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Mack’s Bar Mysteries Books In Order

Publication Order of Mack’s Bar Mysteries Books

Murder On the Rocks (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder with a Twist (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In the Drink (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Shots in the Dark (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Toast to Murder (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The name Allyson K. Abbott is actually a pseudonym under which real-life author Beth Amos writes. Do you see what the initials of the pseudonym spell out? I’m sure she would like us to think that it’s just a happy coincidence. Beth started out as a book analyst, she ventured into nonfiction freelance writing and finally, she arrived at where she is today in her writing career, a published fiction writer. When she is not busy cooking up thrilling stories for us, she works in the hospital as an ER nurse. Superhero ER nurse by day, writer extraordinaire by night.

The other mystery book series that she has under her belt is the Mattie Winston series, written under the pseudonym, Anneliese Ryan and published by Kensington Books which also publishes the Mack’s Bar series. One central theme in all her books is that somebody always dies. I’m not too sure her patients in the ER would be thrilled to know that their nurse spends her time away from the hospital researching ways to kill people.

Mack’s Bar Mysteries is a book series, set in Milwaukee and composed around the life of strong, eccentric, and lovable bar owner, Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton, the red head with an attitude. The bar owner turned part-time detective literally has a nose for trouble, kind of like the police dog recruits. She is either blessed or cursed (whichever way you want to see it) with the neurological defect, synesthesia. You might be wondering what this is, don’t worry I’ll tell you all about it. Synesthesia is a kind of neurological defect where things that are seen, heard, smelled, felt, or tasted stimulate a completely different sense. For example, hearing a sound can evoke sensations of color. It’s quite a rare condition, I hear beloved Marilyn Monroe also suffered the same thing.

The first book in the Mack’s Bar Mysteries series, Murder on the Rocks explains it better than I can. The part where Mack is explaining her condition to the detective, who surprisingly does not deem her crazy, is really just the writer sharing her vast medical knowledge on the neurological glitch that is synesthesia with her readers. Good thing we have a nurse for a writer, we can actually rely on the knowledge.

Mack took over her father’s bar after his death a few months before. She has a great relationship with her regular patrons. The characters of the patrons do a good job at imitating real life. Almost everything is relatable. They spend their time at the bar solving simple, trivial mysteries and brain teasers after which the winner of the day is gifted a free meal and a drink. However, nothing prepares them for the real-life sticky situation that hits when Mack discovers the cold, dead body of a man in the alleyway close the bar. Ironically, it’s the same spot that her father’s body was discovered in just eight months before.

When detective Duncan Albright jumps on the case, Mack’s interest is piqued and she enlists her help in solving the case. He surprisingly does not think she is crazy and he thinks her nose and other weird sense organs could be instrumental in solving the case. He also thinks that the crime might be connected to her father’s own death months before.

The murder weapon can not be linked to any of the bar patrons thankfully but things get sticky when Mack’s fingerprints are discovered all over the weapon. How did that happen? Did she do it? If not, who is trying to frame her?

At least the police give her a chance to prove herself and redeem her name. She works closely with them and they quickly take a liking to her, stopping by the bar frequently for coffee, especially Detective Duncan. Their chemistry is undeniable and far more appreciable than what she has with her paramedic boyfriend. Another medical reference by ER nurse, Beth Amos.

The mystery in the plot of the series is so attention-grabbing. Even if you think you have a good guess at who the killer is, you get immediately thrown off by secondary characters. It truly has the makings of an awesome read coupled with the spicy, yet lovable protagonist.

The series presently consists of five books. The first one being Murder on the Rocks and the last one, A Toast to Murder. Do you see how cleverly Allyson aka Beth Amos used bar puns in the titles? All the books in the series are named similarly and I personally think it’s genius.

The friendship that the police men struck up with Mack in the first book was an absolutely clever lead to the storyline of the other books. The policemen come to the bar to discuss their new cases and are always lucky enough to pique Mack’s interest

The second book follows Mack helping out in the case of a kidnapped child. Even though she was completely fazed by the crime in the first book, nothing stops her from offering up her special talent. I love how the series throws a positive light on synesthesia.

Allyson makes it hard to forget the characters in previous installments. They are a bunch of unique people who all have something to contribute to the amazing storyline plus, you get to grow with them through the entire series. Did I forget to tell you one of my favorite things about the series? It contains drink recipes! That’s right, all the drinks made in the story, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, have recipes attached to them. If that’s not a major plus for this book, I don’t know what is.

Allyson K. Abbott, or should I say, Beth Amos knows just how to keep her readers coming back for more. Her writing evokes such a wide range of emotions that will keep you entranced. You would not want to put the book down. All you feel is equal parts dread for the story coming to a close and anticipation for what the close of the chapters will bring. After reading one, get ready for the nerve-wracking anticipation for the next book. It will happen.

Sadly, there have been no movie adaptations of the books yet. Fingers crossed it catches the eye of some big movie producer real soon. Who wouldn’t love to see our favorite ass-kicking, detective/bar owner light up the screens?

I recommend picking up the books in the Mack’s Bar Mysteries series at your local bookstores or online. You will not be disappointed, you have my word. Have fun falling in love with Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton’s wild journey.

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