Review: Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy

The fourth book in the White House chef series sees Executive Chef Olivia (Ollie) Paras and the rest of the White House kitchen staff welcoming a new President on Inauguration Day. But when Ollie finds a box of famous brand barbeque chicken wings have been delivered especially for the new President’s young children she makes the unpopular decision of refusing to give the wings to the children because she doesn’t know who delivered the box and the rules about what food can be given to the First Family are very clear. The decision plays a role in the President’s wife bringing in a new personal chef to the White House and even though her job is on the line Ollie is not allowed to tell the First Lady that the chicken turned out to be poisoned or that the children are still under threat.

I like this series because of the out-of-the-ordinary setting so it didn’t really bother me that in this one there was less mysterious drama for Ollie to be involved with than in some of the previous books. In some ways it made for a more believable story because it really isn’t feasible that chefs face a life threatening situation every day, and the inner workings of the kitchen politics that underpinned this one kept me entertained and empathetic. Poor Ollie has her job in jeopardy for doing exactly what she was supposed to do with respect to her workplace rules and has to cover for the shortcomings of the person brought in to potentially replace her. Anyone know a workplace where that kind of thing doesn’t happen regularly? If you do can you leave me a comment and an application form?

If not terribly real-world credible the core of the mystery here is logical and believable within the context of the novel and not nearly as far-fetched as some cosies tend to be. It involves people from a hostile country (Hyzy sensibly made up a country rather than ascribe evil intent to anyone real) wanting something from the US Government that they are unlikely to want to give so dastardly means are resorted to and Ollie is, once again, in the right place to attempt to save the day.

This is a light, quick read that is full of well-researched details about White House goings-on. The characters are fun to love (or hate) and there is enough suspense in the story to while away some pleasant reading hours.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I have reviewed the three previous books in this series State of the Onion, Hail to the Chief and Eggsecutive Orders
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My rating 3/5
Author website http://www.juliehyzy.com/
Publisher Berkley Prime Crime [2011]
ISBN 9780425239230
Length 275 pages (plus recipes at the end)
Format mass market paperback
Book Series #4 in the White House Chef mysteries
Source I bought it

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3 Responses to Review: Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy

  1. Bernadette – Thanks, as always for this review. I like the White House Chef series, too, and the character of Ollie. I have to admit I’ve not read this one yet, but I’ve never worked anywhere where work politics didn’t get in the way exactly as you’ve described. I really like it when books touch on those common things…

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  2. Dorte H says:

    This one sounds like a nice little cosy, and no more about politics than I´d be able to live with.

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  3. Pingback: Books of the Month – February 2011 | Reactions to Reading

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