Genre: cozy mystery with recipes
Cover: I don’t really like this new cover, I am glad my book has the smaller one.
With a new First Family moving into the White House, executive chef Olivia Paras can't afford to make any mistakes. But when a mysterious box of take-out chicken shows up for the First Kids, she soon finds herself in a "no-wing" situation.
No way is Ollie handing over a suspicious box of barbecue chicken wings to Abigail and Josh Hyden, children of the country’s new commander in chief and her new boss. With no clue who provided the culinary gifts for the kids, Ollie’s not about to put them at risk.
A year has gone by since the last book, Ollie is still executive chef in the White House, with her assistants Buckie and Cyan, and Marcel as pastry chefs. But a new president has been elected, and he and his family will move into the White House today. So moving out the former president and his wife, whom Ollie loved to serve all those years, and now they will have to get used to a new family in residence, with their own habits. It has been a long time since there were young kids in the White House but Ollie and her staff are ready for the challenge.
After seeing the inauguration on tv, they troop back to the kitchen, where Ollie finds a box of chicken wings from one of the major restaurant chains. It is addressed to the new First Kids, but Ollie can’t serve food from unknown origin. That is against the safety protocol, as everything that comes into the White House has to be according to the highest standards. As now one can tell her how that box got in her kitchen, she refuses to serve the wings to the kids. No matter how much anyone pressures her to.
Even her own staff is against her, and later Cyan shares the box with the laundry woman and some of the butlers, against Ollie’s wishes. And with devastating results, as the staff gets violently ill and have to be rushed to the hospital. The secret service doesn’t want anyone to know the wings were poisoned, and that the children are the targets, not even the First Lady. Whom is not pleased with Ollie for denying her children a treat. And so Ollie starts of on the wrong foot with her new boss. Things only get worse when she brings in her own chef to serve the family meals, having Ollie and her staff to work on the state dinners and business dinners and lunches only. The new chef clashes badly with Ollie, as he presumes he is in charge, and has taken over Ollie’s job.
But Ollie is the first female executive chef in the White House, and firing her now would be bad politics. Ollie is sure her job will be gone in a few months though, but her job is her life, and she will fight for it.
Her ex-boyfriend Tom is in charge of the Secret Service at the White House, and he is not happy that she is involved in this again, even though she could not help it and her actions saved the children! Especially as the hospital becomes part of a terrorist attack, they have the White House staff as hostages and demand freedom for one of their own captured terrorist leaders. The President does not want to negotiate with terrorists but no one knows how he would have acted if his own children were the hostages, instead of some people he doesn’t even know yet.
The White House kitchen has two agents added to it, who will have to taste test everything that leaves the kitchen. Ollie is fine with that, as her food is delicious and safe. She has little luck scoring points with Abigail, but Josh wants to be a chef himself, and she likes him. So when their private chef has no intention whatsoever of tutoring Josh, she takes that task upon her self. Ollie is determined to make the new Presidents first State dinner the best she has ever done, and the new chef will not get in her way!
But the terrorist are not easy thwarted, and they will get their hands on the kids, or at least one of them … just when Ollie has gone to school to tell about being a chef …
I enjoyed this book a lot. I have grown to like Ollie and her staff, and of course still very much dislike that sensitivity director who hates Ollie. I am also not a fan of Tom, the ex-boyfriend. So I am happy that Gavin has made a come back in this story, and there might be some love in the air for Ollie again. There was a lot of trouble for Ollie ahead, but she soldiered on and kept doing her job as good as she could.
There was no sleuthing in this book, to my big surprise, but Ollie got tangled up in this mess after all, when they grabbed Josh. And Ollie. I was captivated by the story, and read it in one sitting.
I did found one mistake in the very last chapter though, and that kind of details bother me unduly. The terrorist flushed Ollie’s phone through the toilet in the safe house, and somehow, she had it again that same night when Gavin messaged her.
Still, I love this series very much and look forward to reading the next book, Affairs of Steak.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian