My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What more can a guy ask for? Mystery, check. Wine, check. History lesson, check. I’ve come to really enjoy reading the ‘Wine Country Mysteries’ series by Ellen Crosby. The Riesling Retribution is the fourth book I’ve read out of almost ten at this point. I’m determined to catch up in the first half of 2019 before the next one is published mid-year.
While I’d classify this as a cozy mystery series on some levels, it isn’t a light and cute one. It’s more heavy on the drama with a slow-build up. There are intimate scenes but nothing with huge amounts of detail. The murders are often a little more visually described, but never gory. It’s usually an education series whether we’re learning about the wine-making process or the Civil War. They take place in Virginia, and the setting is key to the story.
In this one, Lucie is caught up in a tornado that’s sweeping through one of her vineyards. She barely survives the storm only to learn a huge percentage of her crop is destroyed. They will not be profitable this year, but what’s even worse, a human skull turns up from the windstorm. It’s almost 30 years old, just from before she was born, and on her father’s property. Based on what the local police can put together, her father killed the man in order to have an affair with his wife.
A Civil War reenactment explains a major battle in Virginia. Lucie and Quinn have an unexpected connection. We learn about Eli, Lucie’s brother, who’s having marital issues. And someone is causing more trouble around the vineyard with unskilled workers. There is a lot going on, but it all moves the story forward and puts us in a strong place for the next book.
Unfortunately, even with all the wonderful backdrop and content, there was something off in the structure and transitions in the story. There were too many arcs that didn’t gel well together. The murder started off strong but fizzled. Lucie’s relationships were also wishy-washy. I feel like it needed one more content round of editing to tie some loose threads together and give us a couple of power punches to the gut. It would’ve been a solid 4, but I had to drop at least a half a star for several misses. It ends up at a 3.5; I’ll be kind and round up given how much I like this series.
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.