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Affairs of Steak

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White House chef Olivia Paras and her arch nemesis, White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant, must work together to solve the double murder of one of the First Lady's assistants and the Chief of Staff-before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda.


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White House chef Olivia Paras and her arch nemesis, White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant, must work together to solve the double murder of one of the First Lady's assistants and the Chief of Staff-before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda.

30 review for Affairs of Steak

  1. 5 out of 5

    ✨ Gramy ✨

    .. This was a very interesting and informative tale of the life of the White House kitchen staff. As always the main focus is on Olivia Paras, who demonstrates the ability to keep her wit and uses whatever is available to protect herself and others from danger. This time Ollie is focused o work hand in hand with the sensitivity director and arch nemesis. After the discovery of two dead bodies, their lives soon became in danger. It captivates and compels readers to jump in and enjoy the strenuous .. This was a very interesting and informative tale of the life of the White House kitchen staff. As always the main focus is on Olivia Paras, who demonstrates the ability to keep her wit and uses whatever is available to protect herself and others from danger. This time Ollie is focused o work hand in hand with the sensitivity director and arch nemesis. After the discovery of two dead bodies, their lives soon became in danger. It captivates and compels readers to jump in and enjoy the strenuous experiences first hand. Introducing White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras, who is rising-and sleuthing-to the top. White House chef Olivia Paras and her arch nemesis, White House Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant, must work together to solve the double murder of one of the First Lady's assistants and the Chief of Staff-before they become the next victims of a merciless assassin with a secret agenda. This was a very interesting and informative tale of the life of the White House kitchen staff. As always the main focus is on Olivia Paras, who demonstrates the ability to keep her wit and uses whatever is available to protect herself and others from danger. This time Ollie is focused o work hand in hand with the sensitivity director and arch nemesis. After the discovery of two dead bodies, their lives soon became in danger. It captivates and compels readers to jump in and enjoy the strenuous experiences first hand. Lori Caswell: The entire story is superb. This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I look forward to each and every trip to The White House with Ollie. Julie never fails to cook up a marvelous mystery and Ollie takes us right into the middle of the fray. Be sure to add the to your new year reading lists! 👍 Julie Hyzy did an incredible job in drawing the reader into the story and compelling them to stay focused as long as possible as they rode on her roller-coaster adventure of a lifetime. This was a cozy mystery that didn't seem to be formulaic at all. This heroine is observant, inquisitive, and determined when puzzled by something. I would recommend this choice to anyone interested in a clean and wholesome cozy mystery and/or the life of service in the White House. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Wonderful book! Lot of fun, a cheesy romance and a good twist at the end!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Love this series! This one was interesting with Ollie teaming up with her usual adversary Peter Sargent. The mystery kept me guessing and as always there was an exciting finish.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Book number five in the White House Chef mystery series featuring chef Olivia (“Ollie”) Paras. Ollie and colleague/nemesis Peter Sargeant are checking out venues for an event to honor the Secretary of State. As they go to check out one location, the find the First Lady’s assistant and the chief of staff in the banquet hall’s kitchen – both murdered. Cozy mysteries are my go-to brain candy. I enjoy this series though some of the situations Ollie finds herself in seem rather implausible. In additi Book number five in the White House Chef mystery series featuring chef Olivia (“Ollie”) Paras. Ollie and colleague/nemesis Peter Sargeant are checking out venues for an event to honor the Secretary of State. As they go to check out one location, the find the First Lady’s assistant and the chief of staff in the banquet hall’s kitchen – both murdered. Cozy mysteries are my go-to brain candy. I enjoy this series though some of the situations Ollie finds herself in seem rather implausible. In addition to the central murders there’s also the apparent kidnapping (?) of the Secretary of State’s father-in-law, and Sargeant’s rather odd nephew who seems to be stalking Ollie in hopes of landing a job at the White House. There are plenty of suspects, some romantic/sexual tension, workplace drama, and a great cast of supporting characters. As a bonus, the author includes some recipes at the end of the book. In this episode the focus is on puff pastry and all the delectable dessert, appetizer, or main dish treats one can make using it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lollyletsgo

