“College grad Bailey Chen has all of the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend still around when she moves back home. But her demons become a lot more literal when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders. It turns out supernatural creatures are stalking the streets of Chicago, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and tequila lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will these supernatural powers be enough for Bailey and a ragtag band of mixologists to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? Includes 13 cocktail recipes from an ancient book of cocktail lore.”
My Thoughts: I almost DNF’ed Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. The writing is overly simplistic, and the characters are one-dimensional in the worst way. Plus, the rapidity of the plot is ridiculous. For example, Bailey goes from not wanting to work at the bar to being 100 percent on board with not just the existence of monsters but the fact that magical cocktails are able to vanquish such monsters in a matter of a few sentences. It was all just a bit too much for me to want to continue reading.
However, there is a charm to this very quirky book that worked its magic on me. Some of it is due to the recipes and the cocktail lore behind them. They are most definitely the highlights of the books, and I particularly like how detailed the recipes are regarding ingredients. Explaining why an olive is crucial to a martini or a lime is better than any other garnish is intriguing; so much so that I plan to try each and every recipe listed. Some of the book’s charm lies in the silliness of the story. Drink a cocktail and obtain magic powers? Where can I sign up for this?
As such, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge is a great example of a light summer read. None of it is overly taxing or requires much more than a suspension of disbelief. It is a fast-paced thrill ride of supernatural powers, demons, and literal as well as figurative power struggles in the city of Chicago. Bailey is a decent heroine – young, naive, a bit too self-absorbed, but with a surprising backbone and strong moral compass that lends itself well to fighting evil. With shades of Buffy and Harry Dresden, it is certain to appeal to a specific type of reader. In fact, when you throw in the cocktail recipes, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge may just be the quintessential summer read.