White House executive chef Ollie Paras has to put her own interests on the back burner when a kindly electrician is electrocuted to death, and the First Lady’s nephew dies in an apparent suicide less than 24 hours after cleaning shrimp with Ollie. Ollie suspects something fishy is going on. She’ll have to watch her back - and find a killer unlikely to be pardoned.
©2008 Tekno Books (P)2014 Audible Inc.
While I enjoyed the White House setting and the fact the leading character is a capable woman, I was regularly distracted by the inaccuracies of kitchen life. I thought the narrator did a good job.
Just a couple of notes about the kitchen culture she got wrong:
*The head chef (regardless of what he or she is called) is the boss - no back talk such as Bucky regularly passes her way would be accepted.
*The rest of the kitchen staff would call her CHEF during working hours. Yes, they do it on TV and it is the way of the kitchen.
*If four professionally trained chefs are panicking over Thanksgiving dinner for 9, there is something terribly wrong. Panicking over the reception for 200 is much more rational.
*If she has worked her way up to Executive Chef at the White House, she will not be surprised at the amount of paper work that comes her way. And the worst part is not scheduling employees' vacations, it is ordering food, vetting suppliers and checking in deliveries. The week this book occurs would have been a controlled chaos - something we do not see at all.
*Any meal made from MREs and canned supplies may be nutritious but it would not be of award winning caliber.
I had some fun with the book but am not sure I will take on another.
Narrator was fine, it was the story that bored me. And was kind of stupid.
I would not have published this book.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
I rarely listen to books from a series back-to-back. I enjoyed the first book of the White House Chef Mysteries so much that I made an exception and listened to the first two books one after the other. That's 1) a sign of how enjoyable I find these books to be, and 2) probably a lesson to stick to my original practice of not consuming them in sequence.
As I've mentioned before, this narrator is periodically irritating with her gravely approach to male voices. I found that easy to ignore, particularly since I already knew it was just going to be that way. These stories have twists and turns that kept this listener quite entertained. However, there is minimal character development and nuance in these stories. If I want complexity all the time, there are plenty of other books available...but that might explain why sequential listening wasn't the greatest idea.
What I absolutely love about these books are 1) the White House related stories, 2) the personality of the primary character, and 3) the pacing of the book. Re the White House part: the pressures and demands on the kitchen staff are really interesting and probably reasonably close to reality. The challenges that various staff departments face and their overall pride and response to the First Family and their historic home is fascinating to this listener. Re the primary character: she is resourceful, creative, and very "can-do"; while experiencing human fears, exhilarations, and all the rest of real life emotional cycles. She is easy to relate to vs being so extreme that you could never see yourself in the various situations. Re pacing: Julie Hyzy has set a pace that is almost rhythmic to listen to. She describes scenes and sets environments deftly with a thoroughly enjoyable economy of words. Nothing seems to slow down or drag.
The stories are not overly complex, yet you don't always see things coming. Overall, I find these books to be a treat somewhat like dessert, but they definitely aren't a heavy meal. (And, please excuse the culinary metaphors.)
It was better than the last but still a bit unrealistic. My favorite line from the movie was: Bucky: How do you get involved in all of the intrigue around here? That pretty much sums up what annoys me with this series. I think I will read the next book when I have run out of other books.
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