Blood Vines

Blood Vines

by Erica Spindler

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Blood Vines by Erica Spindler

In this bare-knuckled adrenaline ride from New York Times bestselling author Erica Spindler, Alex Clarkson's worst nightmares are about to come true…

A sinister, hooded figure…

When Alexandra Clarkson starts having terrifying visions filled with blood and ceremonial images, she tries to find a rational explanation – maybe her mind is playing tricks on her, resurrecting creepy tableaux from her research on religious ceremonies and sects. But when Alex's mother, Patsy, commits suicide without leaving behind any information, Alex is left wondering: could she be haunted by something from the childhood she doesn't remember?

Naked, writhing bodies…

Detective Daniel Reed was the last person to speak to Patsy. What he reveals to Alex is shocking. Twenty-five years earlier, Patsy was married to Harlan Sommer, one of Sonoma County's most prominent vintners, when their infant son disappeared without a trace. The loss destroyed the Sommers' marriage, causing Patsy to leave and take Alex with her.

A dead child…

Called on to investigate the identity of a baby's remains unearthed in a Sonoma vineyard, Reed had picked up a trail that led him to Patsy in San Francisco. Now Reed and Alex both wonder if the cold bones could be her baby brother Dylan, and Alex decides to accompany Reed back to Sonoma for the investigation. No sooner does she arrive, however, than she is drawn deep into the search for a twisted killer…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250054777
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 03/02/2010
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 641,262
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Erica Spindler has written many novels, including Breakneck, Watch Me Die, Bone Cold, In Silence and Last Known Victim. Her books are published in 25 countries. Raised in Rockford, Illinois, Spindler planned on becoming an artist, and earned visual arts degrees from Delta State University and the University of New Orleans. But one day in 1982, she picked up a romance novel and was immediately hooked. She soon tried to write her own romance, but it was when she leapt from romance to suspense that she found her true calling. Spindler has won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence, the Kiss of Death Award, and has been a three-time RITA Award Finalist. She lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Sonoma Valley, California

Friday, February 12

10:05 A.M.

Violent Crimes Investigations detective Daniel Reed eased to the side of the road, stopping behind the Sheriff’s Department cruiser. He swung out of his four-wheel-drive Tahoe, a small, rust-colored cloud forming as his boots landed on the dirt road. Before him, vineyards stretched across the gently rolling hills, the mustard in bloom, painting the rows yellow. The cheery yellow contrasted sharply with the dormant vines, standing like gnarled headstones in a cemetery that extended as far as the eye could see.

The Native American Miwoks had named this place Valley of the Moon. Their legend held that the moon had risen from the valley. Reed figured that’s why so much crazy shit went down here. You had your bizarro religions, whacked-out criminals and a little dark cloud of weirdness that seemed to hang over the valley.

Blame the moon. It worked for him.

Today, however, his job was to figure out who’d buried what in this torn-up vineyard.

The CSI unit pulled up behind him. The Sheriff’s Department employed its own crime scene investigators, all sworn officers. The CSI guys—and gals—worked in tandem with the VCI, forming a two-lead partnership for each case. Jointly, they were held responsible for the case.

Tanner had drawn this one, Reed saw, as the attractive blonde stepped out of her vehicle. Barbara Tanner looked a decade younger than her fifty years and had a reputation for being driven. A reputation he, unlike a few of his fellow detectives, admired.

Of course, his reputation for being a cowboy wasn’t always appreciated either. They made a good team.

He slammed the SUV door and sauntered her way. “Flying solo today, Tanner?” he called, grinning.

“Hell no, Reed. I’ve got you.”

“Born lucky and beautiful.”

“Tell that to my shrink, plastic surgeon and prick of an ex-husband.”

He laughed. “Know anything about this one?”

“Not much. Somebody found bones.”

“My bet’s on a dog.”

“Coyote, maybe.”

They reached the inner perimeter. He greeted the patrolman standing watch with a clipboard. He signed the log and handed it to Tanner. “What’s the deal?”

“Phylloxera infestation. The whole vineyard had to be ripped out.”

Tanner made a sound of distress. “Breaks my heart to see old vines like these go.”

“Tell me about it,” the deputy agreed. “You feel it in the gut, you know?”

Reed glanced at the piles of thick, gnarled stocks and branches. Century-old vines. The older the vine, the less fruit produced, but the more intense the flavor of that fruit. Nothing tasted quite like the wine produced from them.

“I’m a beer man myself,” he said.

The other two looked at him. Tanner shook her head. “You’re a weird one, Reed. You know that?”

She said it with a smile, but it was true. Here, in this little slice of the world, it was all about the grapes, the wine produced from them. The wine’s color. Its nose. The points awarded it by Wine Enthusiast. Here, invariably, idle conversation turned not to religion or politics, but to viticulture or terroir.

