Title: Affairs of Steak
Author: Julie Hyzy
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5
White House Chef Ollie Paras is back, and this time, her life is in danger. After discovering the body of the First Lady’s Chief of Staff, Ollie finds herself once again in the middle of a murder investigation. To make things worse, Peter Sargeant, the White House Sensitivity Director with whom Ollie does not see eye to eye, was with her when she discovered the body, and now they must work together to figure out who wants them dead and why.
In the fifth installment of the White House Chef mysteries (after Buffalo West Wing), Ollie Paras is back and dealing with a whole new set of challenges. The new murder has thrown Ollie for a loop, and while she does do her best to stay out of it, she can’t help but exercise her natural curiosity and ask questions of those around her. The involvement of Sargeant makes the matter even more complicated. He’s done nothing but make Ollie’s life at the White House miserable, yet she goes out of her way to help him more than once. It shows her integrity, and I’m really looking forward to seeing if a friendship might develop between these two in future installments.
Ollie is a great character, as ever, and Hyzy manages to develop her even more in Affairs of Steak. This is quite a feat, considering this is the fifth book in the series. Her love life begins to move in a new (though not unexpected) direction. The reader is allowed more into Ollie’s personal life, as the bulk of the novel takes place outside Ollie’s White House kitchen. This may disappoint some readers, as it doesn’t involve nearly as much food as previous books in the series, but I found this change refreshing. It’s important to keep series novels fresh and differentiate them from one another, and Julie Hyzy does that very well in her White House Chef series.
A gripping plot, a wonderful main character, and a glorious setting – what more could a reader want from a novel? This entire series is a delight, and if you haven’t given it a chance, I highly recommend you pick up the first book, State of the Onion. If you’re a fan of the series, don’t hesitate to pick up Affairs of Steak; you’ll be thrilled to find it holds its own against the rest of the books in the series.