Friday, March 13, 2015

Drinks with Reads: What the Fly Saw

Laura Brennan joins us from Los Angeles today to talk about Frankie Y. Bailey's new book, What The Fly Saw, and match it with the perfect drink -- Kahlua and hot chocolate. 

What the Fly Saw, by Frankie Y. Bailey, continues the adventures of Detective Hannah McCabe.  Although it has a stand-alone mystery, it’s not merely the second in the series: What the Fly Saw continues the story begun in The Red Queen Dies.  If you want to avoid spoilers, you should read the books in order.

This series departs from the norm.  First, it’s set in the near future in an alternate-reality Albany.  The gizmos and details of our world may be a bit different, but human beings are much the same, even in this parallel universe.  They still have complicated relationships with their families; sex, drugs and politics still play a central role in daily life; and people still murder each other to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their secrets.

Second, the mysteries themselves are set against ongoing societal issues.  Hate-mongering politicians are just a single piece of a larger mosaic -- one that includes Internet addictions, public health crises, and a national conspiracy simmering just below the surface.  The pleasure in reading them comes not just from figuring out whodunit, but from watching Bailey’s characters live and love and connect amidst all the chaos.  Her heroine, Detective McCabe, never loses her humanity even as she faces society’s problems and her own personal issues of conscience, lingering guilt and misplaced trust.  

What the Fly Saw takes place during a spectacular blizzard, and given the weather much of the country has faced this winter, I decided to pair the book with comforting hot cocoa… and a little Kahlua for extra warmth!

Kahlua Hot Chocolate

1 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons powdered cocoa*
1 ounce Kahlua
Fresh whipped cream
Powdered cinnamon for garnish

Heat the whole milk in a saucepan until hot, but not boiling.
Add the powdered cocoa; stir until completely dissolved.
Stir in the Kahlua.
Add a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Sip decadently.

*For me, the Kahlua adds enough sweetness, but you can use hot chocolate mix, which comes pre-sweetened, instead of powdered cocoa if you prefer, or if you’re omitting the liqueur.

Laura Brennan is thrilled to join Drinks with Reads and share Frankie Y. Bailey’s latest novel, What the Fly Saw.  Having an excuse to make Kahlua Hot Chocolate had nothing to do with it…  You can find out more about Laura at


  1. Thank you for a great post Laura! Love the sound of this book and the drink!

  2. The book sounds great and who doesn't LOVE hot chocolate with Kahula!!

  3. It's a great book. The Kahlua was just a bonus (but a very nice bonus...)

  4. Laura, thanks for selecting my book and giving it such a thoughtful review. Love the photo!
    And since it's still nippy here in Albany, I have time to buy Kahula and try your recipe.

    1. Keep warm up there! Although if the snow keeps you inside writing, I won't complain... :)