and observe people. (Personally, I'm team Duncan and think she should let Zach hit the highway lol). Mack's condition of synesthesia helped a lot in solving the murder and I'm sure the next four books will have her solving more cases. I just hope that she ends up with Duncan! I loved some of the bar regulars like the two older guys Joe and Frank Signiorello and Cora, although at first I didn't really want to like her, because I just thought she was after Mack's guy Zach or now Duncan. She proved very useful too. I had guessed fairly early on who the killer was, but of course I didn't have any idea of all the reasons. I'm anxious to read the next book and hope that it doesn't take me as long as it took to get around to this one!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    3.5 stars. Pretty good cozy mystery. The synesthesia condition was something new to me and provided an interesting quirk for Mack, the main character and bar owner. I will admit that I got a little tired of it, though, after the many times that Mack got a familiar sensation and remembered that she had felt the same sensation when she discovered the body. There were so many of these that I had to wonder how she had so many different sensations at one very short time. But it did help to make me wo 3.5 stars. Pretty good cozy mystery. The synesthesia condition was something new to me and provided an interesting quirk for Mack, the main character and bar owner. I will admit that I got a little tired of it, though, after the many times that Mack got a familiar sensation and remembered that she had felt the same sensation when she discovered the body. There were so many of these that I had to wonder how she had so many different sensations at one very short time. But it did help to make me wonder about each of the suspects---and there were a lot of suspects. I thought that they didn't really keep the "secret" of Duncan being an undercover cop, since he followed Mack everywhere, even when she interviewed the various suspects in her office. There was also a big info dump in the last chapter, tying up the loose ends, I guess, but I lost interest because there was so much. I will continue with this series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    Mack finds a body outside her bar. The evidence points to her as the possible murderer so it's up to her to help find out who killed the victim. During the course of the book, you learn about a condition called sythensia. Mack was born with this condition. This makes an interesting read. Does her condition help with the investigation? You have to read the book to find out. There is another interesting twist of events involving Al Capone. Plus there was the romance aspect of the book. Mack already h Mack finds a body outside her bar. The evidence points to her as the possible murderer so it's up to her to help find out who killed the victim. During the course of the book, you learn about a condition called sythensia. Mack was born with this condition. This makes an interesting read. Does her condition help with the investigation? You have to read the book to find out. There is another interesting twist of events involving Al Capone. Plus there was the romance aspect of the book. Mack already has a suitor, Zach, and then Duncan, the cop investigating the murder, comes on the scene. Who does she choose or does she choose either man? You have to read the book to find out. This was an enjoyable read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mooncat

    Honestly, I do keep an open mind when trying out new books and my standards aren't all that hight. Good characters, in this kind of book a bit fun and potential for a good romance and a plot that makes sense. If it's well written I'm on board. But this book here ... It starts and ends with the heroine. I would like Mack, the basics aren't bad, but jeez, she get's on my nerves. First with her unique condition she never shuts up about, second with her out-of-the-blue moodswings and third with her t Honestly, I do keep an open mind when trying out new books and my standards aren't all that hight. Good characters, in this kind of book a bit fun and potential for a good romance and a plot that makes sense. If it's well written I'm on board. But this book here ... It starts and ends with the heroine. I would like Mack, the basics aren't bad, but jeez, she get's on my nerves. First with her unique condition she never shuts up about, second with her out-of-the-blue moodswings and third with her tendency to summarize every other page what we just learned. As for the plot, sorry, it's pretty obvious from the first clue given who is the murder. So no points there either. She gets a few points for the potential romance, but there too, there are only weak hints that get ruines by the boyfriend she still has - obviously not for much longer. And sadly, there were also a lot of mistakes in the ebook-edition and that comes from me whose mother tongue is German and not English! So no, I can't recommend this one, it's rather like a first draw that does show potential, yeah - but still needs a lot of work.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Moondance

    Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton inherits her dad's bar after his murder almost a year ago in the alley behind the bar. Now she has discovered his girlfriend's body in the same place. Mack has a neurologic condition known as synesthesia which allows her to see sounds and feel odors. This extrasensory quirk may hold the clue to the killer. A sexy detective goes undercover in the bar to flush out the killer. The author is an emergency room nurse who also writes the Mattie Winston series. She does an excelle Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton inherits her dad's bar after his murder almost a year ago in the alley behind the bar. Now she has discovered his girlfriend's body in the same place. Mack has a neurologic condition known as synesthesia which allows her to see sounds and feel odors. This extrasensory quirk may hold the clue to the killer. A sexy detective goes undercover in the bar to flush out the killer. The author is an emergency room nurse who also writes the Mattie Winston series. She does an excellent job of fleshing out the characters and keeping the story flowing. The hints at a connection to Al Capone and his tendency for secret passages under bars during Prohibition led me to the killer early on. However that did not take anything away from the story. This is a good solid book and I look forward to reading more in the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shaye

    I loved this book so much! I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Mack is working her dream job and has just found out that the bar was one of Al Capone's hangouts, how exciting! Business will be booming now. With the murder solved and her bar extended what could go wrong? I have to see because there are four other books to read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    3.5 stars The amateur detective in this cozy series is a bar owner. The twist is that she suffers from synesthesia- a neurological disorder that affects the person's senses. Mack sees sounds, hears or feels smells, tastes or feels things. yeah, it's a little weird but i thought an interesting quirk to give the protagonist. Like other cozies, i liked the characters. the mystery was good. i had a feeling so i read quickly to see if i was correct. (i held back & didn't peak ahead. woo hoo!) I was also 3.5 stars The amateur detective in this cozy series is a bar owner. The twist is that she suffers from synesthesia- a neurological disorder that affects the person's senses. Mack sees sounds, hears or feels smells, tastes or feels things. yeah, it's a little weird but i thought an interesting quirk to give the protagonist. Like other cozies, i liked the characters. the mystery was good. i had a feeling so i read quickly to see if i was correct. (i held back & didn't peak ahead. woo hoo!) I was also curious to see how Mack's condition who factor in & help solve the crime. My one negative is that when the cop goes undercover in her bar, they literally tell EVERYONE the same exact cover story- word for word. (yeah...um...that's not suspicious at all!)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dorie

    The mystery involving Al Capone was interesting, and the supporting characters were all well fleshed out. And I liked the fact that the author is taking her time developing the romance between Mack and Duncan. The fact that Mack experiences synesthesia made the story that much more interesting. There were some plot holes in the actual police investigation that bothered me, but I will definitely be reading the next in the series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    A great read. There are many twists and turns and keeps you in suspense.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz Jones

