Home of the BraisedHome of the Braised by Julie Hyzy is the seventh book in the “White House Chef” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, January 2014

With the pressure of an upcoming state dinner that could make or break the president’s foreign policy, White House executive chef Olivia Paras has precious little time to focus on her wedding plans—or to catch a murderer.

Tensions are running high as the White House staff adjusts to a new chief usher and prepares for a high-stakes state dinner, where everything must be perfect. But as the date for the event approaches, things go disastrously wrong when the secretary of defense is found dead in his home, seemingly killed during a break-in.

At the same time Olivia’s fiancé, Gav, is looking into the mysterious murder of an old friend. Is there a connection? Despite an increase in security following the secretary’s death, Ollie learns the president is in imminent danger at the dinner and must do everything in her power to get to him—before it’s too late.

I don’t know how she does it, but with each consecutive book that Julie writes, I fall more in love with her characters and her work. She continues to deliver a well-written story that pulled me in immediately and never let up until that final page was read. In the latest adventures, Ollie and Gav happen upon a murder scene that is teemed with conspiracy, mistrust and betrayal and it will take our White House chef a head butt to wrestle away from the enemies.

This fast-paced and adrenaline-rushed drama was a great mystery with plenty of suspenseful and intensifying moments. The multiple deaths, the threats to Ollie, Virgil and his snickety ways, her kitchen duties and Ollie and Gav’s recent engagement all played a role in the outcome as the drama progressed to an ending worthy of our heroine. I enjoyed this one very much as we saw the determination in Ollie as she found herself fighting enemies from the beady-eyed rodents to rouge agents. I also loved that we finally learned the connection that Virgil has and still his behavior has caught their attention. My favorite part of this book was the surprise that was waiting for Ollie. This is the best book ever and I can’t wait to see what new adventures lie in wait for Ollie and her team.

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