Friday, December 30, 2011

Eggsecutive Orders

Eggsecutive Orders
Author: Julie Hyzy
Berkley, 2010
352 pages

In this third book in the White House Chef Mystery series, top chef Olivia "Ollie" Paras is doing more than cooking. One early morning as she's getting ready for work, Ollie learns that a guest at last night's White House dinner has died of mysterious causes, and all eyes are on the kitchen staff. Ollie knows that none of her team would ever poison anyone, and she's fairly confident in the safety of her kitchen's ingredients. Unfortunately, the Secret Service (including Ollie's boyfriend Tom, who's assigned to the President) isn't letting her or her team back into the kitchen just yet.

As the Secret Service awaits the medical examiner's report, Ollie gets some unexpected time off -- just as her mother and grandma ("nana") are in town for a visit to Our Nation's Capital. But Ollie doesn't want to be off work. She wants to be in the White House kitchen, doing her job, along with the other chefs, Bucky and Cyan. She also wants to take her visitors on a tour of the White House, but now it looks like that won't be possible.

Turns out, the man who died was the head of the National Security Agency. He wasn't exactly well-liked, so there are lots of suspects, including his second-in-command, and a mysterious older gentleman who begins paying amorous attention to Ollie's mom. And then Ollie remembers that there were guests in the kitchen that night: Two of her friends who host a TV cooking show - along with their crew - had taped a segment in the White House kitchen for an upcoming episode . . . and one of the hosts had a history with the dead man. Yet the Secret Service doesn't want Ollie helping in their investigation!

Of all the times for something like this to happen . . . the big Easter Egg Roll is only days away, and Ollie and her crew need to boil something like 15,000 eggs and prepare other food for one of the White House's biggest events of the year. Will they be able to pull it off? That's one of many questions to be answered in Eggsecutive Orders.

Author Julie Hyzy has a knack for writing believable (and interesting) dialogue, so you feel like you're  in the same room as the characters, eavesdropping on their conversations. Ollie is growing as a character, and having her mom and hilarious nana in town was a great idea (I'd like to see more of them - especially nana). I'd still like to punch the "sensitivity director" character in the face, but since I can't, maybe someone will in a future book.

Eggsecutive Orders, like the other books in this series, is a light and quick read. I read it in two nights. As with the others, there are some yummy-sounding recipes in the back. I'm particularly looking forward to trying the Eggs Benedict and the Scotch Eggs recipes some upcoming weekend. I already have the fourth book, Buffalo West Wing, and have pre-ordered the fifth, Affairs of Steak, which will be released next Tuesday (January 3). So as you can tell, I like the White House Chef Mysteries a lot! :)

Previously read books in this series:

Hail To The Chef
State Of The Onion