Sunday, March 16, 2008

State of the Onion

Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer already proved, in Agnes and the Hitman, that a frying pan can be a deadly weapon. Now, Olivia Paras, White House Assistant Chef in Julie Hyzy's State of the Onion, uses a skillet with equal efficiency. She proves it can be a weapon of self-defense, and a tool to save the nation.

When arriving at the White House one day, Ollie witnesses a man running across the lawn, pursued by Secret Service agents. When they fail to catch him, and he runs straight at her, Ollie coldcocks him with a commemorative skillet. As she's rushed from the scene, she overhears her victim address the Secret Service agents by name.

Ollie should have too much on her plate to find herself in the middle of a mystery. The White House Executive Chef is retiring, and Ollie is competing for the position, against a television chef who knows the First Lady. However, when her Secret Service boyfriend lies to her about the man on the lawn, she is just stubborn enough to poke around. She never expects to witness a murder at the merry-go-round on the Mall. Suddenly, Ollie's life becomes more complicated. In a brief week and a half, she has to help with a state dinner, keep the White House kitchen running smoothly despite stiff competition for the job she craves, and thwart an assassin who knows she saw him. It's not an easy job juggling the White House china.

Hyzy creates a likable heroine in the fun debut novel in the White House Chef Mystery series. The reader roots for Ollie's success, both as an amateur detective, and in her competition for the Executive Chef position. Julie Hyzy's new mystery is a fast-paced page turner. It's hard to believe Olivia Paras' story covers only a week and a half. However, it just might be one of the most important periods in White House history. Olivia Paras might have to save the country's good name, as well as the State of the Onion in the White House kitchen.

Julie Hyzy's website is

State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2008. ISBN 978-0425218693 (paperback), 325p.


Kay said...

I have been meaning to read this one. I'll have to see if we are getting it at the library or if I need to make a trip to Borders. Thanks for the nudge! LOL

Lesa said...

Nudge, nudge, Kay. My sister read it even before I finished, and she liked it, too.

Booklogged said...

You're killing me here! I love cozy mysteries and you've already introduced me to some I've never heard of but now want to read. One of those has 20 books in it already. I'm about to go under for the 3rd time. Glub, gulp...

Lesa said...

I can't even throw you a life preserver! I've just been on a cozy mystery kick lately, and I read some good ones.

At least The State of the Onion is the first in a series, so you don't have others to read right now!