Turn Up the Heat
by Jessica Conant-Park & Susan Conant
Berkley Hardcover, 2008. ISBN 978-0-425-21947-8.
Reviewed by Susan Andrus
Posted on 02/25/2008
Jessica Conant-Park, a chef's wife, and her mother, Susan Conant, an author of animal mysteries, reveal back-of-the-house secrets in this mystery that combines drugs, theft, murder, sex, and totally weird characters who inevitably end up confused with guilt and suspicion, and practicing armchair psychoanalysis as well. The Conants top off their creation with recipes for some of the foods mentioned in the mystery (to my taste, the best part of the book), such as Tamales and Raspberry Crème Brûlée.
Everything is revealed here of the dirty, disgusting work that must be done in order to get the food to the front of the house—the customers. In addition to the ugliness of a chef's life, the competitive, back-stabbing relationships among the restaurant owner, the servers, bartenders, line cooks, chefs, dishwashers, and purveyors makes for a fast-moving story that only gets bogged down by some blatant commercials and product descriptions that add nothing to the story.
If you would like to know how awful restaurants really are and want to get some recipes as a bonus, read this book. It just might make you want to stay at home and cook some of its recipes from scratch for a change.
Jessica Conant-Park graduated from Macalester College and has a master of social work degree from Boston College. She is married to Chef William Park. Susan Conant, Jessica's mother, is the author of the Dog Lover's Mysteries and the Cat Lover's Mysteries and a six-time winner of the Dog Writers Association of America's Maxwell Award.
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