Sunday, January 8, 2012

Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy

Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy

The blurb:
White House executive chef Olivia Paras just wants to create first-class cuisine for the First Family. Unfortunately, dangerous politics keep spoiling her recipes. . .

Assigned to work with her arch nemisis, Peter Everett Sargeant, the White House sensitivity director, Ollie must find a venue for an event to honor the secretary of state.  Instead they find one of the First Lady's assistants and the chief of staff, both murdered--and Ollie and Peter may have witnessed the killer making his getaway.

News reports suggest that the assistant and the chief of staff were having an affair, but no one on the staff believes the rumor.  Now, with their jobs--and their lives--in jeopardy, Ollie and Peter must depend on each other to learn who killed their colleagues and why--before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda. . .

In Affairs of Steak, executive chef Ollie Paras must work with the persnickety social secretary Peter Sargeant.   Ollie keeps her sense of humor and tries to make the best of a difficult situation but things get exponentially tougher when the two come across the corpses of fellow White House employees.   The loss of co-workers is hard on everyone but when the White House loses employees, this means additional security and a need for secrecy.

Ollie's day gets progressively worse.  As she heads home, she realizes that she's being followed and is in danger.  Her quick thinking and powers of observation save her, but the danger remains.   Ollie merits protective detail - which adds a layer of romance and humor to the story.  Her current romantic prospect is Agent Gavin Scorroco with the Secret Service and her ex-boyfriend Tom MacKenzie is the head of the local Police Department.

Ollie continues with her hectic schedule at the White House kitchen, keeping her staff occupied and in good spirits while tamping down the rivalry with the First Family's personal chef.  The office rivalries and jealousies show us just how kind Ollie can be -- I would have welcomed her lashing out against the more competitive and petty characters.  In between the meals and banquets, Ollie carries on her own investigations.  Ollie's sleuthing somehow leads her to murderer in a roundabout and satisfying way.  Julie Hyzy's Affairs of Steak delivers an endearing sleuth and an absorbing mystery.

ISBN-10: 0425245837 - Paperback $7.99
Publisher: Berkley; Original edition (January 3, 2012), 304 pages.
Review copy provided by Kaye Publicity and the publisher.

About the Author:

Julie Hyzy is the national bestselling author of the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. She won the Barry and Anthony Awards for Best Paperback Original for State of the Onion in 2009, and several other awards for her novels and short stories. Her first Manor House Mystery, Grace Under Pressure, earned a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly. Julie loves to read, eat out, and watch old movies and TV shows with her husband and three daughters. They live near Chicago with two rambunctious cats, Kitka and Violet.

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