Book Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

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.

Now this book came as a total surprise to me, it wasn't on my radar and to be honest I hadn't heard of Paul Krueger before. I have to thank the lovely people over at Quirk for sending this one over! Broken down the synopsis as follows, demon fighting bartenders, mixology and cocktail lore. What more do you need to get convinced of reading this book?

Meet Bailey Chen fresh out of collage and on the hunt to find some meaning in life. She currently lives at home with mom and dad but wants to break out of this regime and goes job hunting. During the job hunt she is given a job at a local bar. Which is partly awkward if not a whole bit of awkward as her new boss, Zane, is her ex-boyfriend and they parted ways is an well awkward kind of way. Despite this Bailey takes this job to get some money in the pocket. Well is only it were that simple... After the bar closes Bailey decides to make a drink for herself. A drink called a "Screwdriver". She finishes the drink and something start to happen. On her way back home she gets attack by a creature and learns she has amazing superpowers. She doesn't know what to make of the attack and the creature that attacked her. After this encounter Zane tells her just what is going on. Zane and his friends are part of a secret society of bartenders who fight to keep the creatures/demons that Bailey encounter at bay and protect and safe the world. Now how do they do it. By making the perfect cocktails that grant the drinker powers. And no not the loud talking of naked dancing kind of power. Think of the superhuman strength, speed and even creating illusions. Bailey is a natural in making these cocktails and they need her. But for Bailey who might be a natural with her first attempt still has a lot to learn, can Bailey also crack the recipe for the alchemists stone? Having Zane around doesn't always make it easier aswell... 

I am a big urban fantasy fan but most of this genre of books all have the same bits and piece finding something fresh and new is rare find. Paul Kreuger does bring something new to the table with Last Call at the Nightshade Lounger, no question about that. I haven't encountered the fine craft of mixology with magic (though I think we all think that we are invisible once we have had a few drinks? *smiley face*). But for real now, the idea of having mixed the perfect drink to gain powers is new and you don't need to get wasted to gain the powers, it is all about control. Paul Krueger further build this Mixology with introducing how to blend your own cocktails as well and mentioning just what kind of power they grant. This former bit with the recipes was good usage of the space and the book itself, especially the bit of background on how some of these drink have come to be. 

Other parts that add to the story are the writing style and the pacing of the book. It is just as what I expected an action packed and adrenaline filled story. Trust me when I say that there is never a moment when the story just sits still. The tremens are watching you from the dark. 

When it comes down the characters. Bailey gets a lot of the attention as is normal with her being the main characters. Bailey is far from miss perfect, she has her flaws, some of which she know and some of which she is not so aware of having them. This make here a lovable character, not a miss know it all but someone who is learning about herself and the world and how to best handle some situations. Besides here there is a nice additional character cast with her ex-boyfriend Zane and the fellow bartenders-who-fight-evil. Zane is to be honest quite an ass but does most of things with an ulterior motive to get the best out of the situation and to get the bartenders further. The other bartenders all helped to build the story that much more, there are some nice dialogues between them and Bailey and lets not forget some of the awkwardness with Bailey and the current girlfriend of Zane... 

Last Night at the Nightshade Lounge is a quick and entertaining read. If you think that Urban Fantasy doesn't have a lot more to offer pick up this book and you will surprised. Paul Krueger comes up with solid story that will make you try to see if you got superstrength after you drink your screwdriver! 


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