Emily George: A High Tide Murder

Cannabis Cafe #2

Quick disclaimer for this particular review: this book is a part of the Cannabis Café mystery series by Emily George. Legalized cannabis and its uses are a major theme in A High Tide Murder. If this topic puts you off, please stop reading. Right now. Medical use is the driving motivation, but it is also used recreationally by the café patrons. As the book cover, and many characters, emphasize: consume responsibly. This goes for reading about it, too. If you know legalized cannabis isn’t something you are comfortable with, do not read this review or the book. Cozies are meant to be an enjoyable escape, but not every book is for everyone. For those who do not mind, or perhaps even enjoy seeing legalized cannabis normalized, this is indeed a review and book for you. If not? Again, stop reading this.

A High Tide Murder is Emily George’s second Cannabis Café novel. In it, Chloe runs her cannabis Café called Chloe Bakes in town of Azalea Bay, California. She decided to pursue baked goods and beverages infused with THC or CBD ingredients in order to help make others in her community unwind and relax, but also to offer alternatives to traditional edibles for those who medically need it. Her Grandmother Rose’s cancer diagnosis is what pushed Chloe’s café in this particular direction. She did not like the taste of the gummies she took to alleviate the pain of both the disease and its treatment, so Chloe baked. Chloe baked and Chloe Bakes took off. There are many patrons who come through and let Chloe know that her products really do help those in need, even if it is just making them more comfortable with the idea of consuming a medically necessary edible. There are also plenty who just want to enjoy the relaxing properties of her goods recreationally. Everyone who comes through gets a safety and educational rundown by Chloe and her employees, and she has plenty of pamphlets so that everyone can consumes responsibly.

Business is booming as the local surfing competition is in full swing, and it is all Chloe can do to keep the Café stocked. Being so near the seaside has really helped her business take advantage of the event. However, her Aunt Dawn, Grandma Rose, and friends all make sure that Chloe doesn’t forget to have a social life as well as run her business. At an evening beach gathering, her friend Matt introduces her to his brother Ethan and his friend Aaron who are both surfing in the contest. Chloe is happy to expand her new social circle, which seems pretty easy as her friends seem to know so many. However, things take a turn when it appears that Aaron takes his own life due to the pressures and stress of trying to make it in the world of competitive surfing, or at least it appears that way to everyone but Ethan. Thanks to Matt, Ethan knows that Chloe is the go-to sleuth when the police seem satisfied a case is closed. With a note, no one else in the room, and a bunch of other circumstantial evidence, the authorities are ready to mark this case as a suicide. Ethan isn’t. After poking around a little bit, neither is Chloe.

Diving into another mystery has Chloe and her family on edge — the last time didn’t exactly go smoothly or safely. But Ethan is determined and, as the police seem less and less likely to even entertain the idea that the death might have been suspicious, she doesn’t have a choice. Thanks to Ethan and Matt, she has access to the surfing community and a look into the life Aaron lived. Which does not exactly help her narrow down suspects, if anything it gives her almost too many to juggle. Aaron had quite a few people unhappy with him at the time of his death, and had several personal struggles that even lend some credence to the thought he might have taken his own life. Ethan refuses to consider it, and Chloe is willing to keep sleuthing until they have answers one way or another.

Emily George writes a very realistic story of a young woman trying to run a cannabis café in a coastal town who just wants to take control of her life. Chloe wants to establish herself in her new home and start over after an imploding career and failed romance. Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps after such thing is never easy, but she takes it a step further by opening a cannabis café. She does so responsibly, making sure to educate her patrons and family about the product she sells. While concerned about her safety, Chloe is clearly unafraid of facing adversity, more so when helping others and doing what is right is concerned. Baked goods, mermaids, adventure, and an adorable Chihuahua await readers who pick up A High Tide Murder. Remember, read responsibly.    – Carla Schantz