He’d turned his back on all that years ago.

He grinned at her. “Yeah, I know. But I wear the label well.”

“That you do.” She turned her attention back to the deputy. “The remains were found in the clearing process?”

He nodded and motioned to a group of fieldworkers sitting in the bed of a battered pickup truck. “The front loader unearthed a wooden crate, or what was left of one. Guys there figured they’d found buried treasure, got pretty excited. That changed when they got a look inside.”

“You confirmed?”

“Didn’t want to mess with the box. Took a peek, confirmed some sort of remains.”

“Human?” Tanner asked.

“Not my area. It’s damn creepy, though.”

Tanner cocked a perfectly arched eyebrow, clearly amused. “Would that be your professional opinion, Officer?”

He laughed. “As a matter of fact it would.”

Reed and Tanner ducked under the crime scene tape and picked their way to the discovery. The old vines had gone deep; ripping them up had created a mess.

Reed fitted on Latex gloves and squatted beside the find. The box was badly decomposed. In the fieldworkers’ eagerness to pry off the top, it had partially crumbled.

“Wine crate,” he said. “Or what’s left of one. Rules out a coyote.”

“Been buried awhile.”

“Lid was nailed shut.” He indicated the rusty nail that had fallen away from the crumbled wood. “Somebody gave a shit about fido. Got a pen?”

She handed him one; he used it to lift away a corner of the heavy plastic sheeting. Reed prepared himself for a wave of odor that surprisingly didn’t come.

Tanner got the first look and swore. “Holy Christ. Creepy doesn’t quite cover it.”

Not a dog or coyote, Reed saw. And not just bones. An infant, mummified.

“This is out of my area of expertise,” Tanner said. “I’ll need to call Sonoma State, get an anthropologist out here.”

Reed nodded, a sinking feeling in the pit of his gut. This picture-perfect wine country day had just turned ugly.

Excerpted from Blood Vines by Erica Spindler.

Copyright © 2010 by Erica Spindler.

Published in March 2010 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Blood Vines 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
jcushman0108 More than 1 year ago
I found the main characters shallow, and I felt no real chemistry between Reed and Alexandra. I thought Alex was weak and whiny; I was more impressed with Rachels character. As one reader pointed out Reed seemed to think very little of Alex through most of the story. The plot had a lot of tantalizing threads the were never fully developed and the end of the novel left me with more questions than answers. I felt very frustrated when i was done reading it...maybe she is going to write a sequel that will wrap things up?
Lilix More than 1 year ago
I just recently purchased this book from my local CVS, needing a quick read when I didn't have my Nookcolor. True to word of another writer, I found the characters very simple, very 2D. Very little was done to give the reader investment into the faces and names, and while the plot held marvelous potential, it simply fell short.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so looking forward to this book and I'm sorry to say I was disappointed. Many times I was tempted to skip forward to just end it but I trudged on through. While the book did pick up somewhat overall it fell flat. I wish I would have checked it out from the library and saved my money. Sorry Erica, better luck with your next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don’t usually read this genre of books, but I am helplessly addicted. This is the 6th book I have read of hers and I’m on to the next one now.
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Queens often become lazy after they have kits. I think we should change that, too. Chatting is for chatrooms." She paused. "To minimize chatting, a rule could be made that if someone wants to say something outside of Bloodclan/RP, it belongs in parentheses."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brief summary: everyone's lazy and we need to fix it. We need tobweed out the weak by finding the strong. Promote worthy to assassins, demote unworthy to warriors. Assassins must carry out requests to the end. Daily or semi-daily sparring each with different goals. All but kits et queens participate. Set days for raids, apprentises must update the clan list daily, that i will start, including the locations, activity, ect. Training must occur. Symbols symbolising ranks.<p> Brieg summary of second post: need one to watch over app to make sure they do their job. Maybe Deep. We'll see. Also need one to make sure patrols are going out. ~Informing Striking &#22225
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If all you wanted was love, <p>why would you use me up, <p>cut me down, <p>build a boat, <p>and sail away? <p>When all I wanted to be was your giving tree, <p>settle down, <p>build a home, <p>and make you happy. <br> Dunno why i'm even posting this. It won't change anything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Page Turner! Couldn't put it down!
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BookReaderAnnie More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful twist of suspense and romance. Once you start this book you won't be able to put it down until you know who did what.
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She spread her purple wings and tried to fly for the first time. She couldnt get very high off the ground.
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I read this and realy coulen't get into it. I ended up putting it down could not connct with ot all And that is weard becuse her books are top notch. Very dispointing.
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Will leave you wanting more and on the edge of your seat! Wonderful book!
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