The State of the Onion
by Julie Hyzy
3 stars - fun stuff
Light, easy going, perfect way to spend an afternoon when you don't want to be challenged. Time for some fun.
This is the first in a series about White House head chef, Olivia Paras. In the opening scene, Olivia is in the wrong place at the wrong time and single handedly takes out a White House intruder by knocking him on the head with a frying pan.
As with all mysteries of this genre, no gross or scary stuff, plenty of delightful characters, and a reasonably complex mystery. I loved all the details about running the White House kitchen and the side story regarding the competition for first chef position between Olivia and her nemesis, the narcissistic TV personality, Laurel Anne, was well played and amusing.
I liked the author even before I started the book proper. In her acknowledgements, she has the usual thanks to the folks who told her about how things work at the White House, along with this:
And I'd like to thank the Department of Homeland Security for not breaking down my door after my many Internet searches of "Camp David," "terrorist," "assassin," "White House floor plan," and the like.
Loyal readers know that one thing I require in a book is that the side characters are as well fleshed out as the main characters. Ms. Hyzy satisfied. Great descriptions of the people circling around the primary story.
Peter Everett Sargeant III reminded me of a grouchy squirrel. With his hands positioned as though he were cradling a precious nut, he canted his head three different ways in the space of two seconds. Alert, wary, eager.
For anybody who likes to cook (not me) there are several actual White House recipes included in the back of the book. If you do try them, they all sound yummy, so save me some, OK?