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Nose: A Novel

3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Bonfire of the Vanities meets Sideways—asaga of secrets, family, and a mystery bottle of wine that could change everything foreverIna gorgeous wine valley in northern California, the economic downturn has put a number of dreams on hold. But above it all is esteemed critic Clyde Craven-Jones, a man whose ego nearly surpasses his substantial girth. As the novel opens he blin ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 12th 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published March 1st 2013)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 543)
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Aurora
Name of Book: Nose

Author: James Conaway

ISBN: 9781250006844

Publisher: St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dune Books

Type of book: 2000s, wine, Napa Valley, California, mystery, "romance" old school vs new school

Year it was published: 2013

Summary:

Bonfire of the Vanities meets Sideways—a saga of secrets, family, and a mystery bottle of wine that could change everything foreverIn a gorgeous wine valley in northern California, the economic downturn has put a number of dreams on hold. But above it all is este
...more
Brooke Banks
I won a copy through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
Also on my blog: The Broke Book Bank

Pros

++ very detailed and informative about wine and it is very approachable. I’m a total n00b on the subject and was able to understand it and found it fascinating

++the second half really ramps things up and I enjoyed watching the characters scramble to deal with the consequences

++very descriptive writing, which mostly worked and I’m sure will be well received if you like the style

++the characters are ver
...more
Guylou
There is nothing more lovely than a good glass of wine shared with family and friends during a succulent meal. I am French; I was practically raised on wine. I am not one of those fancy critics or connoisseurs; I just enjoy wine for my own pleasure... keep it simple and affordable. I was so happy when I was selected to pre-read this book which will available in bookstores in March. The short description of the book made me curious and I kept my fingers crossed in hope to be selected... I was thr ...more
Katie
I waffled between 3 and 4 stars. I'd definitely give it 4 for anyone in the California wine country. There are so many things about this book that would probably ring so true for anyone in that area!

The story is about a mysterious bottle of wine anonymously left on a prestigious wine critic's porch to evaluate. The wine is fantastic, but the critic does not know what wine it is. He pens a wine newsletter, and decides to put out a news item calling for the wine-leaver to fess up. The story then r
...more
Katelyn
Nose, a novel by James Conaway is a light, often humorous read centered around the wine industry in California. Conaway does an excellent job of smoothly integrating explanations into the story, so that the uninformed reader understands some of the workings of the business. The book begins with a focus on Clyde Craven-Jones, a wine critic, who has just encountered a wine worthy of a perfect score. However, the wine came anonymously, and there are no clues as to who made the wine or where it came ...more
Nathan
Set in a non-specific California wine valley, James Conaway's Nose follows journalist-turned-private-eye Les Breeden in his case to uncover a mysterious bottle of wine that was given a perfect score by the world-famous and ultra-corpulent wine critic, Clyde Craven-Jones. The plot thickens like a botrytis-enhanced desert wine when Craven-Jones is found dead, bottoms-up in a fermentation tank.

With this setting in mind, the reader can expect a hedonistic slew of sexual interaction and pretentious u
...more
Diane
This was my first encounter with the work of James Conaway, thanks to a Goodreads Giveaway. He has the capability of imparting knowledge while embedding it in an engrossing tale. His style of writing is informative, enjoyably entertaining, though at times the use of 'wine' terms can be a bit overwhelming. As a result, I've learned more about wine from this book, than from any wine tasting events or articles read over the years.

The characters are sympathetic, reprehensible, humorous, and totally
...more
Ethan
The quintessential "summer read". A lightweight romance+whodunit that takes place in the wine industry of a barely-disguised Napa Valley.

The industry bits are important to the story, but they're not heavy-handed, superfluous, or distracting. If anything, some of the mistakes in detail even take you out of the illusion (such as putting a magazine online at *.blogspot.com, with the publisher calling in to register a third-level domain over the phone - why not just buy the second level domain?). G
...more
jenn
Yes, this is the quintessential summer read, but also serves the purpose well when winter will just.not.end. It has enough twists and turns to be interesting throughout, but your still able to put it down and get a good nights sleep. I am also under the impression that this book is rather gender neutral but will report back after my husband has read.
Jenair
Seems like a typical summer read, but was equally perfect for snowed in winter. I think it's a gender neutral book and have rec to my husband to read. Overall it was a nice easy read with enough twists and turns to be interesting, but not overly complicated (or gross, as many mysteries tend to be for me anymore)
Michael
You'd think this book was written expressly for me: a mystery novel about wine!

The problem is it doesn't really succeed on either front.

On the mystery front, you're in trouble if your most interesting character is the one who dies. The book never really recovers, especially given that the mystery really isn't mysterious. There's a bunch of people scrambling around, but the answer is given to the reader along with the mystery, which saps a lot of the fun.

On the wine front, I just can't believe t
...more
Kate
About half of the book is completely character-driven, yet all of those characters bored me to tears. If Conaway had intertwined the plot-fueled second half with the slow-as-molasses, character-driven first half (or even given more atmospheric details to that first half to make me lose myself in beautiful descriptions), I suspect I might have cared more about Les, Sarah, Claire, and C.J. As it was, I didn't much mind what happened to anybody, which made it hard to care about the (rather paper-th ...more
Dallas
Funny and fast-paced, with a few fun surprises. It didn't change my life, but it was a pleasant read in the same vein as Sideways.
Mark
Nose came of as haughty. It really felt as if the author was trying far too hard to convey a sense of prestige and culture. It starts off this way but you soon realize that is exactly the intent. You soon meet many other interesting and diverse characters.

The picture of the small town that is painted, surrounded by rich sprawling vineyards and the ocean on the horizon almost elicits rich homey smells from the pages.