    It was a fun read. I liked Ollie being forced to work with Peter Sargent-- the fussbudget! And yes, Gav is growing on me... ;]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Where I got the book: freebie at networking event. This is the first book I've read of Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series, so once again I began in the middle of a series with no knowledge of any of the characters. This wasn't a problem, though, except as stated a bit later. White House head chef Olivia Paras and a co-worker make a grisly discovery in a restaurant kitchen, and once again (for, like all mystery series heroines, she has a knack for getting involved where she shouldn't), Ollie is i Where I got the book: freebie at networking event. This is the first book I've read of Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series, so once again I began in the middle of a series with no knowledge of any of the characters. This wasn't a problem, though, except as stated a bit later. White House head chef Olivia Paras and a co-worker make a grisly discovery in a restaurant kitchen, and once again (for, like all mystery series heroines, she has a knack for getting involved where she shouldn't), Ollie is in trouble. Add into the mix an unexpected task, unpleasantness and rivalry among co-workers, and a couple of fragile relationships (ex- and current), bake for 277 pages in the high heat of the Presidential residence, and the result is a crisp, enjoyable mystery read. The book started out pacy, slowed down a little bit in the middle, but then kept up the action pretty well right to the end. Hyzy is not one of those writers who strains credulity by piling up increasingly impossible situations, and she keeps all the action within plausible bounds, so there was less life-and-death drama than I am accustomed to as a regular reader of historicals. I learned quite a few things about White House protocols, which was pretty interesting, although I'm distressed to think that relationships between staff members could possibly be quite as conflict-ridden as Ollie's are. She may die of work-related stress before one of the bad guys gets her. As I found when I read Grace Interrupted, I had a bit of trouble getting to know Ollie. This, as with Grace, could simply be because the first books of the series are more loaded with character development, leaving room for more action in the others. Also, I wish I'd seen more food in the novel. After all, Ollie's a top chef. At least I'd have liked to have glimpsed one truly spectacular dish. There are a handful of intriguing pastry-related recipes at the end of the novel, though. Final verdict is that I'd wholeheartedly recommend this series to mystery fans. Hyzy's a good writer, and delivers her story with clarity and directness.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa White

    This edition of the Whitehouse Mystery had a lot of characters to follow and it was interesting to see the different aspects that pulled out from it. I am happy that Virgil is being put in his place, I'm shocked no one has punched him in the nose yet. I loved seeing Ollie and Peter hash things out, it was wonderful. Gav...💕💞💕

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    So, I debated between 3 and 4 stars. Still can't decide. I really do enjoy this series. I wish, though, that the titles were different. Somehow these titles imply pretty mindless, fluff books you can read with only half your brain. And that really isn't the case with these. The silly titles almost do a dis-service to the books. This series has been fun. The characters are fairly real, the dialogue interesting and the plot complex enough that you really want to keep reading to find out "who-done-i So, I debated between 3 and 4 stars. Still can't decide. I really do enjoy this series. I wish, though, that the titles were different. Somehow these titles imply pretty mindless, fluff books you can read with only half your brain. And that really isn't the case with these. The silly titles almost do a dis-service to the books. This series has been fun. The characters are fairly real, the dialogue interesting and the plot complex enough that you really want to keep reading to find out "who-done-it". I enjoy the fact that the books are clean without being sappy and require a bit of mental investment to follow all the threads. And if you pay attention, you can surely see that most everything that happens has a purpose. I've liked these books enough to read all 5 in the series. Interestingly, I chatted some months ago with a lady from another state who was bemoaning the lack of these - and similar - books at her local library. How fortunate I am to live in an area that places distinct value on public libraries and acquiring all kinds of books for people to read. Anyway, I'll be for sure looking for more of Ms. Hyzy's books to read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    After discovering a body at a venue being considered for a White House event, the White House's Executive Chef finds herself once again in the firing line and needs to team up with the persistent thorn in her side, Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant. Nothing particularly new or original but this series is consistently entertaining and at book #5 is still pretty good fun. Onto #6.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie (Jewlsbookblog)

    Peter and Ollie join forces to solve a crime, making for quite an unusual duo when one considers their friction-filled working dynamics! I was also happy with the relationship developments between Ollie and Gav. That one has been a while in coming. Overall, good mystery, great recipes, and some very interesting dynamic changes in the White House.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Randall