    I enjoyed this one, especially learning about the main characters hidden abilities.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Very good start, great audio! Reminds me of the coffee house mysteries.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Hmmm... I enjoyed this book overall but there were also parts that really irked me. I gave three stars because it is the first of the series and firsts are often a bit rough. What did I enjoy? -the protagonist Mack was generally likeable and unique -the supporting cast of characters was enjoyable (and often more so than Mack) -the story moved along What irked me? -a police detective readily tells one of the main suspects all of the details of the case, without a second thought or any repercussions fro Hmmm... I enjoyed this book overall but there were also parts that really irked me. I gave three stars because it is the first of the series and firsts are often a bit rough. What did I enjoy? -the protagonist Mack was generally likeable and unique -the supporting cast of characters was enjoyable (and often more so than Mack) -the story moved along What irked me? -a police detective readily tells one of the main suspects all of the details of the case, without a second thought or any repercussions from his department (though apparently his colleagues think his technique is 'weird') even after Mack outright rats him out to one of his colleagues -Mack ignores some fairly obvious clues -Although on the one hand Mack seems to give complete, unquestioned trust to anyone who has walked into her bar more than 2 or 3 times, she also very arbitrarily turns against Gary, even though her father trusted Gary -Mack is moody -Duncan blames Mack's, occasionally justified anger on her red-headedness. That is akin to asking 'are you PMSing?' and is just as wrong a gaslighting technique -Mack tosses her empty beer bottles into the trash. Does Milwaukee not have a recycling program? Do the beer companies not have a deposit on their bottles? -Mack's treatment of Zach is really wrong (see the 'spoiler' for my thoughts on that, though it's hardly a spoiler as it's entirely predictable) -the plot often strayed away from the murder mystery and into 'a day in the life of Mack and Duncan' -see spoiler below re. my thoughts on the ending (if you don't mind the spoiler) (view spoiler)[ The first 'spoiler' is not one. It is obvious that Mack is going to 'end up' with Duncan. She does not entirely by the end of the book, but it is obvious that that is where the book is going. The problem is how Mack treats Zach. In her own words, she 'put the relationship on hold to see where things will go with Duncan'. So, now Zach is a Plan B, fall back position for Mack to 'settle on' in case Duncan is not interested in her. That is a despicable way to treat someone one. Go out with them, break up with them, let all parties involved know that you are seeing all other parties involved to give them a choice in the matter is OK, but to deliberately and purposefully string the other person along 'just in case' is just plain wrong. The second 'spoiler' is to do with the ending. Personally, it irritates me when the plot is resolved not by investigation by either the protagonist and/or cops (and in this case neither really seemed to actually investigate much of anything). Instead, as in this book, the resolution is almost an accident. For me 'solving by accident' does not have anywhere near the same satisfaction as 'solving by figuring it out.' (hide spoiler)] So, overall despite the issues I had with the book I also strangely enjoyed it. It is the first of a series. I will likely read at least one more to see where it goes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    This is the first book in the Mack's Bar Mystery Series. I actually read another one in the series first and wanted to go back to the beginning to meet all the characters and get the back story. I am really glad I did. This was a great book. It sets the tone for the series and we really get to know the characters. Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with Synesthesis. This is a real disorder that gives her extra senses and her own senses a boost, for example when you smell something y This is the first book in the Mack's Bar Mystery Series. I actually read another one in the series first and wanted to go back to the beginning to meet all the characters and get the back story. I am really glad I did. This was a great book. It sets the tone for the series and we really get to know the characters. Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with Synesthesis. This is a real disorder that gives her extra senses and her own senses a boost, for example when you smell something you might hear a sound, or when you see something you might smell an odour. The book opens with Mack discovering a dead body in the alley behind her bar. It turns out to be the body of Gina her father's old girlfriend. What makes this even worse for Mack it that Gina's body was discovered in the same spot her father was found fatally shot months earlier. Or both of these murders tied together somehow? Mack must use her senses in order to catch a killer before she is arrested for the murders or one of her friends or patrons is. Mack's life has been hard. Her mother was severely injured in an accident when she was pregnant with Mack and kept alive until she was able to be born. This left her with her neurological disorder. She and her father were extremely close and there was a certain amount of jealousy when he began to have a relationship with Ginny. When her father died, she inherited the bar. There have been many incidents since his death that have caused Mack to lose money and put her in a tricky situation. When Ginny's body is found, all signs point to Mack as the murderer. Mack decides that if she wants to be cleared, she needs to help the police. With the hunky police detective, Duncan Albright going undercover as the new employee, she interrogates her customers and staff. Duncan sees that Mack's abilities may be able to help with the case, as along as both of them can keep their growing attraction under wraps. The quirky patrons of Mack's bar add interest to the story. Each of the characters were fleshed out nicely and hopefully will continue to add flavour to upcoming books. The older brothers who are retired insurance salesmen are like uncles to Mack. Cora, the cougar is out looking for men and shares some scintillating aspects of her life. Lewis, the nurse and Tad the broker have stories of their own. They all team up to help Mack try and solve the crimes. The mystery itself had some amazing tie ins from Bootlegging legends of the past and a few surprises in store for the reader. Of course the recipes for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at the back of the book are a plus and look delicious. I will definitely make more visits to Mack's Bar to see what is in store for Mack, Duncan and the rest of the gang at the bar! This is definitely a book I would recommend to cozy mystery fans!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie and Louis Rigod

