"Killer Among the Vines" By Gemma Halliday: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

 The Most Unlucky Vintner in Sonoma

What a perfect locale for a vineyard, and with a world-renowned wine image, how could anything go wrong! Wine is in her DNA and her culinary skills honed through education, so Emmeline Oak adds her knowledge of the grape and skill with a whisk to run the family-owned Oak Valley Vineyard in picturesque Sonoma. She is trying her best to put the vineyard on the map and her wines on everyone’s table by hosting a variety of large and intimate events as a way to spotlight the wines and the winery. Her dad passed away when she was twelve and her mom is in an assisted living facility with off and on bouts of dementia, but she is directly supported by a delightful surrogate family: vineyard manager Hector Villarreal and his wife and “chief gossip” Conchita, French sommelier Jean Luc, burly winery manager Eddie Bliss, local artist and friend David Allen, and, of course, BFF and jewelry designer Ava Barnett. The business’s bottom line is more than a bit wobbly, exacerbated by the pandemic, and a few pesky murders have damaged the winery’s image. However, it does keep her in “close” contact with the handsome Detective Christopher Grant. Like her Zinfandel, life is smooth, a bit fruity, and yet complex.

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Image Source Gemma Halliday Publishing
Killer Among the Vines
Earns 5/5 Hearty Zins...Engaging & Clever Fun!

Security is always an important issue with any business, and due to recent bother, hiring security guard Bill Buckley was a necessary expense. It may also be fruitful when he calls Emmy to report that a silent alarm had been tripped in the south vineyard. An intruder? Maybe, or just a pesky deer bent on a juicy treat. Emmy rushes to the vineyard, but Bill’s phone is now going straight to voicemail. Along with Eddie, she rushes out to the vineyard, “No!” She discovers Bill Buckley dead. Detective Grant arrives on scene learning the victim hadn’t been employed long, mentioned a former career in law enforcement, and had been recommended by a local whose seal of approval should have been more of a red flag than confidence. Along with worries about finding investors and wedding season approaching, the investigation brings up an important, yet disturbing, thought. Why does this keep happening to Emmy?

Cheers! Gemma Halliday has added another satisfying, often nail-biting, seventh adventure to her Wine & Dine Mystery series. If it were real life, Emmy should give up the winery and escape to a deserted island, but fortunately it’s not and cozy fans, like me, can enjoy the delightfully devious creativity of Gemma Halliday! I enjoyed the complexity of the murder investigation with various possible motives opening a whole can of worms of questionable ethics, blackmail, connections and animosities, and disgruntled exes creating engaging avenues to explore, conflicts with Detective Grant, and predicaments putting Emmy in danger. The drama is a reasonable length allowing the opportunity to also explore fascinating and endearing side stories: continuing relationships, more than a few misunderstandings, efforts to save the winery, conversations about art, thoughts on music, food, and coffee, and Emmy’s realities with her mother who suffers from early on-set dementia. The ending was a big “Wow!” and a cliffhanger introduced with a phone call just may lead to the next book. Like many, including me, this book, and especially the series, is a top favorite!

The Best Bonus! Create your own “Wine & Dine” experience with Gemma Halliday’s easy-to-follow recipes incorporated into the story, with direct links to the recipes in the eBook version. I greatly enjoy the added Tips for exchanges or techniques, and of course, the no-hassle wine pairing suggestions of specific wineries. In this book enjoy Walnut Mushroom Au Gratin Copycat, Creamy Pork Marsala, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Lobster Bisque, Cherry Vanilla Muffins, Cherry Mimosas, and Nicky’s Smashburgers. Yum!

Be a Big Gemma Halliday Fan!

New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Gemma Halliday pens other popular and entertaining series cozy fans will enjoy. Along with this twelve-book High Heels Mysteries, a New York Times bestselling series, I am a big fan of her seven-book Wine & Dine Mysteries, but I also greatly enjoy her other work that combines full-length books and some entertaining short stories. Check out her exciting cozy series: Hollywood Headlines, Jamie Bond, Marty Hudson, and Tahoe Tessie Mysteries. She also has thrillers with Anna Smith & Nick Dade and the Deadly Cool series. Her other hat is as publisher with Gemma Halliday Publishing fostering many exciting authors.  

Facebook: Gemma Halliday

Website: Gemma Halliday

Twitter @gemmahallidayca

To enter to win an ebook copy of Killer Among the Vines, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "vines,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 19, 2021. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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