Revealing May

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
207 Pages
Reviewed on 05/13/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers' Favorite

Gracie Wentworth is an ex-parking enforcement officer and now a private investigator working for her uncle’s business, the Montgomery Group, that includes investigations, bodyguard work and other assorted interests. Reluctantly, she is given an assignment to go undercover as a reporter at the prestigious boutique winery, Somerset Hills. Her job is to determine who is framing the owner, Elliot Somerset, for murder. Elliot has been declared a person of interest, but insists he had nothing to do with the murder and, to add to the confusion, Elliot is a hard-drinking alcoholic. Elliot’s wife, May Somerset, has some secrets that she doesn’t want exposed that could threaten her family’s future. When more bodies start disappearing without a trace, Gracie knows she is onto something, something more than just wine making. She has her suspicions, but now how to prove it?

M. Catherine Berg has a winner here in Revealing May. I’ve always had a fondness for a strong female lead and Gracie Wentworth is just that. I found the plot to be intriguing and very interesting. I particularly liked the way Gracie put the clues together to get the answers she sought. The author, with the use of clever dialogue, has a way to bring the reader right into the action. The characters in the story were very well developed and suited the plot well. Once I started reading, I couldn’t wait to see where the story was going and how Gracie would put it all together. Very nicely done.

Jack Magnus

Revealing May is a private investigator mystery written by M. Catherine Berg. Elliot Somerset, Jr. owns the Somerset Hills boutique winery. He's retaining the Montgomery Group private detective agency to clear him of the murder of a small-time hoodlum on his estate, and investigate his wife's behavior with another vintner. Gracie is not impressed with the drunken, weeping man, nor is she at all interested in her Uncle Joe's plan to insert her undercover at the winery. She's taking college courses and is facing her first exam, but Joe's admission to her about his gambling problem and the possible demise of the family business makes her reluctantly agree to his plan -- after all, the client is paying several times the usual fee for their services. Gracie will be working under the guise of being a reporter for a new magazine, and staying at the winery to cover the upcoming wine festival in the area. While she's there, Somerset wants her to find the real killer and determine if his wife is having an affair.

M. Catherine Berg's private eye mystery, Revealing May, blends hard-boiled detecting with just a bit of humor and a lot of wine. Gracie is perfect as the tough as nails detective who's fabulously unlucky in love, and the only one in her family who can't make a fortune with her writing skills. Those skills are indeed non-existent, so her undercover role as a reporter is especially ironic for her. Berg writes fluidly, and her story entertains while it tantalizes with red herrings and almost too many possible culprits. At one point, Gracie thinks that the details of the lurid web of deception and infidelity she's uncovering would be rejected by her author mother as being beyond belief, but she still has more surprises coming at her at that point in the story. I enjoyed this breezy, California noir mystery and hope to see more of Gracie as she solves other mysteries. Revealing May is highly recommended.

Jane Finch

Revealing May by M. Catherine Berg is the story of a somewhat reluctant sleuth in the guise of Gracie Wentworth, an ex-parking enforcement officer, who finds herself working undercover to solve the mystery of a murder, an apparent frame-up, and support a somewhat delicate woman whose shady past threatens to ruin her family. There is no shortage of bodies as this mystery unfolds, and Gracie has to call on skills she never knew existed to sort out this tangled web of deceit and corruption. Add to that the main suspect, Elliott Somerset, owner of Somerset Hills Winery, a man who struggles to cope without alcohol and hide a troubled marriage, let alone deal with the new scandal that threatens his entire existence and that of his family.

This is a story full of intrigue and mystery with believable characters and twisting plots. The author, M. Catherine Berg, has done a great job of weaving intricate plots around characters that are so well-crafted they almost stand alone. Well written with a good pace and smooth flow, this is an enjoyable and tense read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Psychopathic and needy characters contrast well with the stoic and wily Gracie Wentworth, who struggles with her own family problems as she draws on her crime-solving skills to resolve the mystery and prevent a family catastrophe. The style of writing is delightful and I would certainly seek out more work from this writer. An exciting crime/mystery/thriller that will suit all tastes. The main character, Gracie Wentworth, can clearly go on to solve more mysteries in the future.

Melinda Hills

A reluctant private investigator falls into quite a mystery in Revealing May by M. Catherine Berg. Gracie is not interested in helping the whining winery owner who thinks his wife is cheating and that someone is framing him for murder. Unfortunately, the business is about to go under so she has to put her life on hold to check it out for her boss. Elliot Somerset is clueless about what is happening at his own winery, and it is up to Gracie to put the pieces together. Once she arrives at the Somerset Hills Winery, the plot gets deeper with a visit from the biggest drug dealer in Los Angeles, who is the dead man’s brother, a variety of love affairs, and secrets from everyone’s past. As people begin to disappear, finding the real killer becomes all the more important. With help from Hattie back at the office, Gracie uncovers a number of connections that help make sense of the situation. Will Gracie figure it all out in time or will she become one more missing person that no one can locate?

Set in beautiful California wine country, Revealing May by M. Catherine Berg is a delicious mystery that brings the past and present of the characters together in an unexpected way. Everyone has something to hide and Berg unfolds the story bit by bit to hold your interest and keep you wanting more. Great characters and a thrilling plot lead you on an amazing adventure with plenty of twists and turns that eventually come to a surprising conclusion. Superbly entertaining, Revealing May is a terrific choice for reading at the beach, poolside or even on a winter’s night.