    When I began reading this debut novel in the series 'A Mack's Bar Mystery,' I did not realize it would be about a person with Synaesthesia, a type of tandem mixing of the five senses within the brain. Our sleuth, bar owner, Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton of Milwaukee, is challenged by having this condition. I had first learned of Synaesthesia, or Synesthesia (as the book spells it,) on a television news program. I found it fascinating and to see it put as a sleuthing tool on this murder case was captur When I began reading this debut novel in the series 'A Mack's Bar Mystery,' I did not realize it would be about a person with Synaesthesia, a type of tandem mixing of the five senses within the brain. Our sleuth, bar owner, Mackenzie "Mack" Dalton of Milwaukee, is challenged by having this condition. I had first learned of Synaesthesia, or Synesthesia (as the book spells it,) on a television news program. I found it fascinating and to see it put as a sleuthing tool on this murder case was capturing to my attention. This is the luck of having an Author who is an Emergency Nurse in life as well as a talented author! Mack, to her dismay, goes out to the alley behind her bar and next to the dumpster finds a dead body. She rises the cardboard covering but can see only her mixed signals from the stress and shock. Just ten months earlier she had found her Father shot in the same place...could they be connected? When the police arrive all is chaos and Detective Duncan Albright, handsome and sounding like melted sweet chocolate, at least to Mack that is, arrives at the same theory. Of course the most likely suspect is Mack, herself, and it behooves her to aid the on-going investigation. Detective Duncan joins the bar staff to see if he can garner an insiders knowledge, using the theory that a perpetrator often tries to infiltrate the crime scene to see what the police know. Also, Duncan wants to see if he can use Mack's abilities to sort out the killer. As I earlier wrote, this book kept my attention and I found myself fascinated by the possibilities. It was written in a way that a lay person could grow and learn about Synaesthesia and imagine how it would be useful and scary to have this condition. The story was very well written and I grew invested not only in Mack and Duncan, but the many staff and customers 'regulars' of the bar as well. Especially bar patron Cora and her side interests...Oh my! The recipes for fascinating cocktails at the ending of the book were an added bonus. I hope the next book in the series has Mack changing the food offered to a gastro-pub. What fun that would be. Do try out this book. Men, as well would be fascinated by the solid mystery. There is a fascinating ending that all will enjoy!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Narma

    “Drinks, Deception and Demise” In this first of a new series, we travel to Milwaukee and are introduced to Mackenzie “Little Mack” Dalton, who was raised in, and has inherited “Mack’s Bar” from her late Father, “Big Mack”. “Mack’s Bar” is a cozy neighborhood gathering place that has its own long list of regulars. “Little Mack” is still reeling from her beloved Father’s unsolved murder, which occurred 10 months ago, when she is thrown “Into the lion’s den” once more as she discovers a lifeless bod “Drinks, Deception and Demise” In this first of a new series, we travel to Milwaukee and are introduced to Mackenzie “Little Mack” Dalton, who was raised in, and has inherited “Mack’s Bar” from her late Father, “Big Mack”. “Mack’s Bar” is a cozy neighborhood gathering place that has its own long list of regulars. “Little Mack” is still reeling from her beloved Father’s unsolved murder, which occurred 10 months ago, when she is thrown “Into the lion’s den” once more as she discovers a lifeless body out by her building’s dumpster! The discovery is compounded by the fact that it is found in almost the same area where her Father’s bullet-torn body was found. The shock has stirred up Mack’s neurological disorder, Synesthesia”, that she has battled since birth, and was a result of her late Mother’s fatal car accident. It is a condition that affects the senses—for examplr, Mack tastes or sees sounds, hears or feels smells, and tastes or feels things she sees. Will this be a help or a hinderance to the case? Especially to hunky Detective Duncan Albright, who goes undercover to try to solve the puzzlement, and makes “In-roads” on more than just the murder. When the deceased is identified as Realtor /Big Mack’s girlfriend Ginny Rifkin, accusatory fingers fly in all different directions—some toward names on her client’s list and even one long finger pointing in Mack’s direction with jealousy and mistrust as motives. Why would anyone want to kill Ginny? Moreover, who would want likable, all-around good guy “Big Mack” dead? Could these two murders be linked in some way—maybe in a way “Little Mack “ isn’t even aware of? Should she be worried about her own safety as well as keeping the bar going on a fraying shoestring? What an intriguing character the Author has created! I’m looking forward to more stories centered around “Mack’s Bar”. The Author has also included some of “Little Mack’s” signature drink recipes and snippets from the Mattie Winston Murder Mystery series, of which you’ll enjoy and crave for more as well. This new series is one I will keep an eye out for—and I bet you cozy lovers will too! Nancy Narma

