Title: Murder Uncorked
Author: Michele Scott
Summary: A vineyard's success is jeopardized after the death of the wine maker and his secret lover.
The Take-Away: The good part of this book was the mix of recipes and wine pairs. It started well, but turned sour quickly for me.
The owner of the vineyard, Derek Maleveaux, kept referring to his family members as weird and unusual. I didn't see anything that lead me to believe that they were. If he hadn't insisted upon it, I wouldn't have ever thought it about them. I've seen stranger things happen on The O.C.
The story started with, with an excellent conflict and set-up, but it didn't follow through. After the first chapter or two, the writing became wooden, with lots of telling, and little showing. Nikki Sands, the female protagonist, plays amateur detective and seems to think she knows what she is doing, simply because a previous acting role as a cop and guardian aunt who is one in real life. Sands didn't impress me as an amateur detective. It felt too "deus ex machina" for my tastes.
The author did an excellent job working in the enormous amount of detail about vineyards that the reader needed to understand how devastating Gabriel Asanti's, the wine maker, death was. Without him, the vineyard could easily suffer financial ruin. The set-up for this plot point was excellent, and done without any info dumps.
Recommendation: Skip it.
Bonus Review: Magical Musings - Edie Ramer's review lead me to picking up the book. See her point of view for the other side of the story.
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