Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE
Author: Julie Hyzy
Author: Julie Hyzy
Affairs of Steak is the fifth volume in the White House Chef Mystery series, preceded by State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, Eggsecutive Orders, and Buffalo West Wing. As the titles imply, these are mysteries no reader should take too seriously. Judging from Affairs, the central character of the novels is White House chef Olivia Paras who isn’t much of a detective but rather a high-spirited magnet for trouble.
In this case, while scouting for a location to host a reception for a dinner honoring the new Secretary of State, Paras and the disagreeable White House Sensitivity Director, Peter Everett Sargeant, stumble on the dead bodies of an assistant to the First Lady and the President’s Chief of Staff. Immediately, Paras becomes wary of two men stalking her and becomes involved with the disappearance of the Secretary of State’s father-in-law. At the same time, she’s pulled into personality conflicts and turf wars among the kitchen staff. She’s also forced to help out a wrongly accused Sargeant who’s apparently been a thorn in her side in previous adventures. (How he became a “Sensitivity Director” is a mystery of its own as he’s as obnoxious as rotten egg fumes.) Along the way, she spends a lot of time with the Secret Service who keep her under guard as someone wants her dead. Two of the government agents, those with speaking parts, turn out to be past and future lovers, the latter making Paras behave like a giddy school-girl.
Clearly, there’s an audience for this kind of story even though the entire premise of this cat-and-mouse game doesn’t make much sense. Red herrings abound and some clues are obvious—who would miss the significance of that pen? The addition of several recipes at the end signal that this is the sort of book tailor-made for a Lifetime TV movie. Readers who enjoy this breed of light fare will no doubt want to add Affairs of Steak to their collections. Even if there’s not a steak in it.
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