    Affairs of Steak is the fifth book in the White House Chef Mystery Series by Julie Hyzy. She is another of my very favorite authors and I love reading her books. This book finds Ollie being teamed with Peter Sargeant, you remember the guy who hates her, in helping the First Lady plan a birthday party for theSecretary of State of the President. They are looking at locations for the event, off-site, not at the White House and they have visited four places. As they are walking to the last location t Affairs of Steak is the fifth book in the White House Chef Mystery Series by Julie Hyzy. She is another of my very favorite authors and I love reading her books. This book finds Ollie being teamed with Peter Sargeant, you remember the guy who hates her, in helping the First Lady plan a birthday party for theSecretary of State of the President. They are looking at locations for the event, off-site, not at the White House and they have visited four places. As they are walking to the last location they run into Peter's nephew, although Peter is none to happy about it, and once they make the final location, they find that the assistant that was suppose to met them is nowhere to be found. As they are looking through the venue and the kitchen, Peter notices something that looks like blood, and Ollie opens a hugh tilt-skillet only to find the missing assistant, dead. They call the police and as they are showing the police the body, they hear talking which turns out to be a cell phone, upon opening the second tilt-skillet they find the President's Chief of Staff, also dead. As we follow along the story, we learn more about Ollie and her relationship with Gav is explored and the reality of weather they are going to be able to have a relationship or not, or are they only going to be good friends because of their respective jobs. Also, the tension between Ollie and the first-family's personal chef, Virgil that started in the last book when a new first-family was installed in the White House, continues. Even so far that Virgil leaks information to a newspaper that puts Ollie and Peter's lives in danger! So many things occur in this book, and this series, we learn about the workings of the White House and the Secret Service, I am sure not the true workings, but so many things that are wonderfully written and explained, like the changing pins that each Secret Service Agent wears on his lapel, that can be changed each day, or if on Presidential detail as often as each hour, to keep outsiders out, even comes into play in this story. I love the story. I love Ollie and Gav. originally, in the first book Ollie was dating a Secret Service Agent, Tom, but he just could not understand or back her knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and her ability to figure out what was going on long before the secret service or other police agencies did. I could never understand why Tom was so put off by this, or why he couldn't understand her, but I am glad that she was introduced to Special Agent in Charge Leonard Gavin, or Gav as she comes to call him. He is able to understand her, and to even appreciate her abilities, so much so that he teaches her and encourages her, which I find attractive. I am looking so forward to more books in this series and to the relationship with Gavin. I love the series. Another awesome author. I actually have two books in another series by this author in my to-read pile.

  12. 4 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    The first lady is throwing a birthday party for the Secretary of State to show the world that while her husband, the President, and the Secretary are from different political parties they get along very well. The problem starts when Ollie, the White House Chef, and the thorn in her side, Peter Sargeant, the White House Sensitivity Director, are assigned to work together to find a venue outside of the White House to hold the party. After a rough day of visiting different places, neither one of th The first lady is throwing a birthday party for the Secretary of State to show the world that while her husband, the President, and the Secretary are from different political parties they get along very well. The problem starts when Ollie, the White House Chef, and the thorn in her side, Peter Sargeant, the White House Sensitivity Director, are assigned to work together to find a venue outside of the White House to hold the party. After a rough day of visiting different places, neither one of them agreeing on anything, they finally arrive a the last choice, Lexington Place. They are escorted to the banquet area and are waiting to meet with one of the first lady’s assistants. As Ollie gets tired of waiting she decides to check out the kitchen where she finds the assistant, but she is very dead and when police arrive another body is found, that of the chief of staff. With the assistant’s death Ollie and Sargeant are assigned the job of organizing the party, but they are also going to have to work together to find a murderer. Their own lives are on the line. Did they see something they shouldn’t have? Before they become the next victims they need to put their differences aside and find the killer. Dollycas’s Thoughts A good portion of this book takes place outside of The White House so we see a little more of Ollie’s personal life. She has the perfect neighbor. Everyone needs a Mrs. Wentworth next door. Ollie’s love life is also evolving in a way both Mrs. Wentworth and I approve of. The interplay between Sargeant and Ollie was unexpected, cleverly written, moving at times, as well as funny. Their relationship was taken to a new level that I really enjoyed. The total ineptness of the “interim” head usher just added to this multi-layered mystery. Ollie spent almost as much time in his office as the kitchen and she has a much higher patience level than this reader. I would have been so fired. The entire story is superb. This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I look forward to each and every trip to The White House with Ollie. Julie never fails to cook up a marvelous mystery and Ollie takes us right into the middle of the fray. Be sure to add the to your new year reading lists!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Welk

