A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be approached by an agent for novel writer Steven Laine. She asked me if I’d like to review Laine’s latest wine mystery novel. I said sure. Last month, I got a similar inquiry and got to read Laine’s latest book. Today, I’ll walk you through my reading experiences. If you’re a mystery lover, you should definitely check Steven Laine out. He knows how to write mysteries, and he knows a lot about wine.
Wine Mystery Novel #1: Root Cause
I absolutely loved this book. Because I read it a few years ago, what I remember about it is pretty fuzzy. But the Amazon review describes it very well:
“Can you imagine a world without wine? Corvina Guerra is a flying winemaker who dreams of one day settling down in her native Italy on her family’s vineyard. On a visit to a vineyard in Italy, Corvina makes a startling discovery: Phylloxera, a menacing plant louse that devastated vineyards in Europe more than a hundred years ago, has infested the vines. The deeper Corvina and Brian search, the more they become convinced that Universal Wines holds the answer to everything, and the harder they pursue their investigation the more surprises pile up for both of them. In spite of devastating consequences, Corvina and Brian vow to continue their investigation and do what they can to contain the spread of the infestation – but time is running short and they always seem to be a step behind. Unless they can find a way to stop the Philomena – vineyards around the world will be ruined for decades; potentially causing the collapse of the wine industry. Can Corvina and Brian get to the root cause and save the international wine industry from ruin?”
The book was fast-paced and had many twists and turns. I really liked some of the characters, which kept me really interested in the book as I read it.
Wine Mystery Novel #2: Dragonvine
This book was likewise fast-paced and had many twists and turns. But I didn’t like it quite as much as the first book of his that I read. By the way, Laine has written many more books than just the two I talk about here. The reason I didn’t like this one as much is there were too many characters I didn’t like. If you’re a serious mystery reader, this won’t be a problem for you. But for me, I really need to like a bunch of the characters. I found that I only liked a few of them. Nevertheless, it’s a fun read and a good mystery.
Here’s Amazon’s description of it. “When his father dies in a wildfire, Carmine Cooper takes over the family winery in the middle of harvest, putting his dreams of becoming an architect on hold. He soon finds himself fighting with a vengeful neighbor, blackmailed by a local gang, harassed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities, and the target of an ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives) investigation. Carmine’s only hope to solve his problems and finish his first solo vintage successfully rests in identifying an unknown grape variety his father grew and made into wine for a quarter century with links to an ancient Chinese grape variety and the First Emperor of China. Can Carmine save his father’s legacy, his family, the winery, and his first harvest before it’s too late?”
Do You Have Any Favorite Wine Novels to Recommend?
I’m always looking for new wine books to read that aren’t just about wine. So, if you can recommend some good books, I would be grateful – or should I say grapeful 🙂