Thursday, January 28, 2021

Book Review: A Pairing to Die For by Kate Lansing (Colorado Wine Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Characters that grow, great mystery
Cons: Pacing starts to slow in the middle, but not for long
The Bottom Line:
Boyfriend in trouble
Parker juggles wine and crime
In great second book

Can Parker Pair the Victim with the Correct Killer?

While I will moan starting a new series every so often, there is a reason I can’t resist the temptation – you will be missing out on wonderful new series if you don’t try any debuts.  One of the new series I tried last year was the Colorado Wine Mysteries, and I loved that debut.  A Pairing to Die For is just as much fun as the first one was.

Reid Wallace’s estranged family has come for a visit to Boulder, Colorado, and Parker Valentine is hoping to make a good impression on her boyfriend’s family.  However, things aren’t going well as Reid’s family is constantly judging everything she says as not being up to their standards.  Never mind their opinions of her wine.  They have several more days in their visit, and Parker isn’t looking forward to any of them.

The visit is interrupted when Reid is arrested for murder.  Oscar, the sous chef at Reid’s restaurant and his long-time friend, was murder behind the restaurant, and the police are certain that Reid did it.  Parker doesn’t believe that Reid is capable of murder and sets out to figure out what really happened.  Can she free her boyfriend from jail?

I love a book with lots of conflict, and this book delivers.  There’s the conflict with Reid’s family in addition to the murder.  I did feel like the pacing was slowing down a little in the middle, but that may have been me.  Things definitely picked up as we neared the climax, and I didn’t want to put the book down.

One thing I appreciated in the first book was how rich the characters were.  That continues here, and some of those relationships grow as a result.  We meet quite a few new characters as well here, and they fit perfectly into Parker’s world.

If you are reading for the wine theme, don’t worry, there are still plenty of scenes in Parker’s winery – Vino Valentine.  Not being a wine guy myself, I still enjoyed what we learned about the process here.

If you haven’t read the first book, you should know that there are some minor discussions about the first book.  They are vague enough that it shouldn’t spoil anything for you.  However, if you want to completely avoid the risk, read them in order.  You’ll appreciate the character growth more if you do.

I had forgotten that these books are written in present tense.  It always takes me a minute to adjust when I read a book written that way, but once my mind makes the switch, it’s fine.

There are three recipes at the end of the book, and they sound delicious.  Since this is a wine themed series, each recipe comes with a suggest wine pairing.

It’s always a pleasure when the second book in a series lives up to the promise of the debut.  That’s the case with A Pairing to Die For.  If you’ve read the first book, you’ll enjoy this one.  If you have yet to start this series, fix that today.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

1 comment:

  1. I really meant to pick up the first book but somehow didn't. This one sounds really good too! This sounds like it's going to be a strong series and one I definitely need to get.