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A mish-mash of poorly developed characters, predictable plot twists and less-than-stellar writing. I forced myself to finish this book two weeks ago, and already it has nearly vanished from my memory. While I can no longer recall place- or character names, the general plot concerns the murder investigation (of a prominent wine critic) conducted by a Frenchman who is a detective on the local upstate New York village police force. He is supposedly dealing with his own demons involving vineyards and his childhood (?) while carrying on a tepid affair with his police supervisor cum amateur psychologist. Unfortunately we get little real flavor for either wineries or vineyards, where most of the action takes place, and the interactions between and among the cast of characters varies from labored to nonsensical. A Taste for Death, indeed. This read just isn't worth the time.
Inspector Louis Deville must solve several murders in Finger Lakes wineries, all the while dealing with his own demons of a forgotten abusive childhood. When a wine critic is strangled and his second damaging book goes missing, Deville plods to interview many suspects all the while facing opposition from his boss, psychoanalist, lover. He sticks to his guns as he regains missing memories of his winery youth in France that included loss of his mother, father. Assorted characters are developed though none are particularly memorable or compelling to this reader. Pace seems slow and descriptions of environment and physical clues could be richer. In the end, the killer is selected and found to have revenge as the motive, but several other characters could have been chosen plausibly as perps. Richer character development would make the killer selection more convincing. In fact, I had to work a week after reading the book to remember who wound up being the murderer.
I almost never read fiction...and the last thing I'd ever do would be to pick up a "who done it" murder mystery...I can never keep track of what's going on and who did what. Yet, Don Stevens' use of the Finger Lakes region greatly intrigued me (Wonderful area of the country). Further, his writing had the ability to be incredibly full-bodied, all while being down to earth enough for a common person to get through with relative ease. You're going to think you know who the culprit or culprits are several times in the book...But nothing can quite prepare you for villain reveal at book's end.
A Taste for Death was an intriguing murder mystery set in the Finger Lake wine district in New York. Detective Louis Deville, a Frenchman with a mysterious past, adds a flare to the story as he sorts out a tangled web of romance and murder in the Finger Lake vineyards. The story is filled with interesting characters and I suspected them all right up till the end or until they too were murdered. A page turning read. I’m waiting for the sequel.
A potentially good detective story with an interesting upper New York wine country setting sabotaged by a plodding pace and plodding and too many redundancies. In future books Mr. Stevens should avail himself of a good editor. This book is in dire need of competent editing.