Hail to the Chef (A White House Chef Mystery)
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To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving. Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children.
All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber's mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover. Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer.
Hail to the Chef: A White House Chef Mystery (Unabridged)
Ollie suspects something fishy is going on. I like aeries. I like Ollie. Thanksgiving is only days away. Ollie concocts a delicious lunch for the three from rations and freeze dried food. Hours later they rejoin others in the White House and learn it was a faux bomb that set off the alarm. Returning to the kitchen, Ollie resumed working with her staff only to see lights flash and hear a scream. She rushes toward the sound and finds the head electrician electrocuted. Ollie does what she can until the medical staff arrives. No one seems to know why this happened. Ollie is working late when the First Lady calls her to prepare an informal dinner for three.
Co-owners of a medical research facility with the First Lady are trying to coerce her into selling it. A heated discussion over dinner ensues with Ollie privy to all of it. Ollie is as shocked as others when a Secret Service agent appears in the room with bad news. Sean is dead, possibly by suicide. Teaching everyone on staff about explosives and how to spot them is difficult to squeeze into the holiday schedule.
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After working late one night Ollie is walking to her apartment from the Metro when she is attacked by two men. Showing up to work the next day with bandaged hands, she cannot prepare food so gets Christmas decorations out of storage. When she puts the empty boxes back, she notices a box out of place. Inside she discovers an incendiary device and evacuates everyone in the area. Secret Service takes over once alerted. At this point I could not put this book down. I listened to over half the book without a break. I was enthralled with the action and how tension mounted, especially as the opening of the White House for all to see the decorations approached.
All of the plot lines turned out to intersect and twine around each other until an explosive conclusion. This is an excellent mystery that made sense, was substantial, realistic, and full of suspense. Eileen Stevens did a superb job narrating. Her style is quite clear and precise without bringing any attention to herself with deep breaths or swallowing.
Her portrayal of several distinct voices was excellent. The transition to the Southern drawl of the First Lady was astounding. I very much enjoyed Hail to the Chef, and I highly recommend it. The Thanksgiving dinner will be attended by the partners, all three of whom are eager for her to sell and putting the pressure on hard. However, soon, the kitchen staff hear a loud thud, and Ollie finds the chief electrician lying electrocuted next to a power box. The other electricians just assume this was due to a careless mistake, but Ollie is not so sure.
Soon after this, as one of the department heads, Ollie gets sent to a meeting in which she learns that the suspicious device has been an inactivated improvised explosive device and that all White House employees must go through special training to learn to identify suspicious items. But when Thanksgiving arrives, the guests assemble for dinner, but Sean does not. Many assume he committed suicide, but once again, Ollie has her suspicions. The book is not as intense as the previous book but still gripped my attention just as much. The plot moved quickly and with a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the book, especially all the details about life in the White House.
Seeing the work done in the kitchen and all that the staff in the background does to keep the White House running effectively was really fascinating. Hyzy does an excellent job of drawing her characters both realistically and as ones whom we soon become deeply invested in. I enjoyed the narration of Eileen Stevens, who does a lot in bringing this book to life. I enjoyed the accents of the foreigners who work in the kitchen in addition to the Southern accent of Mrs. This book is high on my list of recommended series for all mystery lovers.
I give this book five stars!
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is a fun series so far. Eileen Stevens is a fabulous narrator!
A White House Chef Mystery Series by Julie Hyzy
Can't wait to get to the next one! How does this one compare? Eileen Stevens is one of my favorites. While I enjoyed the White House setting and the fact the leading character is a capable woman, I was regularly distracted by the inaccuracies of kitchen life. I thought the narrator did a good job. Yes, they do it on TV and it is the way of the kitchen. Is the candidate a target?
Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day…. Home of the Braised.
But as the date for the event approaches, things go disastrously wrong when the secretary of defense is found dead in his home, seemingly killed during a break-in. Is there a connection? Fonduing Fathers. White House executive chef Olivia Paras has enough on her plate. Olivia is even more shocked to learn that he was brutally murdered because someone at his company suspected him of selling corporate secrets. Affairs of Steak. Buffalo West Wing.
After Olivia refuses to serve the chicken, the First Lady gives her the cold shoulder. But when it turns out to be poisoned poultry, Olivia realizes the kids are true targets. Sam, as her financial adviser, is telling her she shouldn't sell. With Thanksgiving and the start of the official holiday season just days away, the staff can't afford to be held up by security threats and bomb scares. Because of the latest incident, the staff has to attend mandatory Improvised Explosive Device IED recognition training.
Ollie gets off on the wrong foot with the special agent-in-change, and he singles her out at the first meeting. His persistence in making sure she fully understands the gravity of the situation pays off later when Ollie stumbles upon something where it shouldn't be. The staff receives a blow to their morale when the head electrician is accidentally electrocuted.
Ollie can't believe a man as experienced as Gene was could have made such a careless mistake. She questions a friend who comes up with a theory on what may have happened, but none of the other staff electricians want to listen to her theory. Then, on Thanksgiving day, the First Lady receives news that Sam has committed suicide. Even knowing him for such such a short time, Ollie is convinced that he wasn't suicidal.