cover image Blood Vines

Blood Vines

Erica Spindler, . . St. Martin's, $24.99 (338pp) ISBN 978-0-312-36392-5

Bestseller Spindler's underwhelming stand-alone stars Alexandra Clarkson, a doctoral student finishing her thesis in human belief systems, who was raised in San Francisco by her unstable mother, Patsy, not knowing who her father was. When Patsy is found dead, Alexandra questions whether it was by her own hand or if it's linked to a years-old crime in nearby Sonoma County—the apparent kidnapping of baby Dylan Sommer, the son of Harlan Sommer, of the Sommer family wine dynasty, and, as Alex discovers, Harlan's then wife, her mother, Patsy. Keen to find out her father's identity, Alex relocates to wine country, where she learns about the repressed first five years of her own life. Despite the happy family reunion, not everyone is pleased with Alex's return to the area, so Spindler (Breakneck ) stirs the pot with a few instances of ritual sacrifice and not-so-coincidental deaths. In the end, a tidy resolution substitutes for the mouth-dropping revelation many thriller fans will expect. (Mar.)