Part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part Harry Potter, with a dash of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge introduces the secret world of magical mixology, where a screwdriver bestows super-strength, a martini induces invisibility, and a perfectly conjured Long Island iced tea is rumoured to impart immortality on the drinker.
College graduate Bailey Chen is not living the dream. She’s had to move back in with her parents and take a job at the Nightshade Lounge while she hunts for her dream gig. Working under the supervision of high school best friend Zane, Bailey soon discovers that there’s more to working at a bar than she expected. Zane and his friends are members of a secret society of bartenders that use alcohol to fight bloodthirsty monsters that roam the streets of Chicago. In order to stop a recent string of attacks on the city and keep the Long Island iced tea recipe from falling into the wrong hands, Bailey must reconcile the differences between who she is and who she expects to be.
I’ve been very fortunate of late to end up on the mailing lists for various publishers and authors, and have (as regular readers will notice) partaken in several blog tours this year. I’ve got a stack of books which I’ve got carefully scheduled in over the next few months, so when I got an email from Quirk Books asking if I’d like to read Paul’s book, I added it to the pile.
Then I took a sneak peek. After all, it was hard to resist the premise of magical mixologists coming up with cocktails to fight against the supernatural. A mix of Buffy, Harry Potter and Scott Pilgrim? Colour me intrigued.
That sneak peek turned into a couple of hours. Paul has come up with a book that cracks and fizzles along like a sparkler in a slightly too colourful drink. I loved the characters and the diversity amongst them. Bailey Chen had just the right amount of smart-assed sass. Bucket was… well, Bucket. (I adored Bucket in particular). The bad guys were suitably evil and bad, the cocktail recipes were a lovely touch, along with the magical meaning behind them.
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is a huge amount of fun. A sharp, snappy urban fantasy with a lovely twist. Recommended.
Paul Krueger is a fantasy writer and cocktail connoisseur who lives in Los Angeles.
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is his debut novel. Follow Paul on Twitter @notlikeFreddy.
thanks to Paul and Quirk Books for the copy in exchange for a review. Opinions are, of course, my own.