6 July 2016

Review #480: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Never trust any complicated cocktail that remains perfectly clear until the last ingredient goes in, and then immediately clouds."

----Terry Pratchett

Paul Krueger, an American author, pens an incredibly exciting and gripping young adult fantasy tale in his new book, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge that unfolds the story of a young female college graduate goes back to her home city where she starts working as a bartender for her long time friend's bar, with little idea that the bartenders as well as her friend are actually involved in protecting the city from deadly demons with the magical powers of cocktails.


A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

Bailey Chen has just got back to Chicago, her home city, after finishing and graduating with a business degree. Unfortunately, she isn't so lucky when it came to jobs, thus she moved back to her parents' house, and to earn some money and to save time, her long-time friend-cum-ex-boyfriend, Zane, offers her a job in his bar called the Nightshade Lounge as a bartender's job. Bailey takes up the offer but little did she knew that Zane as well as the bartenders in his bar are actually tremens (pink elephants) slayers thereby protecting the city of Chicago with the help of some magical power inducing recipes of cocktails from a book of mixology containing some old cocktail folklore. And soon Bailey to learn her hands on mixing vodka, rum, whiskey and other ingredients together to protect the city by slaying those demonic beasts. But it seems there is a whole new agenda to steal and make the one of the most powerful magical cocktail to attain immense power like immortality, can these group of supernatural bartenders stop them or those demons?

The story line, the plot might sound a bit vague, and yes that it did to me, but as you know, I'm forever arrested to the unusual story lines, especially when it comes to fantasy. Every time a fantasy YA or new adult book comes up, it always feels like "been there, read that!" but this time, Paul Krueger really created something magical with the right ingredients, I mean the idea. The story line revolves around bartenders who are supernatural and can mix cocktails in a way that they will induce magical qualities or powers to those who drink them. And yes, thank god, in this book, instead of vampires or werewolves, there is a new kind of supernatural creature called tremens. So that's really fresh and I applaud the author for his creative imaginative skills and for giving them wings in the form of a compelling story.

The author's writing style is really articulate and is laced with a bit of tension mixed with mystery that is unraveled rather at a gradual momentum with the progress of the story and that really kept me hooked till the very end. The narrative style of the author is free flowing and quite engaging and is often hilarious, and I believe the modern day youth can easily relate to those real-life dialogues. The pacing is really fast as there are so many adrenaline rushing moments and events that kept me on my edges till the very end, although those moments or scenes lacked depth terribly.

The world building is really well structured with proper and enough logical explanations that I easily comprehended with. The world that the author created is modern and that exists behind the darkness and the shadows of a night, where demons lurk the cities which are aware about the magical cocktails and want to drain or rather say suck them from those who drink it, and thus there comes the bartenders who uses those powers to kill those demons. The development of such a fantasy world is believable as it is backed by enough supporting story from old folklore and real life facts.

Now the characters here are not the stronger aspect of this book, as they lack depth or back stories that will make the relatable in the eyes of the readers. The main character, Bailey, is not only brave but also has a witty and sharp mind, yet she is kinda loser when it comes to real life issues. Her demeanor felt a bit vague and neither her backstory supported her character. The character of Zane is someone who the readers will start hating after few chapters, but later evolves into a saint, moreover the rest of the characters are okay, and so many logic or reasons are missing as to why or how they became what they are doing presently in the story line. This is here the author could have penned a few more pages about each and every one from that group of badass bartenders for his readers.

In a nutshell, the story is captivating, completely edgy with an unusual and unique story line that will keep the readers rooting almost till the very shocking and dramatic climax.

PS: You can't miss this book, when you'll know that the author has included the correct and striking recipes of some of your favorite poison, I mean, your favorite cocktail drinks, that you order the bartender to serve you almost every other Friday night!

Verdict: A promising read that involves magical cocktails and supernatural bartenders.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Paul Krueger and his publishers, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Author Info:
Paul Krueger is a fantasy author and lapsed Chicagoan currently living in Los Angeles. His short fiction has appeared in SWORD & LASER and NOIR RIOT. His debut novel, LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE, will be published by Quirk Books in June of 2016.

His non-writing hobbies include cooking, D&D, karaoke, and collecting comics. He's also a musician, fronting the Adventure Time-themed punk band Lemonbadd.

If found, Paul should be returned to Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary.
Visit him here 

Book Purchase Links:


  1. Oh nice! I picked this one up awhile back since I thought it sounded interesting. Glad to hear that it was. A lot of people have mentioned the lack of reasoning behind these "magical" bartenders, but hopefully it won't detract too much from the story for me once I get around to reading it! Lol! Great review!

  2. Ohh great review! Now I am really intrigued about this book after reading your review, it looks and sounds absolutely fantastic! Thank you for your awesome post.


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