Blood Vines Review
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Unabridged Audiobook: 9 CDs (11 hours)
Read by Orlagh Cassidy

All her life, Alexandra Clarkson has had nightmares—visions of violent ceremonies and screaming babies. Lately, though, they’ve gotten more vivid, and Alex is starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with her. Maybe she’s going crazy, just like her mother.

When her mother commits suicide, Alex finds a strange newspaper article on the table, a detective’s phone number circled. She decides to call the number, and Detective Daniel Reed offers her some surprising information about her past.

Alex learns that, as a child, she lived in Sonoma—and her mother, Patsy, was married to Harlan Sommer, the head of one of wine country’s greatest wineries. But after the disappearance of Alex’s half-brother, Dylan, Patsy took Alex and left wine country, never again mentioning their old life.

Now the body of a small child has been found in wine country—a child that could be Dylan Sommer. But when Alex travels to Sonoma to search for answers, she finds herself in the middle of a series of mysterious deaths and deadly pranks.

Blood Vines is an eerie, haunting tale of murder and mysterious rituals, set in the typically elegant and refined Sonoma wine country and traveling from the quaint wine country cafés to the dark, musty wine caves. It does take a while for the story to build, as Spindler sets the stage and introduces the characters. But once Alex learns about her secret past (by the second CD in the set), the pace picks up—and it doesn’t slow down again until the last chapter.

Alex has been through so much that you can’t help but feel for her. She’s a likeable character, though she’s understandably fragile. Still, wherever she goes, murder and mystery are sure to follow. And, like Detective Reed, you’ll eventually start to wonder whether she’s really just a victim—or if she’s somehow involved.

Meanwhile, reader Orlagh Cassidy’s narration only adds to the experience. In fact, hers is quite possibly the best audiobook narration I’ve ever heard. Her voice is warm and rich, showing incredible emotion and handling the cast of characters surprisingly well.

The gripping suspense of Blood Vines will keep you eager for more—and you may find yourself driving around the block a few more times (or sitting in your garage with the car still on), just so you can listen to the story for just a little while longer. Just be sure to keep the garage door open, or there may be yet another death to investigate.

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