*I received a free copy of The Case of the Voracious Vintner from Dreamspinner Press via ARC Publisher. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Series: The Middlemark Mysteries #2
Published by Dreamspinner Press on January 29, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Mystery, Romance
Source: ARC Publisher
Where Bo Marchand comes from, gay men are just confirmed bachelors who never found the right girl. But now Bo’s a successful winemaker on the central coast of California, supporting his whole damned Georgia family, and all he really wants is the beautiful, slightly mysterious Jeremy Aames.
Jeremy’s vineyard is under threat from Ernest Ottersen, the voracious winemaker who seems to know all Jeremy’s blending secrets and manages to grab all his customers. Bo tries to help Jeremy and even provides a phony alibi for Jeremy when Ottersen turns up dead in Jeremy’s tasting room. But it’s clear Jeremy isn’t who he claims, and Bo must decide if it’s worth tossing over his established life for a man who doesn’t seem to trust anyone. When Jeremy gets kidnapped, some of the conservative winemakers turn out to be kinky sex fiends, and the list of murderers keeps dwindling down to Jeremy. Bo has to choose between hopping on his white horse or climbing back in his peach-pie-lined closet.
The Case of the Voracious Vintner proved TLain’s writing prowess as she delivered an entertaining cozy mystery while also delivering on all the other elements I’ve come to expect from her M/M romances.
- Main Characters
Beau Marchand is the epitome of a well-bred Southern gentleman. He’s charming, loyal to family and friends, and would rather live under the misperception he’s a “confirmed bachelor who never met the right lady” than admit to his family he’s gay. That is until he meets Jeremy Aames. Beau and Jeremy met because they’re both vintners who own small wineries. Jeremy is out and proud and although he’s interested in Beau, he thinks Beau is straight. The two of them start spending time together planning an event while also trying to figure out the who and why behind the sabotage of Jeremy’s winery. This leads to the blossoming of a tender and passionate romance between the two. But Jeremy isn’t all he seems.
- Secondary Characters
TLain excels at developing a strong and engaging secondary cast of characters in her stories and The Case of the Voracious Vintner was no different. From Beau’s family to the winery staff and competing vintners, each character added depth to the story. I was particularly fond of Llewellyn and Blaise.
The Case of the Voracious Vintner combined several interconnect mysteries. There was the mystery of the saboteur of Jeremy’s winery. There was also a murder mystery to solve. The secretive Dionysus Society was also being investigated. And then there were the secrets Jeremy was keeping. TLain did an excellent job of tossing out red herrings and she kept me guessing throughout.
TLain always addresses the hurdles gay men must negotiate in life and Beau and Jeremy had a few. Both Beau and Jeremy dealt with familial expectations based on culture and that felt realistic. I appreciated how accepting Beau’s family ended up being although I found his mother’s acceptance a little too easy.
Overall, I was impressed with TLain’s foray into cozy mystery-land. I’ve already purchased the first book in the Middlemark series so I can get Llewellyn and Blaise’s story. 🙂
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: