Another intoxicating mystery featuring brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara—from the author of ToBrew or Not to Brew.


Brew pub owner Maxine “Max” O’Hara and her chef/boyfriend, Jake Lambert, are excited to be participating in the Three Rivers Brews and Burgers Festival. Max hopes to win the coveted Golden Stein for best craft beer—but even if she doesn’t, the festival will be great publicity for her Allegheny Brew House.

Or will it? When notoriously nasty food and beverage critic Reginald Mobley is drafted as a last-minute replacement judge, Max dreads a punishing review. Her fears are confirmed when Mobley literally spits out her beer, but things get even worse when the cranky critic drops dead right after trying one of Jake’s burgers. Now an ambitious new police detective is determined to pin Mobley’s murder on Max and Jake, who must pore over the clues to protect their freedom and reputations—and to find the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner.


Q: Aloha, Joyce, and welcome to Island Confidential. Can you tell us about your protagonist, Max? 


A:  Maxine “Max” O’Hara is a certified brewmaster who recently opened a brewpub in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. She is from a large Irish Catholic family—she has five older brothers, and the oldest is a priest. Her dad is a homicide detective for the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, and her mom is a homemaker.

Q: How much do you and Max have in common?  How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

A:  Other than the fact that we’re both Catholic, Max is entirely a figment of my imagination. If I met her, I think I’d like her a lot. She’s spunky, kind, and tends to look for the best in people.

Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

A:  They do. Max becomes more sure of herself, and also more sure of her relationship with Jake, her boyfriend/chef. Supporting characters evolve as well—even the detective she butts heads with in Tangled Up in Brew eventually “sees the light.” And in the third book that will be out next year at this time, the readers will see bakery owner Candy’s story come full circle.

Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean? 

A:  Ha, ha, ha! Um. Yeah. That’s all I’m going to say, lol.

Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

A: The Brewing Trouble series is set in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which is a real place. What I did, though, was invent an entire block of Butler Street (a real street) and plop it right down in the middle. It gave me a little leeway to invent fictional shops and restaurants, but anyone who is familiar with Pittsburgh could picture where they’d be.

Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

A:  Oh, that’s a tough one. I imagined Max to look a little bit like a younger Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White in Once Upon a Time). And Jake—maybe Adam Levine (without the tattoos)? I did a Google search and most of the male actors are too “pretty.” I think I’ll leave it up to the readers. Any suggestions?


Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

A:  I think “Write what you know” is bad advice. If I only wrote what I knew it would be an awfully boring book. “Write what you love” or “Write what you’d like to know” is much better advice. If you love it, it will show. And just about anything can be researched. I didn’t know anything about brewing beer when I proposed this series. The research has been fun!


About The Author  

Joyce Tremel was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. She is a native Pittsburgher and lives in a suburb of the city with her husband and a spoiled cat.

Her debut mystery, To Brew Or Not To Brew has been nominated for the 2015 Reviewers’ Choice award for best amateur sleuth by RT Book Reviews. TTangled Up In Brew is her second book.

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