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Great little story. Did exactly what I wanted it to: relaxing, fun read that kept me distracted from reality. Refreshing new paranormal skill, engaging characters and a new way of handling the cop - amateur seuth romance. Can't wait to read the rest in this series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    ❂ Murder by Death

    4.5 stars. Excellent start to a series that could be a lot of fun. That half star? Only because I'm not a huge fan of the bar setting - it brings to mind that nasty, dingy atmosphere that smells like beer, smoke, and the sickly sweet smell of drunks. Blech. BUT, one can see the potential in such a setting and Ms. Abbott does an excellent job building her little world-within-the-bar with likeable, engaging characters. And I genuinely love the twist of Mack's neurological condition: synesthesia, th 4.5 stars. Excellent start to a series that could be a lot of fun. That half star? Only because I'm not a huge fan of the bar setting - it brings to mind that nasty, dingy atmosphere that smells like beer, smoke, and the sickly sweet smell of drunks. Blech. BUT, one can see the potential in such a setting and Ms. Abbott does an excellent job building her little world-within-the-bar with likeable, engaging characters. And I genuinely love the twist of Mack's neurological condition: synesthesia, the condition where the afflicted's senses are cross-wired so they can taste sounds, or see smells, for instance. It's rare to stumble across a new idea in cozy mysteries, and this is definitely a new idea - I can't wait to see what the author is going to do with this in future books. The plot combined the un-solved case of her father's murder with the more recent dead body Mack finds behind the bar. I love how it ended and that's all I can say without giving anything away. (view spoiler)[The tie-in with Capone legends was great fun! (hide spoiler)] I must admit I had it down to two suspects and the one I favoured was the killer at the end, but honestly, guessing right did not diminish this book for me one little bit. I did not want to put this book down until it was done, and then I wanted to read more. An engaging, fast-paced, well-written book that wasn't ever bogged down by internal dialogue rambles, "let's make a list of the suspects" or any of those other filler-devices so many author's use lately. I found it a genuine joy to read and I'll be eagerly awaiting the second book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was on the fence about this cozy mystery, thinking, did I really want to add another series to my already growing list of series that I already read? But I'm glad I did. I got this one as a Kindle sale book, I think it was $1.99. Yes I know, I quote the prices for books a lot. I have to quantify things and this is my way of doing that. I had it in my to be read pile but since most of my shows were on winter hiatus (some still are) for the holiday season, I figured this was a great time to star I was on the fence about this cozy mystery, thinking, did I really want to add another series to my already growing list of series that I already read? But I'm glad I did. I got this one as a Kindle sale book, I think it was $1.99. Yes I know, I quote the prices for books a lot. I have to quantify things and this is my way of doing that. I had it in my to be read pile but since most of my shows were on winter hiatus (some still are) for the holiday season, I figured this was a great time to start knocking off titles that I actually paid money for. I liked this debut a lot. I like Mack and I like Duncan. I love the cast of characters that hang in the bar, sort of reminding me of the cast of Sullivan and Son from the TBS show (promiscuous blonde, paramedic, etc you get the idea). I like how the novel wove the current mystery in with the history of Al Capone. The only thing that didn't sit well with me and I'm not sure if anyone else noticed it (I read a lot of the reviews and the ones I read didn't mention it) but how does Mack's dad get interested in Al Capone? It looks like Ginny, his then girlfriend, pointed out some books/sites for him to look at but you don't really find out why. I re-read the last chapter and it's not really addressed. Not a major point of contention but one that I would have liked tied up at the end. All in all, a great series debut. I don't mind the bar setting and while I usually only drink beer, the recipes were nice and more useful to me than the recipes in most of the other books I read (I don't cook that much anymore :)). I am looking forward to the next installment!