Cook the Books
Jessica Conant-Parks and Susan Conant
Berkley, Mar 2010, $23.95
In Boston Chloe Carter insures herself she is over the dumping by her former boyfriend Josh who left her and the restaurant scene to become a personal chef to an affluent couple in Hawaii. Chloe remains busy with her schooling as she works on obtaining a Masters in social work while spending time and a fortune on her godson Patrick. To pay her bills, she obtains a position of assistant to cookbook writer Kyle Boucher and his renowned chef of a father.
They plan to write a series of cookbooks with recipes given to them from lesser known chefs. Chloe plans to introduce them to her friend Digger, but a fire in his apartment left him dead. Several people insist the blaze was not an accident especially those who knew him well who insists Dihher kept his kitchen pristine clean; and Chloe agrees as she has a hard time accepting an experienced chef like Digger would cause an out of control fire. Working with Kyle proves difficult as he keeps sloppy records and cannot delineate the good from the bad. Josh returns home for his friend’s funeral and to find his killer, as well as see Chloe who he misses.
The fifth Gourmet Girl amateur sleuth is a truly scrumptious mystery that gives readers a glimpse at the dark side of the restaurant business with its bang –bang cutthroat competition as Chloe finds a horde of suspects with strong motives. Readers will admire her for putting friends first as she genuinely cares about people while also empathizing with her as she still loves Josh and his leaving does not Simmer Down her feelings and his returning to Turn Up the Heat complicates her need to move on.