Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Turn Up The Heat - Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant

Turn Up The Heat
A Gourmet Girl Mystery
Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
Berkley Prime Crime


Business is booming at Simmer, an upscale restaurant in Boston. That means long, hard hours for executive chef Josh Driscoll, and not a lot of time for his girlfriend, Chloe Carter. Chloe misses time with Josh, but she’s got her plate full with studying to be a social worker and the pregnancy of her best friend, Adrianna. Both of them were worried about Adrianna’s fiancé, Owen, since he seemed happy to float from one odd job to the next. Since the pregnancy, he’s really turned himself around. He’s got a job taking orders from restaurants around town and delivering fresh fish each day. It’s a real job, and it’s steady.

Owen is so proud of his new job that he wants everyone to see his truck, complete with refrigeration unit mounted on the back. When Chloe sees the truck, she’s less than impressed. That might have a little something to do with the fact that she discovers Leandra, a waitress from Simmer, dead in the refrigeration unit. Leandra and the owner of the restaurant were involved; and Chloe saw Leandra arguing with another server the night before her death. But that doesn’t explain why anyone would want to hurt the young woman. Clearly, it’s time for Chloe to put on her sleuthing hat before the bad publicity hurts the restaurant and her boyfriend’s career.

This is the latest in a series, but no prior knowledge is needed to enjoy it. It’s clear that the characters have some history with each other, but that’s all sketched in quite nicely in the opening scenes. Those scenes also introduce the restaurant and cuisine. Recipes are included at the back of the book. During the investigation, some interesting things pop up, letting the reader feel that the conclusion could go a couple of different ways. The tone is quite light and has a real element of ‘chick lit’ about it, making it a good choice for a wide spectrum of readers.

Rating: 6
February 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-22663-6 (paperback)


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