SONOMA by Leonard Sanders


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Imitation-Godfather family melodrama among-Corsican-Americans in California's Sonoma (Valley of the Moon) wine fields--crude, flat, and stereotypical start to finish. Lawyer Johnny Moretti, turning 30 and getting his first big national-exposure case, visits his tradition-bound father Silvio during the Blessing of the Grapes festival and is told that he must return to help Silvio and brother Carlo run the winery: young, goatish Carlo is good with his hands, but Johnny has the brains for the top job when Silvio retires. Still, Johnny yearns for the law and says no, even though Moretti trucks are being mysteriously wrecked, their drivers murdered. Johnny winds up sticking around, however, partly because of neighbor Christina Borneman, beauteous young museum curator, with whom he shares super sex on his houseboat. Partly, also, because two old Corsican Moretti guards are drowned in a vat of warm Cabernet Sauvignon. Soon, therefore, it's family-solidarity time--as the Morettis move toward a vendetta against Lucian Hall: the villainous wine conglomerate that's out to absorb the Moretti winery with offers-they-can't-refuse. The latest Lucian Hall villainies: Moretti vines are sabotaged with saltwater, and the Jerry Brown-styled Governor (Silvio's chum) is set up for a phony men's-room morals charge. Despite everything, however, Johnny won't go whole Corsican hog and kill, even when Carlo's wife and daughter are nearly burned alive. He must fight Hall his way, as a lawyer. Then Silvio shoots down Johnny's romance: Christina is really Silvio's daughter, Johnny's half-sister. What's more, her ""father"" Emil is the big saboteur. . . Dumb and derivative, far inferior to a half-dozen other recent California-wine sagas.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1981
Publisher: Delacorte