Top critical review
he starts to uncover seedy business dealings in the wine world and discovers a deadly secret that some big shots in the wine industry would like to remain secret
May 24, 2018
Thank you Wildblue Press for sending me a copy of Peter Eichstaedt's Napa Noir in return for an honest review. 3.5- 3.75 Stars
Napa Noir has a thrilling introduction. It opens with Chao Ling running for his life at Morrison Creek Winery. He is being chased by Bernie Morrison, who is trying to kill him. Chao had called the police, who arrived while Chao was still alive, but they had failed to save him. The cops shot Morrison down in response. I was into the fact that the mystery did not resolve around who killed Chao, but more on what caused Morrison to snap and kill Chao.
Dante Rath, a journalist with a wine column, jumps at the chance to cover Chao and Morrison's murders. He wants to know what Morrison's motivations were. Dante had a tense history with Morrison himself. As Dante investigates the deaths of Chao and Morrison, he starts to uncover seedy business dealings in the wine world and discovers a deadly secret that some big shots in the wine industry would like to remain secret.
The pacing for the most part was decently paced although there were points in the story where it seemed to lag. I feel that points where the story dragged it was due to the fact that Eichstaedt did not develop the mystery to be a convoluted mess and every chapter did not have a huge reveal. Sometimes the plot was bogged down by repetitive descriptions. For instance, Chao's sister Mei was described as being "disgusted" by her brother multiple times. It is never phrased as she speaks about Chao with disdain or Meil looked down on her brother's choices.
The lack of word choice also gave me a strong clue as to the identity of the bad guys that orchestrated many of the events that took place. However, I did struggle with determining the motive. Eichstaedt did provide a red herring or two into Napa Noir, but these people were not entirely innocent.
I appreciated how much I learned about the wine industry (business, legal, harvesting, etc). I did go into Napa Noir with very little knowledge about wine. I am interested in reading more of the Wine Country Mysteries series and seeing where the series go.