Desperately trying to avoid the “ROLLICKING GOOD TIME!” descriptor on this book, but rarely has something fit so well. If you enjoyed ‘Sideways’ this will be yawningly predictable in progression through the first few chapters and then it TAKES OFF in a stand-alone situational comedy laced with objective philosophical observations. While nowhere near as reverent as its predecessor towards the Holiest of Holy grape: Pinot Noir, the deep appreciation for it is wound tenaciously through. And Miles gets laid. Several times. Which makes me happy. And Jack–despite predictable professional and personal setbacks–is the stand-up guy we all knew he was. Miles’ mother Phyllis–a mere stop-over of emotion in the first book–gradually exposes herself as the pillar around which stability–and reflectiveness–is wound. The somber life-quality statement twisted into the finale will have you cheering or sobbing–but probably both. Oftimes when a sequel–to a story that was stand-alone genius–comes out, we are tempted to eye-roll our “Why?’s” and worry about watering down the original, but VERTICAL is a worthy companion, and a must-read for wine-lovers.
2017 VERTICAL: Passion & Pinot on the Oregon Trail Rex Pickett Loose Gravel Press