Escaping her glamorous boyfriend’s party in the early hours of the morning, Chef Sunny McCoskey (Death by the Glass, 2003) finds strange fruit hanging on a tree in the peace and quiet of Vedana Vineyards.
Some psycho has killed pretty young Heidi Romero and tied her corpse in a la shibari Japanese bondage fetish. The ghost of the victim haunts Sunny, who investigates despite Sergeant Steve Harvey’s stern warning. She and sous chef Rivka Chavez meet an aging surfer named Joel Hyder who claims to be Heidi’s ex. After stepping over the crime scene tape on the victim’s Sausalito houseboat, they sun themselves and sip champagne but find nothing suspicious except for Hyder. Then winemaker Wade Skord and Rivka conscript Sunny to crash a dinner for classic Ferrari collectors and, voila, they’re sharing a table with Vedana Vineyards owners Bruce and Kimberly Knolls. Spectacularly beautiful Kimberly is resentful of Sunny’s interest in the corpse hanging from their tree. Her displeasure becomes obvious when she interrupts Sunny cleaning out a grease trap with serious brand-name intimidation. Sunny eventually serves up the killer and avoids becoming either the next work of bondage art or a vegetarian who’ll never look at meat again.
Gordon walks a fine line between indulging food fetishes and providing glimpses into the sometimes brutal art of cuisine.