    AFFAIRS OF STEAK is the fifth "White House Chef Mystery" by Anthony and Barry award winner Julie Hyzy. In this episode, executive chef Olivia "Ollie" Paras has to put personal feelings aside when she's paired up with Peter Everett Sargeant, the unlikeable White House sensitivity director, to help choose a location for Secretary of State Gerald Quinones' White House sponsored birthday party. Ollie and Peter are told to meet the First Lady's personal assistant, Patty Woodruff, at Lexington Place, AFFAIRS OF STEAK is the fifth "White House Chef Mystery" by Anthony and Barry award winner Julie Hyzy. In this episode, executive chef Olivia "Ollie" Paras has to put personal feelings aside when she's paired up with Peter Everett Sargeant, the unlikeable White House sensitivity director, to help choose a location for Secretary of State Gerald Quinones' White House sponsored birthday party. Ollie and Peter are told to meet the First Lady's personal assistant, Patty Woodruff, at Lexington Place, a glittering banquet hall not far from the White House that might prove to be the most suitable place for the party. Ollie and Peter arrive on time for the meeting, but when Patty is nowhere to be found, the two set off to survey the hall by themselves. While doing so, they stumble across not one, but two bodies. The first victim is Patty Woodruff. The second is the President's chief of staff While the media plays on an imagined love affair involving the two, the Secret Service investigates a much more complicated scenario linking their deaths to threats against Secretary of State Quinones and his family. Who kidnapped the Secretary's father-in-law? Is there a conspiracy to kill Quinones? If so, does Sargeant's much despised nephew Milton know who's behind the plot? Why is someone trying to get Sargeant fired? And who is the man who followed Ollie into the subway? A temperamental chef, a conceited social aide, and an unresolved romance add to Ollie's problems as she strives to keep her head above water in this highly entertaining culinary whodunnit. Hyzy's knowledge of White House protocol and Secret Service SOPs keeps the plot on track and humming down the line to a surprising but satisfying conclusion. The puff pastry recipes at the end of the book only add to the fun. This one is highly recommended for fans of political intrigue, amateur sleuths, and romantic suspense, not to mention lovers of fine food and wine. (And yes, I fully intend to try the recipe for cranberry pecan brie en croute and chocolate sundae vol-au-vents. My mouth was watering just reading those recipes!)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeannie and Louis Rigod

    How can the fifth book in a murder series, (A White House Chef Mystery) be equal to the prior four which were exceptional? It's easy if Julie Hyzy is writing it. "Affairs of Steak" was non-stop, pulse thrumming action, from page one, when we learn Ollie is teamed up with Peter Sargeant, to multiple murders, attempted abductions, attempted burglaries, and yes, attempted murders... I still haven't caught my breath, ending on page 274 that ends with a laugh and a caution. Added to this action, thank How can the fifth book in a murder series, (A White House Chef Mystery) be equal to the prior four which were exceptional? It's easy if Julie Hyzy is writing it. "Affairs of Steak" was non-stop, pulse thrumming action, from page one, when we learn Ollie is teamed up with Peter Sargeant, to multiple murders, attempted abductions, attempted burglaries, and yes, attempted murders... I still haven't caught my breath, ending on page 274 that ends with a laugh and a caution. Added to this action, thankfully as I needed a rest, was the underlining of Ollie's love life. I can tell you that Ollie handles herself much more ladylike than I would have. This 'situation' even has her former boyfriend, Tom still involved in her life. Tom, of course, is just in a professional manner or is he? And, what is going on with Gav? Mrs. Wentworth and Stan want to know and so did I! The complexities of life behind the White House doors and in the lives of the staff are never more dramatic than in this excellently written thriller. Yes, this novel was a mystery thriller and I would love to give actual details but, do not want to stop you from enjoying every single page. I was shocked and saddened by the outcome. Yet, I was so proud of Ollie and Peter! Added as a Bonus for us readers and persons fond of eating, was an commanding offering of delicacies made with puff pastry. An entire meal worth! They have me placing puff pastry on my shopping list. I mean what more can a reader want... The next book is what! Do treat yourself and get a copy quickly. Enjoy!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    What I enjoyed most about book 5 in this series was the character development. This book pits Ollie against Sargeant, her biggest nemesis. The two are paired together to plan a birthday party for the secretary of state. This is not normally their jobs but there are changes going on at the White House and they are asked to fill in. They do so grudgingly but professionally. At least until they discover the bodies of two White House personnel in one of the restaurant spaces they are surveying for t What I enjoyed most about book 5 in this series was the character development. This book pits Ollie against Sargeant, her biggest nemesis. The two are paired together to plan a birthday party for the secretary of state. This is not normally their jobs but there are changes going on at the White House and they are asked to fill in. They do so grudgingly but professionally. At least until they discover the bodies of two White House personnel in one of the restaurant spaces they are surveying for the party. If that wasn't bad enough, a wastrel nephew of Sargeant's is pestering him for a WH job and may have been a witness to the murder or at least the people who are following Ollie. Sargeant is convinced that someone has it out for him at the White House. This is true but narrowing the suspect list is a job in itself and why should Ollie involve herself. It isn't as though Sargeant has made Ollie's life very easy. The deeper they get, the more committed the enemy gets even if they don't know who that is. It was a good story and nice to see everyone not looking at Ollie as though she was the problem. There was growth in all of her relationships which made me want to read the next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I love this series. This time, Ollie is forced to work with Sargeant (who she does not get along with at all) for a large birthday party for the Secretary of State. When checking out locations, they fins two bodies hidden in the kitchen of the potential venue site. And those two are White House employees. Once again, Ollie is involved in mysterious doings that threaten her life. The story is paced very well and the characters keep me interested. I like that Ollie does not play victim - she fights I love this series. This time, Ollie is forced to work with Sargeant (who she does not get along with at all) for a large birthday party for the Secretary of State. When checking out locations, they fins two bodies hidden in the kitchen of the potential venue site. And those two are White House employees. Once again, Ollie is involved in mysterious doings that threaten her life. The story is paced very well and the characters keep me interested. I like that Ollie does not play victim - she fights. AND she passes info along to the authorities as she should. An admirable trait in an amateur sleuth IMHO!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Overall an enjoyable read. I'm excited to see what happens next with Gav and Ollie and I loved Sergeant in this one, let's hope he stays that way. The setting was good, there were some tasty recipes in the back, too. However, I didn't think this book built suspense like the other books,and I didn't feel the mystery was the best I've read. There were next to no clues, in my opinion, leading me to believe that the person behind all of the murders was really behind all of the murders. Overall, howe Overall an enjoyable read. I'm excited to see what happens next with Gav and Ollie and I loved Sergeant in this one, let's hope he stays that way. The setting was good, there were some tasty recipes in the back, too. However, I didn't think this book built suspense like the other books,and I didn't feel the mystery was the best I've read. There were next to no clues, in my opinion, leading me to believe that the person behind all of the murders was really behind all of the murders. Overall, however, a good book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joyce Himmel

