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Affairs of Steak Mass Market Paperback – Jan 3 2012
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About the Author
Julie Hyzy is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the White House Chef Mystery series, including State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Home of the Braised. She has garnered Anthony, Barry, Derringer, and Lovey Awards for her novels and short stories.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
With the assistant's death Ollie and Sargeant are assigned the job of organizing the party, but they are also going to have to work together to find a murderer. Their own lives are on the line. Did they see something they shouldn't have? Before they become the next victims they need to put their differences aside and find the killer.
A good portion of this book takes place outside of The White House so we see a little more of Ollie's personal life. She has the perfect neighbor. Everyone needs a Mrs. Wentworth next door. Ollie's love life is also evolving in a way both Mrs. Wentworth and I approve of.
The interplay between Sargeant and Ollie was unexpected, cleverly written, moving at times, as well as funny. Their relationship was taken to a new level that I really enjoyed. The total ineptness of the "interim" head usher just added to this multi-layered mystery. Ollie spent almost as much time in his office as the kitchen and she has a much higher patience level than this reader. I would have been so fired.
The entire story is superb. This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I look forward to each and every trip to The White House with Ollie. Julie never fails to cook up a marvelous mystery and Ollie takes us right into the middle of the fray. Be sure to add the to your new year reading lists!
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.
Ollie tries not to get involved but the fates conspire against her. First the head usher, Ollie's friend Paul, takes an indefinite leave which puts an inexperienced guy in his place. Then she somehow gets involved in a kidnapping of a family member of the Secretary of State. Finally, if working with Peter isn't annoying enough, she gets saddled with Wyatt, a protocol aide who is a big blowhard know -it-all. Add to all of this the need to keep most of the situation a secret for security's sake and the ongoing feud with the First Family's private chef, the situation just keeps getting worse.
Ollie's personal life isn't any calmer. Her romance with Secret Service Agent Tom is a fading memory and her new romance with SAC Gavin is seemingly going nowhere. Poor Ollie, it seems as though she has no peace in her life at work, at home, or in her love life. Ms. Hyzy does a great job of depicting the ins and outs of DC life and the way the White House hierarchy works. The situations that Ollie finds herself in aren't so farfetched as to be unbelievable. The book is suspenseful from beginning to end with plot twists galore.
On the way to the final venue to be checked out, they run into Peter's cousin, Milton. It's obvious that Peter wants nothing to do with Milton, but Ollie doesn't want to be rude and just brush him off. All Milton wants is for Peter to put in a good word for him at the White House so that maybe he can get a job there. He is so proud that Peter works there that when a guy bumps into him in the street he threatens him with arrest for assaulting a White House employee. Peter knows that Milton is not the right fit for the White House and pushes Ollie along, telling Milton they're late for their meeting and he'll be in touch.
They arrive at Lexington Place and go up to assess the kitchen area and function room to see if it would work for the birthday party. Expecting to find Patty Woodruff, assistant to the First Lady, waiting for them, they are surprised to find that she hasn't arrived yet. The two poke around and get a good feel for the place. They realize it could be a good place for the party. Upon closer inspection Ollie notices a thin red line on the floor she can't help but investigate. And the red stain leads her right to the tilt-skillet and the body of Patty Woodruff. As the secret service, DC police, and just about everyone else in DC converges on the scene, they make an even more gruesome discovery - the body of Chief of Staff Mark Cowley, stuffed into the tilt-skillet right next to Patty's.
And once again, Ollie finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a murder investigation. How can it be that the normally meddling chef, who isn't being her nosy self, still seems to find herself in the thick of it all? First, she is dealing with head usher Paul taking a leave of absence to tend to his ill wife, leaving the not-so-experienced Doug temporarily in charge. Then there is Virgil, the recently hired personal chef to the first family, who, much to the kitchen staffs liking, helps them out when not needed by the First Family. They just can't stand his, "I'm better than you" attitude. Who can blame them? And there is Peter - her nemesis. It seems that someone is out to get Peter, get him right out of the White House. Things are happening that are making it appear that Peter is making mistakes, and everyone knows that Peter does not make mistakes. And Ollie, G-d help her decides to help him find out who is behind it. Finally there is the matter of her love life; Tom, her ex and the head of the Presidential detail, seems to have moved on. And maybe Ollie has too? It seems there could be someone special in her life, but can they make a go of it? Will their mutually demanding jobs keep them apart? Or will something else come between?
Ollie is more than capable of dealing with the double murder, the 24 hour secret service protection, the ever annoying Virgil and his big head, and believe it or not, even Peter. But can she deal with the fact that it appears some very high-ranking public figure wants her, Ollie Paras, Executive Chef at the White House, dead?
Affairs of Steak, the fifth book in the White House Chef Mystery series (see State of The Onion, Hail To The Chef, Eggsecutive Orders & Buffalo West Wing) once again brings you into the heart of the house - the kitchen. And so what if that house just happens to be the most important house in the United States - the White House? Julie Hyzy has created a culinary delight that will appeal to all of your senses, making this an affair to remember.
The story held my attention from beginning to end.The characters were more highly developed and I felt I got to know and understand their motives better.
I highly recommended the book.