Taking his first stab at fiction writing, Laurel resident Joseph Finora has recently released his first mystery novel, “Red Like Wine: The North Fork Harbor Vineyard Murders.”
The novel tells the story of down-and-out New York City crime reporter Vin Gusto and his former girlfriend, photographer Shanin Blanc, who discover that more than wine is being made at the vineyard in a farming-and-fishing community that’s slowly becoming a wine destination.
When a renowned but reclusive winemaker turns up dead in a vat of his own juice, the couple tries to solve the crime while repairing their relationship and careers amid the murder and mayhem.
Mr. Finora, whom you might know from his involvement with the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League or his recent campaign for Town Trustee, is the first to admit the tale is inspired by his experience working as a New York City reporter, his relationship with his wife and the changing dynamic of the North Fork from a quiet town to an increasingly popular tourist destination.
“I have always wanted to write a murder mystery,” he said. “And I have always been in love with the local wine community. It’s a ripe setting for it.”
The novel, three years in the making, was the result of a lot of research about crime investigations and a lot of early morning writing, Mr. Finora said. His wife, Mary Grace, to whom the book is dedicated, also played a big part in the editing process.
“She is one of those straight-shooting critics,” he said. “She was not shy about telling me what she thought and pointing out how to make the storyline better.”
The 360-page novel is Mr. Finora’s first full-length work of fiction. However, he is no novice. A full-time writer, he’s penned thousands of articles as a freelance journalist, in addition to two business books — “Media Relations and Creative Marketing Tips for Financial Professionals” in 2007 and “Recession Marketing” in 2009.
The reviews of “Red Like Wine” have already been positive. Smoke Magazine has called it “a vintage read” and author Georgeann Packard said the writing is “crisp and natural,” adding that “you won’t be able to put Finora’s book down.”
Mr. Finora said he’s already working on his next novel.
“I am letting a few ideas settle, but I am definitely working on another fiction book,” he said. “I love writing in the early mornings. I can’t wait to get back to it.”
“Red Like Wine: The North Fork Harbor Vineyard Murders” is available locally at BookHampton in Matituck and Preston’s in Greenport and online at amazon.com.