Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Isaac lived a life on the streets. With little memory of his childhood, he wandered for ages without knowing who he truly was. Being found by Roman was a gift, and soon the lifestyle of a grifter became all he knew. But Roman’s leaving, and he’s left him with one last big con… to pretend to be Isaac Shelley, missing heir to a huge trust fund and loving grandson of Marigold Shelley.
When he meets Cary, the “insurance man” there to check on Marigold’s beloved wine collection, there’s instant chemistry. What he doesn’t know is that Cary is a grifter as well, and he’s after very rare and very pricey wines, the Nine Sisters.
They each had their own elaborate con, but can do con artists work the same target without losing it all? Maybe, but when a wrench gets thrown in their plans, and items begin to disappear, there just may be another con going on, bigger than both of them.
Yeah, seduction was part of his act a lot of the time, and he’d always been very good at it with men and women, but he was breaking the first fucking rule he’d ever learned, the first rule he’d teach any student. Just the first damn rule, period. Never ever fall for your own con. Never.
I have some mixed emotions regarding this story. I loved the premise. Two con artists crossing paths, trying to out-con the other without even knowing the other is conning. Yes, lots of conning going on. It sounds great, and it had so much potential, but somehow, it fell a little flat.
It’s hard for me to explain, but there are some stories where when you stop you feel like you can’t wait to go back and read more. This wasn’t one of those stories. There were actually parts where I had to force myself to keep reading, and I wasn’t at all excited to come back and read it. Yes, I wanted to know what was going on, but it wasn’t really that built up need that I wish I had gotten.
As for the mystery, well, it had a lot of potential. I feel like the author thought a lot about different aspects, especially in the beginning regarding Cary and his plan to get the Nine Sisters. After that, it unraveled quite a bit. I had thoughts for who the Black Mamba was very early on, and I literally headdesked at some of the paths it took and conclusions characters came to. It seemed so obvious to me, and in the end, it was.
To top it all off, the ending was lackluster. There was no oomph to it. It just sort of happened and oh, okay, that’s it. Alrighty then.
This story wasn’t necessarily bad, but if you want a serious mystery with twists and turns, I’d suggest something else. If you want a more cozy, hokey kind of mystery, then this just might be for you.
The cover art by L.C. Chase is pretty much divine. It’s perfectly subtle and so fitting to the story from the very start. After all, it does take place on a vineyard.
ebook, 200 pages
Published December 1st 2014 by Dreamspinner Press