Tainted Wine

The Steve Daniels Mystery Series Book 3

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
297 Pages
Reviewed on 04/18/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

The moment I saw the author’s name I knew this was a book that I just had to download, read, and review. I admit to being a big fan, plus the description for Tainted Wine by Linda Watkins was irresistible. A Californian vineyard producing internationally acclaimed wine, a body found at night, and the suspect’s prints on the corkscrew that ended the life of Hernandez. The law firm engaged by the family to defend the young woman who stands to inherit instructs Steve Daniels, a fledging lawyer, to investigate the background and gather evidence to help them win the case. But what if Daniels’ discovery condemns the accused? What if she has left a trail of deaths behind her to date, not one of which was seen as anything other than a series of accidents? Everything Daniels discovers looks bad for the firm’s client, and then there is a twist that turns the case on its head. Daniels has no way out.

It is really difficult to review Tainted Wine by Linda Watkins without spoilers. I found myself turning the pages as fast as possible as the young lawyer's discoveries came thick and fast. I could see no way out for him. If he told the truth his career would be in ruins, but if he told the truth, it could ruin his life. I cared about Steven Daniels, the sign of an excellent writer that his character leaped off the page. I was cheering him on, especially when I couldn’t see how he could possibly extricate himself from the cruel web of lies that enveloped him. A great read. I shall be telling all my friends to buy this book as I know they will enjoy it as much as I did.

Alma Boucher

Hector Hernandez’s body is found among the vines of Faucher Winery. Hector was killed with a corkscrew and Jessica Faucher, the heiress to the winery, is the main suspect. Jessica’s grandmother approaches the law firm of Jacobs, Felder, and Smith to represent Jessica. Steve Daniels is assigned to investigate and determine if Jessica is innocent or guilty. Jessica’s fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and rumors are circulating that Hector was not interested in the attention she gave him. Jessica is a woman who doesn't take no for an answer and is used to getting what she wants. Steve's investigation into Jessica's past reveals disturbing events she was involved in but could not be proven. Can the mystery of Hector’s murder be solved in Tainted Wine by Linda Watkins?

I had the chills reading Tainted Wine. The story was complex and full of twists and turns. There was so much action I just kept turning the pages, afraid of missing something important. Linda Watkins’s characters are so realistic that they felt real to me. I liked them and they felt like friends. I did not like Jessica. She was obsessive and a troublemaker, pure evil. I could feel the evil radiating from her. Nothing could stand in her way to get what she wants. The suspense kept me on the edge of my seat and there was a surprise around every corner. The story was excellently written as the events were described in detail and were realistic. Nothing was left to the imagination. The ending was shocking; I did not see that coming.

Michelle Stanley

Tainted Wine, Book 3 from The Steve Daniels Mystery Series is written by Linda Watkins. Steve Daniels, an investigator with a law firm, is assigned to help prove a client’s innocence. Jessica Faucher, a winery heiress, is accused of murdering Hector, a gifted vintner at the winery. Almost everyone he interviews at the vineyard is reluctant to talk to him. People that Jessica had been acquainted with have died tragically over the years. Steve begins to have doubts about the case as he gets to know Jessica. He also discovers important information about Hector, who was considered a threat to other vintners.

“Wine flies when you’re having fun.” Winemaking seems fascinating and Linda Watkins gives a good account of the process in her book. Tainted Wine has a lovely 1950s setting in the California countryside where many vineyards are located. There were times I felt the period was older due to the way the details were described. Steve is a man of integrity and I liked his caring personality. The courtroom drama was a favorite. I also felt sorry for him and what he had to endure while investigating. The author’s writing was touching and sad in many ways due to the story’s theme. The book maintained a moderate pace throughout, with good dialogue, and was entertaining to read. I liked the conclusion and think that the series will be enjoyed by mystery book lovers like myself.