Author: Avon Gale
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 3 hours and 37 minutes
At a Glance: I absolutely recommend adding this one to your list. Gale’s writing is, as always, funny, engaging, and so easygoing and enjoyable. Coupled with Kirt Graves’ fabulous narration, it’s a totally worthwhile way to spend an afternoon.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: 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 aims ultimately 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 are to his taste.
Review: What a cool little book. Before reading Whiskey Business I knew almost nothing about bourbon making, the Bourbon Trail, or why whiskey and horse racing are practically synonymous with Kentucky. Now I feel like I do. I mean, I’m not going to be teaching a class, or giving distillery tours any time soon! But, I do have a tiny nugget of knowledge on the subject now, at least. When I picked this audio up, I had no doubt it was going to be fun—it’s Avon Gale, so…—but it was even quirkier and more unique than I’d hoped for. Such an enjoyable listen.
The States of Love line from Dreamspinner Press has been such a hit, and Whiskey Business is definitely my fave so far of the ones I’ve read. Gale clearly loves her home state of Kentucky, and it was obvious that it was another subject on which the author’s knowledge is vast. She doesn’t only know her hockey, guys; Ms. Gale’s interests clearly include bourbon as well! And, with her story of Hangman Bourbon, Gallows Grove and the townsfolk there, including the fabulous Ryder Waites, she has brought one of Kentucky’s favorite pastimes to light in such a fun and memorable way.
I adooooooored Ryder. He was just a genuinely good egg. He truly loves his town, and Hangman, and so badly wants to do something great for Gallows Grove. So, when the opportunity comes up to sell the recipe for Hangman to Bluegrass Bourbon out of Lexington, and possibly secure Gallows Grove a spot on the Bourbon Trail, Ryder goes for it. Bluegrass wants to make sure that everything is as it should be with Ryder’s operation, though, so they send a guy out to do some investigation and data gathering. That guy is Adam Keller.
Adam was also fantastic. Initially, he comes off as a total stuffed shirt, which maybe isn’t so surprising considering that his parents sit among Lexington’s elite, as the Kellers of Keller Farms, a successful thoroughbred farm, but gradually Ryder gets to know the real Adam. The Adam that Adam wishes he could be full-time. Some of Adam’s reactions to Ryder, and to the town, cracked me up. I loved this, from the blurb: “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, this, his first impression of Ryder:
Ryder stood in the doorway with the midmorning sun shining around him, looking like some hillbilly avenging angel and hotter than just about any man Adam had ever seen.
There was so much fabulous dry wit in this book. And, let’s not forget all of the amazingly punny names for the town merchants, like the Last Meal Diner, for example, and Kirt Graves delivers it all in his awesome, sometimes deadpan, way. I’m not gonna lie, every time I hear his voice it makes me want to go listen to Wolfsong for a third time, but that’s just a testament to his always smooth delivery. His performance is so good.
I absolutely recommend adding this one to your list. Gale’s writing is, as always, funny, engaging, and so easygoing and enjoyable. Coupled with Kirt Graves’ fabulous narration, it’s a totally worthwhile way to spend an afternoon. 😊 Like me, I’m sure you’ll be wishing it was more than three and a half hours long!
You can buy Whiskey Business here: