Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Book Review - Grand Cru Heist

Book - Grand Cru Heist
Writer - Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Blaen, Anne Trager (Translator)
Series -
Winemaker Detective #2 
Published By - Le French Book

First things first, I got this book from NetGalley, so thank you netgalley and Le French Book for this opportunity.
This is not your typical mystery novel. In fact the mystery is quite simplistic and easily deduced; but the real strength of this short novel is the characters and their passion for wines and other things. We get to delve more into the main characters introduced in the first book and how they cope with tragedies in their lives as part of the plot (I would recommend reading the first book in the series as to better understand this one). The writing is also much improved as the authors seem to have come to grip with these characters and their surroundings.

The book starts with Cooker being assaulted and his car stolen in Paris. While recovering in hospital he feels quite depressed and decides to travel to Tours region for vacation and some alone time. While recuperating there he meets a wine broker who seems to have almost the same taste in wine, cigar and cars as Cooker so they enjoy some quality time discussing these. But all of a sudden everything takes a drastic turn for the worse when the wine broker's beautiful companion and the concierge of the hotel are found dead and the wine broker vanishes. Meanwhile his friend Huber de Boüard, owner of the Château Angélus, is suffering from burglaries and receiving clever, cryptic messages from the thieves.The story boils into these two cases as Cooker gets re-energized to solve these crimes with the help of his assistant Virgile, who is also suffering from a personal tragedy.

Once again the characters and the vivid description of the scenery and wines takes a front seat in this adventure. We get to know more about Cooker and Virgile, while faced with a new mystery. Although the mystery lacked depth the execution of the story was precise and the entertaining banter of the main characters with each other and their unique relationship makes up for many shortcomings of the plot. It seems the the authors are well aware of their strong points and sticking with them admirably.

One other minor problem with the book is that it is not really new reader friendly, those who haven't read the first book might find the characters a bit annoying and might feel the plot a bit lacking. I do recommend reading the first before this very strongly to get acquainted with the characters and the style. I think the authors have improved this series much since the first book and liked this one even better as I already am quite familiar with the characters and setting.    

This gets 4 out of 5 stars.

PS: Check out the review of the first book - 'Treachery in Bordeaux'.

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