    White House Execute Chef, Olivia Paras, has to work together with the one person she can not get along with, Peter Sargent, the White House Sensitivity Director. Together they are tasked to plan a birthday party for the Secretary of State when things take a turn. They discover something in the tilt skillets that once again gets our chef involved in matters that may have been best left to the Secret Service. Can these two work together or will tension of this situation tear them further apart. An White House Execute Chef, Olivia Paras, has to work together with the one person she can not get along with, Peter Sargent, the White House Sensitivity Director. Together they are tasked to plan a birthday party for the Secretary of State when things take a turn. They discover something in the tilt skillets that once again gets our chef involved in matters that may have been best left to the Secret Service. Can these two work together or will tension of this situation tear them further apart. Another fun read. Job well done!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Turoczy Hart

    As always, I enjoy this series of books. The characters are becoming so familiar and the anecdotes about their lives make them believable and real. The recipes at the end of each book are interesting and fun.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kater Cheek

    This is a pretty good cozy mystery, though not quite as good as Buffalo West Wing. It's got the familiar trope of the protagonist finding a couple of bodies in an unlikely place during an early scene. The rest of the book has her revealing clues one by one, as tertiary characters also die under mysterious circumstances, but not before revealing tantalizing bits of information which will lead the protagonist to be the one that discovers things. The good thing about this novel is that I liked the p This is a pretty good cozy mystery, though not quite as good as Buffalo West Wing. It's got the familiar trope of the protagonist finding a couple of bodies in an unlikely place during an early scene. The rest of the book has her revealing clues one by one, as tertiary characters also die under mysterious circumstances, but not before revealing tantalizing bits of information which will lead the protagonist to be the one that discovers things. The good thing about this novel is that I liked the protagonist, though it's been a few weeks since I finished it so I have already forgotten her name. Setting it in the White House was a novelty which I also appreciate. I liked that she had a bit of a romance on the side, and I like that her personality was all about professionalism and discretion. Some of her daily conflicts involve soothing the emotions of people she can't stand, just so that they can all work together on a common goal. The bad thing about this novel is its formulaic nature. That's only moderately a bad thing; fans of the genre will find it comforting and, as they say, "it's a cliche because it works." I really couldn't care less about the murder itself. The characters were unknown to me, their motivations uncompelling, the reason for the murders flimsy as best. The protagonist, having been the sleuth in four previous novels, now has a reputation for getting involved in messy/dastardly events. Having other characters comment on that just made me lose the fourth wall. In cozy mysteries, the killer kills someone for a dumb reason like "I wanted the inheritance faster so I could marry Miss. Blakeley" and then they kill witnesses with abandon, and the bystanders of this horrific and ultimately unsuccessful serial-killer like behavior kind of shrug and tut their heads with disappointment when they find out that charming Mister Haverford was the murderer all along. Since this happens in every cozy mystery, I don't know the reason why I found this unbelievable. I've read cozy mysteries and liked them. Maybe it's because I read this after Buffalo West Wing and had different expectations. In the previous novel, the plot involved a plot against the president's family for political reasons, which I found plausible. Political thriller! Yes! But the murders in this seemed more Agatha Christie kind of pointless, and for some reason I just couldn't get into it. I just didn't care about the victims because they just weren't real people to me, and the murders didn't make much sense. I guess most murders don't make much sense, so fans of true crime might adore this. So, this book is a solidly written cozy mystery. It's pretty well done and it wasn't bad reading, but it doesn't enhance the genre as much as the previous one did. Or maybe I just liked the novelty of being in the White House in the last one and it's worn off. Or maybe I am suddenly over cozy mystery and it's been a long time coming and it wasn't Hyzy's fault that this was the one that broke the camel's back. I liked the characters and wanted to spend more time with them, but this plot just didn't engage me as much as I'd hoped. Honestly, I'd probably prefer a book that was just about a White House Chef and her daily life without murders and sleuthing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ranjini

    The book opens with Olivia Paras, aka Ollie, the Executive Chef of the White House rushing to finalise a venue for the First Lady. Mrs Hyden plans to hold a birthday party for Secretary of State, Gerald Quinones. Quinones was known to be a genius and one of a kind. He was a rare combination of brilliant strategist and all-around great guy, though the President and him belonged to two different political parties. There was only one hitch: she had to work with her greatest adversary of all times - t The book opens with Olivia Paras, aka Ollie, the Executive Chef of the White House rushing to finalise a venue for the First Lady. Mrs Hyden plans to hold a birthday party for Secretary of State, Gerald Quinones. Quinones was known to be a genius and one of a kind. He was a rare combination of brilliant strategist and all-around great guy, though the President and him belonged to two different political parties. There was only one hitch: she had to work with her greatest adversary of all times - the White House Sensitivity Director, Peter Everett Sargeant. Ever since he joined, he has only created trouble for Ollie and the two never got along. As Ollie and Peter scour venues, they come across Milton (Peter’s nephew), who is looking for an entry into the White House and bump into strangers. Once they reach their final destination, Lexington Place, and search for their point-of-contact, Patty Woodruff (the First Lady’s newest assistant), the duo are traumatised to discover her dead body, alongwith that of Mark Cawley, the Chief of Staff. News reports insinuate that Patty and Mark were having an affair, but no one believes the gossip. With their lives in peril, Ollie and Peter must rely on each other to uncover who murdered their associates and why before they endure the same fate. In the interim, the Chief Usher, Paul Vasquez retires and hands over the reins to Doug Lambert; who is not only inadept in dealing with matters of the country; but has lesser tolerance and favourites. Ollie feels she is getting stalked. She happens to rescue Mr Bettencourt, from a failed kidnapping, and it is revealed that he is Mrs Quinones father. The Quinones are indebted to Ollie - however, she cannot shake off the eerie feeling of being watched, at all times. She is put under the direct supervision of the Secret Service, making her life claustrophobic. Can Agent Gav help? When Milton makes efforts to constantly get in touch with her, regarding information of the murders; she’s baffled. Is he making these claims just to get into the White House? Ollie’s fastidious nature leads you to a tale of inventiveness and perception. Hyzy has woven the twist, keeping in mind what the readers want. Brilliantly crafted characters in the series, leave you craving for more. This is the fifth book in the White House Chef Mystery series - and I’m sad that I’m approaching the end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joni

    I like Chef Olivia Paras, 'star' of the White House Chef series by Julie Hyzy. Would like to think we would be friends. Her inquisitiveness, pluckiness, and penchant for being in the 'wrong place at the wrong time' is something with which I can relate...not to the extreme that Olivia takes it, but... Ollie, as she is called by her colleagues and friends, must once again deal with Peter Sargeant, Sensitivity Director for the White House, but this time they have been placed one-on-one in a situatio I like Chef Olivia Paras, 'star' of the White House Chef series by Julie Hyzy. Would like to think we would be friends. Her inquisitiveness, pluckiness, and penchant for being in the 'wrong place at the wrong time' is something with which I can relate...not to the extreme that Olivia takes it, but... Ollie, as she is called by her colleagues and friends, must once again deal with Peter Sargeant, Sensitivity Director for the White House, but this time they have been placed one-on-one in a situation. The White House Usher, Paul, is no longer serving the President and his replacement Doug does not know that Ollie and Peter tolerate each other at best. When the duo happen upon a double murder they are thrown together in ways they never expected. The usual characters are present and accounted for in AFFAIRS OF STEAK. Ollie, and the reader, learn a little more about each character in each volume and this time it is Peter Sargeant. The prickly director has secrets in his past that come to haunt him. As if double murders were not enough, Ollie also continues to deal with Virgil, the First Lady's chef. Pompous and out for himself and NOT what Ollie needs... Looking forward to the next entry in the series. AFFAIRS OF STEAK was very well-done!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bill Hobbs

