In the Vines
by Shannon Kirk
Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date : July 17, 2018
Pages : 317
Synopsis from Publisher :
Mary Olivia Pentecost, known as Mop, was born into one of the wealthiest families in the country—and one of the most guarded. Now, two years after her mother’s mysterious death, Mop is seeking closure on the disquieting tragedy by returning to the New England seaside estate of her cloistered Aunty Liv—once her closest relative and confidante.
But behind the walls of the isolated estate, the shadows of the past are darker than Mop imagined. The puzzles of the family history are not to be shared, but unearthed. With each revelation comes a new, foreboding threat—and for Mop, the grave suspicion that to discover Aunty Liv’s secrets is to become a prisoner of them.
I will never cease to be amazed by the many facets of crime fiction. I have said this before but because of Shannan Kirk’s latest novel In the Vines, the statement bares repeating. In the Vines is a captivating and mesmerizing read full of flair which will appeal to fans of crime fiction who are looking for a different type of crime fiction read.
Mary Olivia Pentecost, known to most as Mop, was born into one of the most prominent and influential families in New England. There is no one on earth Mop loves more than her mother Johanna and her quirky, fun-loving Auntie Liv. When Johanna dies unexpectedly, Liv isolates herself within the Pentecost family estate. With many questions surrounding Johanna’s death, Mop attempts to move on with her life, but a part of her needs to know the details of her mother’s death. She returns to Liv’s home and is shocked by what she finds. Her Auntie Liv is a shell of women she once knew. Liv is scarred physically and emotionally by the events linked to Johanna’s death. Liv’s appearance and change in personality make Mop even more determined to uncover the circumstances of her mother’s death. Mop soon learns her beloved aunt has many secrets. As she learns these secrets, she also finds herself in danger.
The main character of this story is Mop, however she is frequently upstaged by Liv. Liv has a very strong presence throughout the entire book, even within the sections told from Mop’s point of view. While reading In the Vines, I continuously wondered how or if the section I was currently reading could be linked to Liv. I discovered everything lead back to Liv in some way.
Pretty early on readers learn that Liv is mentally unstable. Events both current and past have left her teetering on the edge. With the exception of one past event, Liv’s reactions to wrong doings and rejection are over the top to say the least. Dramatic is another way to describe Liv. While under the threat of physical harm, she took note of her attackers undergarments. Liv’s attacker’s poor choice of undergarments was just as much of an atrocity as the physical threat. If I had to pick one element of In the Vines to criticize it would be the extreme dramatics. However Kirk does manage to dial back the theatrics before they become too over the top.
The New England setting of In the Vines allows readers to become fully immersed in the story. While reading I could imagine the estate Mop and Liv call home ; with its lush greens, beautiful flowers, and ocean views. While reading some portions of In the Vines, I could imagine waves crashing and wind howling as the scenes played out. Giving the story a dark creepy vibe which added intrigue, as well as an element of horror.
I will admit, it took me some time to get into In the Vines. In the beginning, I had difficulty figuring out what was happening. About a quarter of the way through, I was able to get into the swing of the story and appreciate Kirk’s unique storytelling. Kirk’s writing is beautiful and atmospheric. While I may have been a little confused about the destination of the story, I did enjoy the journey.
** Thanks to Thomas & Mercer for my free copy of In the Vines**
Murder and Moore Rating :
4 out of 5 Stars