Thursday, January 17, 2019

Seven Deadly Zins by Nancy J. Parra

Seven Deadly Zins by Nancy J. Parra has us traveling to Sonoma County, California.  Taylor O’Brian owns and runs Off the Beaten Path which features quirky wine tours.  Tim Slade, who owns Rock Paths Winery, asks Taylor to bring a tour by his winery and she is happy to accommodate him.  The following week, Taylor brings a group of entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in wineries by Tim’s winery.  Tim is demonstrating to the tour group how he stirs a vat of zin twice a day when a purple body floats to the top.  The victim is realtor, Jeffery Hoag who Tim had a public argument with recently.  When Tim is arrested for Jeffery’s murder, Taylor starts nosing around.  Dr. Adam Brinkman, offers seminars on spiritual healing, has arrived in town and he is causing quite a stir.  Mandy, Tim’s girlfriend, is gaga for the guru and gets Taylor into one of his seminars.  After the lecture, Mandy takes Taylor to meet Dr. Brinkman.  Taylor sees Tim who is currently out on bail exiting the man’s dressing room and find Dr. Brinkman dead on the floor with a knife sticking out of his chest.  Tim is once again arrested and this time he is denied bail.  Something smells off and Taylor intends to get to the bottom of this conundrum.  She is also dealing with a rival tour owner who is taking the area by storm.  Just when Taylor seems to be making headway on the case, Aunt Jemma is kidnapped.  Can Taylor get a bead on the killer before it is too late?
Seven Deadly Zins is the second book in A Wine Country Mystery series and I did feel it can stand on its own.  Taylor O’Brian was lured to Sonoma County by her Aunt Jemma from her job in advertising in San Francisco.  Instead of working at Aunt Jemma’s winery, Taylor created Off the Beaten Path to provide tourists with unique wine tours.  Unfortunately, Bridget Miller decided to do the same thing and her business has doubled since she began (with fancy pink buses too).  It would help if Taylor networked and advertised her business (use social media too).  The author started this storyline and then it disappeared.  I wonder if she will pick it up again in the next book.  Taylor is a slightly annoying main character who wants to help her friends when they need assistance which is how she gets herself mixed up in a second murder.  Taylor enjoys spending time with her girlfriends eating barbecue and drinking wine (they do this frequently).  There are two men who are potential love interests for Taylor and she waffles between them.  I hope the author is not heading down the love triangle road.  The mystery appears to be convoluted, but the solution can effortlessly be discerned.  I was not a fan of how the police were portrayed (that they were not up to the task of solving the crime).  Taylor believes she can solve the crime better than the professionals and believes she is always right.  The author took the time to describe the female characters outfits (every single one of them) in detail.  I wish the author had spent the time describing what zinfandel looks and tastes like instead (I reached the end of the book and still had no clue—you can tell that I do not drink wine).  I also felt that Aunt Jemma’s fake séance was not needed in the book (really did not add anything).  The story could have used more character development and depth along with stronger dialogue.  Seven Deadly Zins is a slow starter, but it picks up as the story progresses.  There are some loose ends at the end of the book plus there are missing details (Aunt Jemma’s last name and the name of her winery for example).  I am giving Seven Deadly Zins 3 out of 5 stars.  Seven Deadly Zins is an airy cozy mystery with recipes at the end.

Death Roll by [Welker, Diana]The first book in A Wine Country Mystery series is A Case of Syrah, Syrah.  Thank you for reading my review.  I will be highlighting Death Roll by Diana Welker tomorrow which is a new romantic suspense novel.  I hope you have a lively day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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