SAMPLE BOOK: When Peter Stafford-Bow sent an email to me about his newest novel Brut Force, I told him I was ready for a little Brut Force. Fortunately, I knew who I was talking to, so I wouldn’t be accused of sexual harassment. We both had a good laugh.

Peter Stafford-Bow has outdone himself again,

in my humble opinion.

I thought Peter Stafford-Bow’s Corkscrew was the highly improbable, but occasionally true, tale of a professional wine buyer, and I loved it! Now, followed by Brut Force,  I believe this one is also occasionally true, but am definitely hoping the improbable is more like impossible.

Felix Hart is Peter Stafford-Bow’s character of a professional wine buyer, who again steps in deep merde.  If you think you can casually read this book, think again. It’s definitely a book that will have you leave everything else undone, until you get to the bottom of it; a.k.a, the last page that states “The End.”

It’s been left wide open, though, for the next installment, and I can hardly wait for the two years it will takes to construct such hilarity, scratches of the truth, and “what could go wrong next?” (which does develop in rapid fire).

For the lay person, while Felix Hart’s adventures take them into Wine 101, with words and explanations, like verasion, viticulture, pips, lees, and malo, we’re all then swept into the full blown planning of the Judgement of Bassildon. And, I don’t just mean the planning of who, what, when, and where, in its normalcy of planning. I mean the back end of it, where complicated chicanery becomes the usual, as the web grows larger and larger from competing forces, and guess who’s smack dab in the middle? Will he get out with his life and every limb?

Meanwhile, there’s a layer from the Minstrels of Wine that has me wondering how much would be real and how much is total bunk. Peter Stafford-Box has a website he’s been developing, devoted to this society he’s created. His tag for it?

The Worshipful Institute of the Minstrels of Wine
Established 538 B.C.E
Minstrels’ Hall, Long Acre, London W2, England
No visitors

“Welcome Initiates, on this, the twelfth day of Dionysus!”

Peter Stafford-Bow is a pseudonym. So, the question begs, “Who is this author, anyway?” One thing’s for sure, he’s in the wine trade and knows the intricate ins and outs, the good, the bad, and the ugly… As any industry has, really, but with wine? Wine tells the truth and can make a liar out of any of us. This is why fiction is so much fun.

Stafford-Bow’s character Felix Hart, in order to be spellbound by him, is on a testosterone overdrive and is a self-absorbed sod; and yet, he’s still lovable and you want him extricate himself from the weavings of his conjoined webs, which he’s created throughout the story.

From Corkscrew to Brut Force, what could possibly be next? Whatever it is, I’m ready.

Final thought: This is a somewhat timely book, as we were all rocked by the headline by the Daily Beast, for instance, “Cheating Scandal Rocks Elite Master Sommelier.” Someone shared the quiz’s answers and 23 wine experts, who did all of their studying to get to that level, had titles removed in professional shame… And, that’s a shame, because many of them could have made it. It such a long journey to take. Something taken this seriously allows for satire… That’s what Peter Stafford-Bow’s book uses… satire… flawlessly.