Summer Reads with Drinks, Part Two

There were just too many great summer reads and matching drink selections for one post, so here is Part Two. Book and drink selections were matched and tested by the same dedicated team that recently brought you Summer Reads with Drinks, Part One and Halloween Drinks and Reads last October.

Now let’s get to those recommendations.

Raylan by Elmore LeonardRaylan by Elmore Leonard

I love the TV FX show, Justified, and that is based on characters created by Mystery Writers of America Grand Master, Elmore Leonard. In the novel Raylan, Leonard gives us a little more depth. It does touch on some of the events covered in season two of the show, but there is enough of a difference that this is worth a read for true Justified fans. If you haven’t seen Justified, you’ll want commence watching immediately and reading the book, probably at the same time. (Criminal Element also has weekly recaps while the season is running—it’s on hiatus now—but binge on previous seasons.)

Vendetta Beer

Our matching drink here is made by the Speakeasy beer company. Of course Raylan drinks bourbon, and by drinks, I mean, puts the whole shot in his mouth at once, swishes it through his teeth so we can hear it and then swallows—once. I don’t know many people who could do much reading after that, but if you can, let us know in the comments.


Evil in All Its Disguises by Hilary DavidsonEvil in All Its Disguises by Hilary Davidson

The third installment of Davidson’s adventures of travel writer Lily Moore takes us to Acapulco on an all-expenses paid press junket, which takes a dark turn when one of Lily’s journalist friends goes missing. But you knew something would be drastically wrong when a snake winds itself around Lily’s ankle in the first pages of the book. Since Lily favors pomegranate margaritas in this book, and there’s an Acapulco setting, we stuck with that choice.

Organic Pomegranate Margaritas

Here's a video from an award-winning tequila bar that will help you make your own!


Don’t Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman

This Best First Novel Edgar Award nominee is about a retired 90-ish Memphis cop who decides to hunt down an old enemy who may have stolen a fortune in gold. It’s a charmingly hilarious read. We’ve paired this book with our favorite iced tea these days.

Memphis Iced Tea

4 bags of your favorite tea

A handful of fresh mint

One lemon, sliced

Fresh ginger

Boil a pan full of water. While that’s boiling, rough chop ginger and mint. Once water boils, remove from heat, and add the tea and other ingredients. Let steep for one hour. Wait until tea cools down, then transfer to pitcher and put it in the fridge. Serve over ice. Don’t serve this to your friends. They will want you to keep making it for them and you’ll want it all for yourself.


A Plain Scandal by Amanda FlowerA Plain Scandal by Amanda Flower

There’s trouble in Amish Country again when a buggy accident turns out to be murder. Computer specialist Chloe Humphrey steps in to help solve the murder and other mysteries impacting the community. The matching drink is Amish Punch and it’s usually made in big batches for group events.

Amish Punch

3 quarts water

3 cups sugar

4 packages orange flavor drink mix

3 cans frozen orange juice thawed

2 cans frozen lemonade, thawed

2 cans pineapple juice

3 bottles of ginger ale

Mix together in a giant container and serve.


Black Fridays by Michael SearsBlack Fridays by Michael Sears

Also nominated for the Best First Novel Edgar last year, Black Fridays is about a former Wall Street whiz kid who wound up in jail and is now trying to redeem and support himself financially. He also wants custody back of his five-year old son from his unstable ex-wife.  This book is a delight with…

Black Fridays Vodka Mint Limeade

1 shot of Vodka


One big sprig of mint


Fill the glass with ice. Pour in the shot of Vodka. Fill the rest of the glass with Limeade and put in the sprig of mint. The mint transforms this drink. Trust me. This also tastes fabulous without the vodka, but whatever you do, don’t leave out the mint. 

Once again, I would like to thank the drinks and reads team for the invaluable help. What are you drinking and reading this summer?

Deborah Lacy blogs at Mystery Playground, where all summer long guest bloggers are matching book recommendations with fabulous drinks. 

See all posts by Deborah Lacy for Criminal Element.


  1. Kim Hammond

    I see some new books here that need to be added to my TBR list. Thanks.

  2. Kerry

    Excellent, can’t wait to try them all. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

  3. Deborah Lacy

    @Kerry – It’s 5:05 pm here in Cali. Go for it.

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