Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Whiskey Business
SERIES: States of Love
AUTHOR: Avon Gale
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 104 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 28, 2016
Ryder Waites will do anything to keep the tiny town of Gallows Grove, Kentucky, from vanishing off the map—even sell his family’s whiskey recipe to Bluegrass Bourbon in Lexington. Hopeful that the larger company can provide necessary improvements to the distillery, Ryder’s ultimate goal is to get Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail… and bring in much-needed tourism revenue. But to keep producing Hanged Man Bourbon in Gallows Grove, he’ll have to convince company liaison, unbearably stuffy and seriously hot Adam Keller, that he’s worth the investment.
Adam comes from an old-money family, but he’s determined to make his own way in the world. When he’s sent to Gallows Grove, he questions the life choices that led him to a rented room in a funeral home, in a town full of macabre-themed businesses. And he doesn’t know what to make of Ryder, the descendant of bootleggers who’s on a mission to save his strange town from extinction. When Adam and Ryder put aside their initial mistrust, the results are as smooth as good whiskey. But after Adam’s assignment ends, he’ll have to decide if small-town life and a future with Ryder is to his tastes.
(Part of Dreamspinner Press’s “States of Love” Collection for Kentucky)
Ryder Waites is determined to do everything he can to keep his home town of Gallows Grove from fading into nothing more than empty stores and quite streets. Even if it means selling off the recipe for his family’s Hanged Man Bourbon. He isn’t going to just sell it off to the first person who offers, though, since he needs the distillery to stay in Gallows Grove. Anything less and offering up one the last pieces of his inheritance will be for nothing. When he finally finds a company willing to consider it, he is thrilled–not the least because he was quickly running out of offers–and a little worried. Because to make sure that Ryder’s distillery is actually capable of putting out the whiskey, the company is sending Adam Keller to check them out. If Adam decides that Gallows Grove is bad for the company, then they will move the whole operation–ending all of Ryder’s hopes for the town. Ryder isn’t gonna let that happen, though. Even when messy emotions start to make the whole thing about a million times more complicated.
Oh. My. God. I loved this so much. It was quirky and fun…and there might have been a few times I snorted my laughter over the fanfic references and absolutely awesome puns. I’ve not read anything of Avon Gales that didn’t involve hockey boys, but I snatched this book up, completely assured that she can write some pretty damn great stories no matter the context. I was not in the least bit let down. I enjoyed this book from start to finish and my only regret is that it had to end so soon.
Ok, that’s a lie. I also regret that Gallows Grove is not in fact an actual place that I can go visit. Outside of Adam and Ryder (who were, of course, fantastic) the many punny business and the absolutely charming backstory in this town sold me twice over on this book. I would love to visit this town, it sounded like so much fun. Gale did a great job of not only creating a place that would almost instantly make you want Ryder’s gambit to win, but which also felt like a real place–even if one that is completely absurd at time.
I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed this story. Gale has a wonderful way of crafting stories that are both humorous and heartfelt, and this one is yet another great example of that skill. It of course has my highest recommendation. Not that that is a surprise to anyone.