Friday, March 29, 2024

Battered and Buried - A Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome Cole Barrister to Cozy Up With Kathy today. You can find Cole on the pages of the All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery series. Battered and Buried is the seventh book in the series and was released last week.

A Day in My Life
By Cole Barrister

Usually, my days are pretty routine, which is not to say boring. I enjoy my work, running the grill at my good friend Gia’s All-Day Breakfast Café. I have to admit, it was a bit of a relief when she coaxed me out of retirement to work the grill for her. Talk about boring! I had no idea what to do with my time. Now, though, my days are full and enjoyable.

In addition to working at the café, I surround myself with good friends—Gia, of course, and her best friend, Savannah, who is an absolute sweetheart, their beaus, Hunt and Leo, and Earl, who was Gia’s first ever customer and has since become a great friend, even Trevor, who runs Storm Scoopers, the ice cream parlor down the road. And then there’s Cybil Devane, who I met through Gia. She and I have been, well, dating, I suppose. We spend a ton of time together, often walking in the woods with her beagle mix, Caesar. I enjoy nothing as much as an early morning stroll through the Ocala National Forest with Cybil. While I’ve always enjoyed walking, I tended to stick to the trails. With Cybil, though, who’s been wandering the forest for most of her life, I’ve broadened my horizons. We often ignore the trail to walk through the more natural forest. I love watching the wildlife, boars, monkeys, even the gators.

But all that peace and enjoyment came screeching to a halt the other day when my nemesis, Rusty Bragge, and his wife, Amanda, who was once the love of my life, came into the café. Of course, Rusty had to cause trouble, like always. But seeing Amanda again really threw me, more than I realized it would. I would have gotten past it, though, considering my feelings for Cybil. But then Cybil and I stumbled over Rusty’s body while hiking in the forest, and I landed smack at the top of the suspect list, thanks to our encounter in the crowded café the day before. So, unfortunately, my days are now spent trying to prove my innocence. Thankfully, my friends rallied around me, and have pitched in to help.



The Seventh All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery
Gia Morelli strives to make every customer happy at her café, but it's not always easy. Rusty Bragge despises the food, the service, and everything about her café declaring she needs to shut down and return to New York! Gia soon learns Rusty has a history of destroying people and their businesses. He also has a history with her good friend and cook, Cole. A kayaking trip to try and get the nasty encounter out of her mind leads Mia and Trevor into the Ocala National Forest where they find Cole standing over Rusty's dead body. While she knows Cole could not have murdered the man, Cole has shut down and isn't talking. When it becomes obvious that someone is trying to frame him, Gia and her friends will use all their skills to uncover the killer.
While visiting the All-Day Breakfast Café is usually a relaxing comfortable visit with friends, in BATTERED AND BURIED my stomach was in knots thanks to Rusty Bragge and his vitriolic diatribe. I got increasingly nervous when I learned more about him and his plan to destroy the café. His death didn't even solve the problem. Though the café was probably safe, Cole's freedom was definitely up in the air.
It's a good thing that Gia is surrounded by close friends because a lot of unpleasant and downright nasty people turn up in the seventh All-Day Breakfast Café Mystery. Rusty is by far the worst of the bunch. He lies, cheats, and not only wants to win, but wants to utterly destroy his competition. Those associated with him aren't much better.
The mystery was finely crafted with a victim that everybody hated. So much was riding on solving this murder and I loved how everyone pulled together. I appreciate how real the characters are, with their pasts incorporating into their present, especially the ramifications of Savannah's trauma from the previous book in the series. Despite all the drama, there's plenty of comedy too, especially from a certain wily raccoon.
BATTERED AND BURIED is an emotional roller coaster highlighting the relationships of the characters as they do what they do best, solve murders and share great food. I look forward to visiting the All-Day Breakfast Café and spending more time with these friends.

 Battered and Buried (An All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery) by Lena Gregory

About Battered and Buried

Battered and Buried (An All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery)
Cozy Mystery 7th in Series
Setting - Florida
Publisher: ‎ Beyond the Page (March 19, 2024)
Paperback: ‎ 188 pages
The best-laid plans may go awry, but the best-laid clues could frame a man for murder . . . Never one to let a day off work go to waste, café owner Gia Morelli and a friend head out for a blissful kayaking trip through the local national forest. But the peacefulness of the day is soon shattered when they come across Cole, her head cook, standing over a dead body. Worse still, the victim was a lifelong enemy of Cole’s, and clues found on the body point to the cook as the culprit. When the police take Cole in and subject him to an intense grilling, Gia vows to do everything she can to prove his innocence. As even more incriminating evidence surfaces—including when the murder weapon itself is found hidden at the café—Gia knows she’s up against someone brutal enough to kill and devious enough to frame Cole for the deed. With the police ready to make an official arrest and wrap up what they consider an open-and-shut case, Gia turns for help to an old friend who’s not above breaking the law himself. Because if she can’t find the killer, Cole may go from serving up hot dishes to serving a life sentence . . .

About Lena Gregory


Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full-time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

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  1. Thank you so much for such a wonderful review! I'm so happy you enjoyed the story. And thank you for sharing the release of Battered and Buried!