Friday, January 13, 2012

Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy

In Affairs of Steak, Ollie Paras, the Executive Chef at the White House, is paired up with Peter Sargeant, the White House's Sensitivity Director, to find a venue for the Secretary of State's birthday party. The problem is that they don't get along at all. When they inspect the preferred venue for its suitability, they discover two bodies, both with strong ties to the White House. As rumours and suspicions abound, Ollie and Peter must huddle together and figure out who the culprit is before they become his next victims.

I loved this book! I've read two others in the series and loved them as much as this one. This 5th book in White House Chef Mystery series is so well written and fun to read. I just loved to sitting down with Ollie (and Julie) to see what she's cooked up this time. Pun intended. I may be a little biased because I'm a huge fan of Hyzy's and this series. This one seemed a little edgier or had more dangerous situations in it than the other two that I've read. More of the action took place outside of the kitchen, so maybe that's why it felt different. I like to think of the kitchen as Ollie's safe haven; when she's there she's less likely to get into really serious trouble. Anyway, it's all good.

Ollie always seems to have her hands full. She deals with new people to the job, new regulations, new and old rivalries, not to mention cooking elaborate meals for the President, his family and other dignitaries. And that's just her day job! She also investigates murders and other suspicious activities that happen in and around the White House. She's a gem!

My one small complaint is that the characters didn't spent as much time in the kitchen as I would have liked. As I said above, I thought this added more danger to the storyline and I really liked that. However, I love hearing about the food that Ollie cooks for the President, the first family and other visiting dignitaries. Even when it's simple fare, it sounds so scrumptious. A little of that was missing here.

New word: apologetic (page 91): remorseful (I've looked this word up so many times, but I just can't seem to remember what it means.)

I love that this book contained some recipes. These ones look especially delicious. Who doesn't love (or at least like) puff pastry?! In moderation, of course. ;) It makes every dish look and taste extra special. I love that some of these simple recipes could be used for weekday family meals as well as fancy-shmancy company's-coming weekend ones. I already have my eye on the few of them.

Julie also writes another series, Manor House Mystery series, which is just as fun and wonderful as this one. For all of my reviews of Julie's books, please see the Review By Author page on this blog. You can't go wrong with any of them.

Highly recommended.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit Penguin's website.

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Julie Hyzy's website.

Thanks to Dana Kaye from Kaye Publicity for this review copy.

Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy, Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin), ©2011. ISBN 9780425245835(Mass Market), 293p, includes recipes.

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