Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger is a fun read that manages to tie bartending, demon fighting and fresh out of college angst together. It really should not work together, but it does and I enjoyed the ride the story took me on. Bailey Chen is newly graduated, in debt, living with her parents and jobless. Relying on an old friend she gets a bar back job at an old dive, The Nightshade Lounge. There she learns that demons might just be realer than she thought and that a well made cocktail may just save the world.
I really liked the plot of Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. It was a very unique take on the girl fighting demon story and I enjoyed that the book had some of the cocktails included. The writing of Paul Krueger was on point. He was able to meld very different elements together to create a very real world where demon fighting bartenders did not seem out-of-place. I enjoyed his attention to detail and that he featured a very diverse cast. The characters were almost all great, I loved Bailey and the crazy bartender named Bucket. Some of the characters though seemed almost hyper comic and did not fit in quite as well as the others. As mentioned the world built was very strong. The author had a great attention to detail and I could picture the scenes quite well. The pacing did have a few issues where time jumped a bit too quickly for my liking, but it quickly would find a balance. The emotions were there, but not super strong in anyone other than Bailey. A few characters were supposed to have almost a zealot quality to them, but they felt a little flat. I did find myself laughing out loud at a few scenes and one bit made me quite upset, so there was a nice variety going on.
I did really enjoy Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge. This was Paul Krueger’s debut and I think it was a strong one. I honestly hope this is the beginning of a series as I loved Bailey and I can see her leading the charge against a lot more demons. Now, there were a few small issues, but none that truly hampered my reading enjoyment. I can see Krueger doing big things as his writing career continues and I will be sure to keep an eye out for whatever he writes next.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.