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Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Baily Chen has spent the bulk of her life in school, obsessing about school and listening to her parents talk about school. But what is she to do now? School is over she’s back home in Chicago (living with her parents) with her newly minted Ivy League business degree and slim prospects. But - and I must stress this but, Baily’s found a way to stall her parents’ considerable push towards power suits, a corner office and an expense account….Baily is now the smartest barback at the Nightshade Lounge.

However, within the first week she discovers there is something weird going on with the bartenders she works with (well more weird than working with your best friend with whom you hooked-up one drunken night before you left for college and subsequently rejected afterwards – awkward). Like taking suspiciously long smoke breaks when they don’t smoke and coming back a bit scuffed up. Or partaking of the occasional drink while on the job? Just perplexing! And when Bailey accidently discovers the boozy truth of what’s happening – her quest to find her first corporate job will pale by comparison.

If you are looking for a fun summer book to read while sipping a Long Island Ice Tea this is the book for you! Cocktails, magic, demons and a conspiracy fill the pages of a book which I found to be a lively read, making me laugh about a time of life (finishng school and trying to figure out what to do next) when many mistakes are made and everything is in transition and awkward (almost worse than puberty because you expected to “have a plan”)… And this period in life is often filled with alcohol-based shenanigans – and in our heroine’s case (other than the birdbath incident) these shenanigans unexpectedly help her find her way or at least the trailhead to the path she will walk for (at least this portion) of her life. Which includes a bit of ass kicking- which I think is always a nice bonus!

But what I think adds to the book is the fact they have recreated the bartender’s bible – The Devil’s Water Dictionary – entries throughout the book telling us how to make the cocktails our heroes imbibe, their properties and histories. Now these enties should not be skipped as they contain clues to the mystery you are reading. Plus the tongue in cheek entries are just entertaining!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something light and sparkling to read!

— Amber

So, Amber's at it again, chasing me around the shop, waving a book at me, hollering, "You gotta read this! No, seriously, you gotta read this NOW!"

And, as usual, she's right. It's annoying, but I can't be angry because darn it, she's right. And this is no exception.

This time around she snagged me into reading Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger and it was exactly the right thing.  Short recap, Bailey Chen has graduated from college and is back home, living with her parents and working as a bar-back at the Nightshade Lounge. It's that rocky time when she, like so many 20-somethings, are at loose ends, still trying to settle on a career - although Bailey's got a great interview set up with an up-and-coming start-up that's really promising! - and to be honest, her judgment isn't the best right now.

But Bailey's smart and observant, and she notices that the bartenders take extended "smoke" breaks even though none of them smoke, and they sometimes come back looking a bit worse for wear. It isn't until she mixes a seriously out-of-this-world Screwdriver that Bailey learns what's really going on.

Paul Krueger has come up with an absolutely brilliant premise and the world he's built is far too much fun! You don't have to drink to appreciate the story, but you absolutely have to read the Devil's Water Dictionary entries that are scattered throughout the book. Not only do they provide great drinks recipes, but the history and backstory of each ingredient and beverage are delightful. And important.

Drat that Amber! Once again, she's brought me into a fabulous new world, and I can't believe I have to wait for the next one, darn it!

— Fran


In this sharp and funny urban fantasy novel, booze is magic, demons are real, and millennial Bailey Chen joins a band of monster-fighting Chicago bartenders instead of finding a "real" post-college job.

Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school.

But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out that evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and rum lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a "real world" job beckons?

This sharp and funny urban fantasy is perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and grown-up readers of Harry Potter. Includes 14 recipes from a book of ancient cocktail lore.

About the Author

Paul Krueger is a fantasy writer and cocktail connoisseur whose work has appeared in the Sword & Laser anthology. He lives in Los Angeles.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781594747595
ISBN-10: 1594747598
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Pages: 288
Language: English