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    Debut cozy mystery novel!

    Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann is the first book in A Sommelier Mystery series. Katie Stillwell just took her Certified Sommelier Exam (the first step in a four step process to become a Master Sommelier). Katie knows she did not do well because she choked (which she does quite often) on the blind tasting portion (after bragging that she is The Palate). But she does not have time to dwell on it, because she is off to an exclusive event at the Frontier Winery to celebrate their 100th anniversary. The Frontier Winery is not open to the public (only members of the Frontier Wine Club). Katie is lucky that her friend, Tessa Blakely, works for the Frontier Wine Club and wangled her an invite. Katie is enjoying a wonderful wine and the company of Jeff Kingman (who is flirting with her) when they hear a scream. One of the servers has discovered an arm sticking out of a fermentation tank. The arm belongs to winery owner Mark Plueger. The number one suspect ends up being Katie’s friend, Tessa (who disappeared during the party). Katie wants to clear her friend (who is flighty, lively party girl who likes to drink) and involves herself in Detective Dean’s investigation (he is the lead detective on the case and is interested in Katie). Tessa protected Katie many years ago, and Katie will do anything for Tessa (blind loyalty). Will Katie be able to clear Tessa and find the real killer? What happens when the suspects start turning up dead? You will have to join Katie in Decanting a Murder! Decanting a Murder was a wine, it would be considered a bad vintage (undrinkable). The pace is slow (snails were zipping by me). The novel just drags on and on toward the inevitable (and predictable) conclusion. The characters (as well as the book) are flat (they are just meh)! It lacks depth/substance. Clues are nonexistent (you do not need them though). The killer was obvious (actions speak louder than clues). I was hoping this would be a great new series, but I was disappointed (I’m sorry, but I am being honest). The premise (basic idea) is good, but I did not enjoy the final product (this book). I think the author needs to start over with new characters. Katie comes across as awkward (with issues) and Tessa is someone I would really rather not associate with (what winery would hire someone who drinks that much especially during a party when they are supposed to be working). I give Decanting a Murder 2 out of 5 stars. If there is another book in the series, will I read it? Probably not. There would have to be significant improvement for me to read it. I received a complimentary copy of Decanting a Murder from NetGalley (courtesy of the publisher) in exchange for an honest review of the novel.
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