Book Review

Pint Of No Return

Pint of No Return

  • Author: Dana Mentink
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Publication Date: May 25, 2021
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media
  • Series: Shake Shop Mystery #1

CONTENT WARNING: infidelity, murder 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she’s left one of ex’s businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad’s life seems to be churning along smoothly.

That is, until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad’s fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it’s going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer. 

So I’m clearly a sucker for a good cozy mystery. I love the gory, gritty thrillers, but sometimes I just want to settle down with a book that is a little lighter and fluffier, with a punny title and some kind of adorable pet involved in the story. And I found exactly what I was looking for with this book. It checked off all the boxes for things that I like in a cozy mystery, and completely missed the pitfalls.

Starting with the title, I knew I wanted to read this. It centers around a Cuban American woman who finds herself in the Pacific Northwest, picking up the pieces of her life after a divorce. The other ex-wives also live in this small town, making for some tension right off the bat, especially since everyone seems to know everyone’s business. That’s how things work in small towns, right? And speaking of small towns, we have a delightful cast of quirky characters. There’s even a tiny hint of potential romance in Trinidad’s future, which I’m seriously hoping for!

Trinidad also has an awesome dog. Noodles is a service dog drop-out, but he’s still retained some of his training. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him, especially when he tries to help Trinidad in the most random ways, like hiding the mail because it stresses her out. As a dog lover, I can’t resist a good story that portrays a dog realistically, as this one did. 

The story itself was a great one. Trinidad was a court reporter before her life got upended and she wound up in Upper Sprocket, Oregon. Naturally, when she stumbles into a crime scene, she manages to get inserted into the investigation and does a fair bit of footwork herself. There’s a minimum of blood and gore in the story, which I appreciated. It allowed me to focus more on the story and connections between the characters, although it was surprisingly hard to figure out who was behind the crime. There’s a lot of people who seemed shady, and although I spent a good portion of the story trying to guess the villain, I was surprised at the end. I definitely didn’t see it coming, but enjoyed the ride. I’m looking forward to starting the next book in this series, which will be coming out on May 24, 2022.

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