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    4 STARS The suspense of the book is hard for me to judge because I read the third book of the series In the Drink first. So while I did not realize who the killer was I knew who was innocent because they were in the third book. While the books can stand alone I would read them in order so you don't know stuff ahead. I did enjoy reading Murder on the rocks and next I am going to read Murder with a Twist. So yes I have liked her writing style. The plot was interesting. Mack has a unique talent tha 4 STARS The suspense of the book is hard for me to judge because I read the third book of the series In the Drink first. So while I did not realize who the killer was I knew who was innocent because they were in the third book. While the books can stand alone I would read them in order so you don't know stuff ahead. I did enjoy reading Murder on the rocks and next I am going to read Murder with a Twist. So yes I have liked her writing style. The plot was interesting. Mack has a unique talent that I have never heard of before. Mackenzie Dalton owns a bar and lives above it. She is single. Her senses are all mixed up and more sensitive that helps her sometimes. Mack while taking her own garbage out to the dumpster finds a dead body. About where her father was killed 8 months before. She is a suspect in both murders but others who frequent the bar are too. A police detective Duncan is undercover at the bar. He wants to use Mack's talents to help figure out the case. So he asks her to ask certain questions to her friends at the bar in her office. The suspects decide that they are going to use a computer program to figure out who the real murder might be to clear there names too. It is a clean cozy mystery series that is fun, unique and keeps you interested in the characters lives and want to know more about them. I bought this ebook Murder on the Rocks.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rogue Reader

    Really wonderful book featuring Mackenzie Dalton, an amateur sleuth with an unusual neurologic gift- synesthesia - the odors and scents she smells have more than their usual meaning, and trigger tastes, sounds and colors. She's hidden this gift from others, perceiving it as a curse, but it sure comes in handy when she finds a dead body in the alley behind the bar she inherited from her father. Well written, characters with personality, a neighborhood bar that's a place of friendship rather than d Really wonderful book featuring Mackenzie Dalton, an amateur sleuth with an unusual neurologic gift- synesthesia - the odors and scents she smells have more than their usual meaning, and trigger tastes, sounds and colors. She's hidden this gift from others, perceiving it as a curse, but it sure comes in handy when she finds a dead body in the alley behind the bar she inherited from her father. Well written, characters with personality, a neighborhood bar that's a place of friendship rather than despair, a nice historical tie in, and drink recipes too. What more can you ask of a mystery? I hope I don't have to wait too long for more Mack's Bar mysteries. Beth Amos, the Stoughton, Wisconsin emergency room nurse who writes under various pseudonyms, wrote Working Stiff as Annelise Ryan. The first of the series had a great premise, and great promise - a nurse turned coroner's assistant. Working Stiff was a little too cozy and I'm eager to read the later works in the series to see how Amos' writing may have changed. Thanks to Kensington for the review copy, greatly appreciated! The next one's on me! --Ashland Mystery

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