Sunday, January 8, 2012

Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy

White House chef Olivia Paras and her arch nemesis, White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant, must work together to solve the double murder of one of the First Lady's assistants and the Chief of Staff-before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda.  ( Synopsis from
Paperback, Berkley, 304 pages
Ollie Paras returns again as White house Chef in a new mystery from Julie Hyzy. At the request of the First Lady, Ollie has to work with prissy Sensitivity Director, Peter Sergeant to arrange a birthday party for the Secretary of State.  On their way to the venue, they are stopped by Peter’s ne’er do well relative, Milton, who is pushing Peter for a White House job. They also have a brush with a rude stranger.  When the duo gets to the Lexington, they discover the bodies of two White House staffers in some kitchen equipment. Thus begins Ollie’s wild ride.
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.

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