You know that feeling when you’re a couple of chapters in and just *know* it’s going to be a good book? That’s how I felt when I was reading Julie Hyzy‘s “State of the Onion” yesterday.
It’s a cosy mystery – this is one of the genres where I’m always looking for new authors. And if I’m honest, not usually succeeding. The last cosy mystery author I got excited about (and completely glommed) was Deborah Donnelly and her Wedding Planner series, and that was about a year ago. By the way, I only found out this category of books had a name last year. I’m slow.
Right, back to “State of the Onion”, Olivia Paras (Ollie) is a White House chef, who’s in the running for promotion to executive chef when her boss retires. But it’s not all smooth going for Ollie. Not only does she have competition for the executive chef role (an old rival who now hosts a television show), she starts the book off by braining a suspected terrorist with a frying pan. And then gets tangled up in a whole assassination plot which strains her relatively new relationship with her boyfriend (who just happens to be a Secret Service agent).
My thoughts? Great set-up, tight plotting. Ollie’s a woman you’ll want to be friends with, and thankfully, avoids the TSTL trap. Excellent cast of secondary characters too. The mystery kept me guessing until the end (caveat: I’m not fantastic at figuring out whodunnits anyway). And all of this is combined really well with the cooking bits and White House insider info. I loved the trivia, not just the recipes and culinary tips, but also the White House protocol and traditions. I never once felt as though Ms Hyzy was info-dumping (unlike a scrapbooking mystery I read some time back which felt like a how-to guide).
Can you guess that I really really liked it? I’m disappointed that it’s Ms Hyzy’s first cosy. Darn. On the other hand, it looks as though she’s written a couple of romantic suspense books I may just look up.
Oh, and it’s been in my TBR for less than a month.