Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger


Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger // VBCLast Call at the Nightshade Lounge
Paul Krueger
Published: June 7, 2016 (Quirk Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amanda

Rating (out of 5): 2.5 stars

Bailey Chen’s motto has always been “Under promise, over deliver.” But it’s hard to do that when you’re a recent college graduate reduced to repeatedly calling a high school acquaintance to set up a job interview. Unemployed and living with her parents, she ends up taking a job as a barback at the Nightshade Lounge.

One night, she’s left to lock up the bar on her own and uncovers a hidden stash of liquor. One screwdriver later, Bailey heads home for the night and faces down a creature so hideous, she’s not entirely certain it was real. But it was, and she finds herself in the middle of a battle for Chicago.

At first glance, Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge sounds like a fun and unique urban fantasy. It plays on the idea that liquor gives us the courage to do things we wouldn’t normally do; in this case, each type gives the drinker a different power. Interspersed between the chapters are recipes for different drinks, some of which are helpful in fighting off tremens.

Tremens, of course, being those hideous creatures that like to prey on humans.

That, too, is a play on alcohol, especially when you throw in the term for a group of tremens: delirium. (Delirium tremens, aka a nasty symptom of withdrawal).

For all its cleverness, though, Last Call falls short of the mark when it comes to worldbuilding. It’s not a particularly complex or detailed world, and there’s some gaps in the backstory, particularly when it comes to the tremens. We never learn exactly what they are or how they came to be.

Bailey’s a solid heroine, though. Smart, resourceful, and while she’s occasionally given to moments of immaturity, well, you can’t expect a 22-year-old to be a levelheaded adult all the time. She carries the story well, and the witty banter keeps the pace snappy. And I particularly liked Bucket. The Canadian is so damn proud of his home country it makes for some pretty funny moments.

Last Call was a fast read; one I wish had lived up to its potential.

Sexual content: kissing

3 Responses to “Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger”

  1. Margaret says:

    I thought this book was a lot of fun. There was an explanation in the story for some of the holes in the world building and I thought it hinted at the elders keeping some of the details from the main characters. But yes, I completely agree that the holes are there.

  2. So bummed this didn’t work for you, because the concept sounds brilliant.

  3. H.A. Fowler says:

    You know, I got turned down twice for my galley requests on this one. Now I don’t feel so bad about it. LOL


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