    For those who don’t generally read political novels but love cozy myseries regardless of the setting, “Affairs of Steak” by Julia Hyzy is a goo choice. This is the fifth episode in Hyzy’s White House Chef mysteries (of nine so far) and, as with the others, the author also provides some recipes (and a little “food for thought”—it’s a cozy, so don’t expect William Buckley or Noam Chomsky! Here we find Olivia Paras, who is the White House executive chef, getting involved in another case involving For those who don’t generally read political novels but love cozy myseries regardless of the setting, “Affairs of Steak” by Julia Hyzy is a goo choice. This is the fifth episode in Hyzy’s White House Chef mysteries (of nine so far) and, as with the others, the author also provides some recipes (and a little “food for thought”—it’s a cozy, so don’t expect William Buckley or Noam Chomsky! Here we find Olivia Paras, who is the White House executive chef, getting involved in another case involving the White House occupants. Olivia loves first class cuisine and tries her best for the First Family, who always appreciates her fine dining menus (It was published in 2012!). But murder will out and she and her arch nemesis (there’s always “plotting afoot” at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.) Olivia and Peter Everett Sargeant (director of Sensitivity for the president and her arch nemesis) this time have to work together, for there’s a double murder: one of the First Lady’s assistants as well as the Chief of Staff are the victims. Bodies and a “secret agenda” abound but between the two, they’re able to cook up and serve (with a tasty dessert) the case and Olivia can rest (after the dishes are washed and put away) and get on with No. 6 in the series. “Book appetit!”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Glen U

    #5 in Hyzy's White House Chef series, "Affairs of Steak" is a non partisan cozy mystery that is well written, well paced and very enjoyable for the mystery aficionado. Perhaps not a too credible look at the White House kitchen (after all, who would keep a chef that keeps finding dead bodies in the White House), Hyzy gives us a mystery in a unique and interesting setting. Perhaps more than in her previous four books, the author continues a romantic element that I thought detracted from her storyt #5 in Hyzy's White House Chef series, "Affairs of Steak" is a non partisan cozy mystery that is well written, well paced and very enjoyable for the mystery aficionado. Perhaps not a too credible look at the White House kitchen (after all, who would keep a chef that keeps finding dead bodies in the White House), Hyzy gives us a mystery in a unique and interesting setting. Perhaps more than in her previous four books, the author continues a romantic element that I thought detracted from her storytelling. Still a very credible mystery and I look forward to the next episode in the series. A good read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cooper

    Another Ollie Paras mystery. This time we start with a double murder, that yes, Ollie finds herself in the middle of once again. Working with her nemesis, Peter Sargent, Ollie must take on additional responsibilities above and beyond her main job as the Whitehouse head chef. As she investigates the murders and uncovers those responsible, she finds the time for a little romance with her very special agent. Love the pacing, the story, the characters, and setting. I imagine myself in the kitchen of Another Ollie Paras mystery. This time we start with a double murder, that yes, Ollie finds herself in the middle of once again. Working with her nemesis, Peter Sargent, Ollie must take on additional responsibilities above and beyond her main job as the Whitehouse head chef. As she investigates the murders and uncovers those responsible, she finds the time for a little romance with her very special agent. Love the pacing, the story, the characters, and setting. I imagine myself in the kitchen of the Whitehouse along with Ollie and her crew, creating incredible menus and wishing I could taste everything the pastry chef creates.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Avid Series Reader

    Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy is the 5th book in the White House Chef cozy mystery series set in contemporary Washington D.C. Olivia Paras ("Ollie") has an unpleasant assignment: she must partner with her nemesis Peter Sargent to plan a posh birthday party for the secretary of state. If working with Peter wasn't bad enough, discovering murder victims together makes their assignment much worse. At least Ollie has her "Mr. Right" to depend on.....or does she? As usual, Ollie uses her wits to save Affairs of Steak by Julie Hyzy is the 5th book in the White House Chef cozy mystery series set in contemporary Washington D.C. Olivia Paras ("Ollie") has an unpleasant assignment: she must partner with her nemesis Peter Sargent to plan a posh birthday party for the secretary of state. If working with Peter wasn't bad enough, discovering murder victims together makes their assignment much worse. At least Ollie has her "Mr. Right" to depend on.....or does she? As usual, Ollie uses her wits to save herself from attacks...and this time, she also earns a bit of respect from Peter.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aurian Booklover