The storyline keeps you interested. I enjoyed the read. I would read more from J
...more
Kathi Drenning
I want to fly to California and taste every Cabernet, thanks to my friend, Patricia Valas, who recommended this great book!
Ampersand Canada's Book & Gift Agency Inc
This is a novel that pokes fun at the wine business in the Napa Valley. The main character is an unemployed reporter who is doing duty as a PI trying to find out the origins of an unlabeled bottle of wine left with a prominent wine critic who gives it the top score (20 points) of any wine he has reviewed. Meanwhile, said wine critic accidentally kills himself in a wine vat at an industry party at a winery (the locals wonder if it was murder…). You can tell while reading it that the author knows ...more
Kent Johnson
A wine connoisseur friend of mine recommended that I read this book. I really enjoyed it, but I can see some drawbacks. I'm from Northern California, and have been to the wineries plenty of times in both Napa and Sonoma Valley's. You can barely move in Napa without hitting wine snobs and vintners pouring WAY overpriced wine. The book describes this turf pretty well, and I like the story. If you are not into wine, or haven't visited and seen how wine enthusiast act, then you may not find this boo ...more
Sasha
I received this book from goodreads giveaway,
This was the first time I have read anything by this author.... I truly enjoyed this book. The characters were wonderfully though out and very interesting people. Even though not always that like able. The story is full of good twists, a wonderful balance of environmental concerns, mysteries, romance, wit, and evil-doings. There are lots of information for us wine lovers to enjoy. Once I picked up the book I didn't want to put it down this was a real
...more
Jennifer
I really enjoyed this book. I like wine & Napa Valley, so it was fun to read about some of the inner workings of that area. I enjoyed the politics of the big guy vs. the little guy, and the old school critic fighting against the internet and electronic age. My only complaint about the book is that I don't feel like I really got to know any of the characters. I learned some backstory, but then other things were alluded to, but never fleshed out. Altogether though, a satisfying read.

I received
...more
Nancy Klein
If you love wine (and who doesn't), this is a fun little fiction to read. Set in a fictional wine valley in Northern California, it follows the story of a renowned wine critic who receives a bottle of wine without a label. Upon tasting it, he rates it a 20--the highest rating on his scale and the first to ever achieve such a rating. The book chronicles the search for the bottle's provenance. The story is easy reading, a glimpse into the high-stakes wine business, and, even with death and a bit o ...more
Rhiannan G
3.5-4

I received this book from goodreads giveaway!


This is the first book I have read by this author. I thoroughly enjoyed Nose. The characters were well thought out and captivating, even if I often found them unlikable. The story is full of twists, mystery, romance, wit. There is a lot of information for us wine drinkers to enjoy. Once I picked up the book I did not want to put it down this was a really good read and I will be sure to look up other books by this James Conaway. [I lent it to my s
...more
Mary
I enjoyed the mystery that this book presented. It kept me interested and engaged with the story. The characters had lots of texture, although I didn't always agree with them and their points of view.

The book also had a nice balance if romance, wit, environmental concerns and mystery. For the wine lover, there is plenty of information and knowledge to enjoy throughout.

Overall nice pacing and a good story for wine lovers!

Reader received a complimentary copy from the publisher through the Good R
...more
Susana
A chuckle all through.
Michelle
Hilarious somewhat satirical romp through wine country, a whodunit if the appearance of a mystery bottle of Cabernet qualifies as a mystery. This is told through alternating viewpoints and you really have everything here: snooty wine reviewer, wealthy landowners, environmentalists, clandestine bloggers. I love that the town “dive bar” is a wine bar with a really good selection. They mystery isn’t super mysterious, but I sort of think that’s the point. Overall goofy and fun, but extremely well-wr ...more
Debra
***Received from Goodreads first reads

I had a hard time getting into this book. It took me about 100 pages to decide if I liked it or not. I believe the main resons for this was that, like other reviewers, I did not find the characters to be likeable. They mystery was good. The writing was also very good. But I find that if I don't care that much for the characters, I don't care too much for the book. It is not a bad book, I can see it's appeal to others but for me it was good - not great.
Sara
The first 100 pages or so of this book just bored me to tears. The book began with a vague story-line about a mystery bottle of wine that appears at a wine critic's home. Then the book jumped around to various characters who each tie into this story-line, but without any real sense of connection or urgency. Somewhere around page 125 it picked up and I was engaged for a while. Then there was a bunch of ridiculous wrap up at the end. Not worth the read in my opinion.
Shannon
I received this first read book from goodreads giveaway,this book was not my most favorite book the charecters were not likable at all maybe this was done on purpose? I don't know much about California wine country living or the people but I will say if you do or have a love for wine and wine lingo this book is one that may interest you. I gave it three stars because it was well put together and I like the slight mystery it has and details.
Shannon
Received as a first-reads promotion.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are fully fleshed out, interesting people--not always likeable. Protagonists are endearing. The story full of good twists--a balance of environmental concerns, a couple of mysteries, love, and corporate evil-doings. Lots of wine-geek information to love. It sent me to the library list searching for more by Conaway. And a glass of red to go with.
Jason
* I won this book for free through the Goodreads first reads program.

This was kind of an odd book, but good. It is the story of a pro wine taster, who finds the perfect wine. But cannot find where it came from. The book is a family saga/mystery/love story all in one book. I learned alot about wine making, what to look for in wine. And I learned diffrent things about napa and it's wine making/drinking people. A great book.
Laura
This "romp" through the world of wineries and wine critics in an unnamed Northern California valley is a lightest-of-the-light airplane/beach read. It's a bit of a slow starter that ramps up when the author stops introducing characters and starts a plot, occasionally amusing but pretty much predictable. It's not a bad read if you've nothing REALLY good avaialble, but I wouldn't put it at the top of my list.
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