Readers of earlier books in this series will find it ironic that Ollie has been paired up with the White House sensitivity director, Peter Everett Sargeant. To say the two of them don’t get along is an understatement. But, they’ve been assigned the job of finding the perfect venue for a birthday party for the Secretary of State. Naturally, even before they get to the venue, things go wrong. Sargeant’s shabby looking nephew, Milton, accosts them on the street, and while they’re trying to get away, a man hurrying by almost knocks Peter down. But, it’s what Ollie and Sargeant find at Lexington Place that causes the uproar. While touring the kitchen, Sargeant finds a trace of blood, and then Ollie finds two bodies, two bodies connected to the White House. It’s a crime scene that will tie Ollie Paras and Peter Everett Sargeant together, and keep the Secret Service hustling to keep up with Ollie.
It seems the killers know a little too much about Ollie, and she’s suspicious about a couple men she encounters on the Metro. But, it’s Milton, Sargeant’s disreputable nephew, who is convinced he saw the killers, and pushes Ollie to ask questions about a case she didn’t plan to get involved in. As Special Agent in Charge Leonard Gavin tells Ollie he admires her because she’s “Willing to stick your neck out – sometimes quite literally – for the greater good. You’re brave, strong, upbeat.”
Some readers may feel the same way a jealous chef does about Ollie. “Everybody goes on and on about what an asset she is to the White House. Doesn’t anyone notice that she spends more time catching criminals than she does creating menus?” In this book, in particular, there’s less kitchen life than ever, except for the book in which she was exiled from the White House. If you’re reading these books for the kitchen life in the White House, this book will be disappointing. However, if you’re reading it for Ollie, “brave, strong, upbeat,” her evolving relationships, even with Peter Everett Sargeant, and an exciting mystery involving affairs of state, you won’t be disappointed. Affairs of Steak is Ollie Paras at the top of her game.
Julie Hyzy’s website is http://www.juliehyzy.com/.
Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2012. ISBN 9780425245835 (paperback), 293p.
FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.