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Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – January 3, 2012
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About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Julie Hyzy writes both the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and has won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for her work. A native Chicagoan, she thoroughly enjoys researching her books, especially when traveling to exciting new places is involved.
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Like all the White House Chef mysteries, I find myself pulled into a fictional White House world. Author Julie Hyzy puts just enough detail to make you feel like you are right there. She also makes the characters very three-dimensional and sometimes, for a moment, I forget they aren't real. There are times I shake my head in frustration at Virgil, the annoying chef who would really like to take Olivia's job. And, then there is Gav - such a nice match for Ollie- I enjoyed reading the interactions between Ollie and Gav. Sargeant has a big role in this book, and it's interesting to see him more up-close.
This series is written so well, I can't help becoming attached to the characters and missing them when the book ends.
I thoroughly enjoyed this fifth outing for Chef Paras. I think in the past the character has been a little TOO squeaky clean, but here we see a warmer and more human portrait. By the fifth book we should be getting a more in-depth look at this character and her relationships, and I think we do. Hyzy does a fine job of moving Paras' work life, personal affairs and sleuthing forward in a believable and interesting way.
I enjoy the series and think this was the best one so far. Because the past is referred to frequently, a reader will enjoy this book more *after* reading books 1-4, but it could hold up as a stand-alone.
At the end of the book is a menu in which each dish is prepared with puff pastry, and the recipes seem good - haven't tried any yet, but I will.
Very enjoyable. Looking forward to the next in the series.
"Affairs of Steak" was non-stop, pulse thrumming action, from page one, when we learn Ollie is teamed up with Peter Sargeant, to multiple murders, attempted abductions, attempted burglaries, and yes, attempted murders... I still haven't caught my breath, ending on page 274 that ends with a laugh and a caution.
Added to this action, thankfully as I needed a rest, was the underlining of Ollie's love life. I can tell you that Ollie handles herself much more ladylike than I would have. This 'situation' even has her former boyfriend, Tom still involved in her life. Tom, of course, is just in a professional manner or is he? And, what is going on with Gav? Mrs. Wentworth and Stan want to know and so did I!
The complexities of life behind the White House doors and in the lives of the staff are never more dramatic than in this excellently written thriller. Yes, this novel was a mystery thriller and I would love to give actual details but, do not want to stop you from enjoying every single page. I was shocked and saddened by the outcome. Yet, I was so proud of Ollie and Peter!
Added as a Bonus for us readers and persons fond of eating, was an commanding offering of delicacies made with puff pastry. An entire meal worth! They have me placing puff pastry on my shopping list. I mean what more can a reader want... The next book is what!
Do treat yourself and get a copy quickly. Enjoy!
The one surprise for me was that the book did stray from it's predecessors in that Ollie does not discuss the food she prepares much. Most of the book is set outside the White House. I'm not sure if it takes a little away from the flavor of the series. It wasn't until the end that I realized that the food preparations were much more summarized than in previous books. I enjoyed the story so much, I didn't notice until it was over. Don't let this stop you from reading the book, it's just an observation.
I still loved it and will enjoy reading it again and again.