The Illuminated Vineyard
Review: After a recently widowed woman hires a young man to do some end-of-season yard clean-up work, allowing him to stay in her guest house, the body a local resident is found in a neighboring vineyard, stabbed in the neck, in The Illuminated Vineyard, a novel of suspense by Jean Moynahan.
The police don't necessarily suspect Michael Broom, the young man employed by Rachel Jarvis, but his sudden appearance in town and his proximity to the crime scene is suspicious. Rachel comes to his defense, but is annoyed with him nonetheless: Michael had allowed his girlfriend, Cara, to move in with him without mentioning it to her. It isn't until after Rachel's son, Brett, arrives for a visit, and becomes smitten with Cara himself, a local woman goes missing and another murder victim is found, that she fears Michael may the center of a brewing maelstrom, one that may endanger her too.
The author crafts an interesting environment for her characters in The Illuminated Vineyard, creating a sense of near-constant apprehension for the reader. It's apparent not everything is as it seems, which contributes to the disquietude … though not necessarily to the suspense. Backstories are used to fill in some details, and an early one presages a key plot point that is revealed towards the end. That the story proceeds along this path as foreshadowed doesn't interfere with the enjoyment of the book, especially since it unexpectedly doesn't play out quite as one might imagine. The murder investigation and whodunit aspect is nicely handled, but is clearly secondary to the overall story arc of Rachel's uneasy relationship with the mysterious young Michael.
Acknowledgment: Jean Moynahan provided an ARC of The Illuminated Vineyard for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Illuminated Vineyard: Oregon
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The Illuminated Vineyard by Jean Moynahan
Publisher: Five Star
Publication Date: February 2011
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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