    The new First Lady, Mrs. Hyden, wants to throw a lavish birthday party for Secretary of State Gerald Quinones. It can’t be held in the White House, and the new assistant, Patty Woodruff, wants Olivia Paras, the Executive Chef, and Peter Everett Sargeant, the Sensitivity Director, to check out the possible venues personally. As Olivia and Peter really dislike each other, that it is not fun for them to work together. But what the First Lady wants, the First Lady gets. While walking to the fourth a The new First Lady, Mrs. Hyden, wants to throw a lavish birthday party for Secretary of State Gerald Quinones. It can’t be held in the White House, and the new assistant, Patty Woodruff, wants Olivia Paras, the Executive Chef, and Peter Everett Sargeant, the Sensitivity Director, to check out the possible venues personally. As Olivia and Peter really dislike each other, that it is not fun for them to work together. But what the First Lady wants, the First Lady gets. While walking to the fourth and last possible venue, Lexington Place, which is also the most likely venue, they run into Sargeant’s cousin Milton. Sargeant clearly doesn’t like the man, but Ollie tries to be nice to him. When they arrive at the Lexington a bit later, they are in for a nasty surprise, when Patty, the assistant who was supposed to be waiting for them inside, is nowhere to be found. Until Ollie opens a closed tilt-skillet in the kitchen … And it is not the only body in there either; the police finds another body, that of the Chief of Staff. It is not the first body Ollie has found, but it certainly does not make it any easier on her. And Peter Sargeant is completely falling apart. Back at the White House kitchen, Bucky and Cyan understand Ollie, and why she can’t talk about what happened, but her nemesis Virgil is giving her a hard time. He really keeps pestering Ollie as he wants to be executive chef, undermining her orders whenever he can. That night, leaving for home, Ollie feels very comfortable when a man keeps talking to her and following her to the metro. Why is her cellphone almost empty right now, when she would have called for help? Stepping into the metro she still feels followed, something is just not right. And what is with the old man who falls asleep? Should she wake him up and help him get to his destination? A skirmish follows with the old man who is confused and unfriendly, and the other stranger who wants to know who she is and stuff. When Ollie finally calls the police to help with the confused old man, he runs off. As it happens, the old man has been missing all day, and is Secretary of State Gerald Quinones father-in-law. The Quinones are very happy that Ollie has found him. As her ex-boyfriend Secret Service Agent Tom MacKenzie shows up and finally takes her home, Ollie is exhausted. What a day. And Tom is exasperated with her, again, which is one of the reasons they broke up, he just doesn’t trust her, and is tired of her always getting involved in his cases. Luckily, Ollie’s new boyfriend Gavin understands her better, and he is waiting for her at her place when Tom drops her off. She will have Secret Service escort service from now on, until they find out who did it. The next day is a busy one for Ollie and her kitchen staff, and is about to get even more busy. With Patty, the assistant, murdered, it is expected of Ollie and Peter Sargeant to start organise the party until a new assistant can take over. So they will have to keep working together. Of course, the Lexington place is now off the list for good, and they will have to start working with the new venue asap. To help them, one of the social aides will be assigned to them. As it so happens, it is a man Peter thoroughly despises, and after a little time in his company, Ollie has to agree with him. The man just doesn’t shut up at all, and thinks very highly of himself, which is totally undeserved as he walks away from problems instead of solving them. Peter’s cousin Milton has deduced that they are the ones who found the bodies, and he really, really wants to get a job at the White House themselves. So if they don’t help him, he will tell the press what he knows … and he also has a line on the killer and will investigate for them. Peter doesn’t like it, but Ollie doesn’t really believe him but tries to stay friendly. She doesn’t need new headlines in the press! Then Sargeant gets into trouble when someone has messed with his computer and made it look like he crossed a very important couple of the guest list. Ollie should be rejoicing in this, Sargeant never lets an opportunity go by to blacken her name and get her in trouble, but she just can’t help herself. She will investigate this matter and find out who is messing with Peter Sargeant. Two intriguing mysteries for Ollie to solve this time, and she gets in some really dangerous situations as well. I have to admit, I did have my suspicions about both of those cases, but to find out the why and how was very interesting and exiting. I thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this book, and it kept me up way past my bedtime. I like how Ollie’s personal life gets attention throughout the story. Gavin will have to step up to the plate and make a commitment here, or Ollie will have to end it all. She deserves more, and I agree with that. I hope that chef Virgil is slowly learning his lesson now, and will get his act together and work with Ollie instead of against her. And if not, I hope she shows him the way out. I don’t trust him one little bit, the gloryhound. I will read the next book, Fonduing Fathers, soon as the new one is almost there as well. I have fallen in love more with each new book, and do recommend it to everyone who loves cozy mysteries. Especially if you like recipes in your books. 9 stars. © 2013 Reviews by Aurian

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Palmer

    I love this series The Whitehouse. chef, Olivia Paras has a habit of finding dead bodies. It has put her job in danger as well as her body. I love the characters in this series. The setting of Washington, DC and particularly the Whitehouse is a favorite of mine (government teacher) well paced plot, well developed settings, overall great series

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Unfortunately, I've ended up reading the White House Chef novels a bit out of order, but it's always a pleasure to be reacquainted with Ollie and her world. When two White House staff members are murdered, Ollie and Peter Sargeant must work against time to solve the crimes before they become the next victims. Great fun.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a quick, light read and a good mystery. Unlike the other books in the series, Ollie doesn't spend much time in the White House kitchen. There's plenty of action outside the White House, though, and a bit of romance to keep it interesting.

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