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Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak

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Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak

Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak
Published by Black Opal Books on May 27, 2016
Source: Pump Up Your Book!
Genres: Thriller
Format: Paperback
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In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano.

The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

First a confession, I watch a lot of the Food Network, so I couldn’t pass up a “culinary thriller.” Friend of the Devil turned out to be a fun thriller full of drugs, sex and food. Not a bad combination.

David is a writer who first meets  Joseph Soderini di Avenzano while doing a story. He is then hired to write the famous chef’s biography and is summoned to the Chateau de la Mer, where the menu is amazing, the chef a brilliant, if often drugged-out, showman, and the hostess irresistible. Actually, that is my one complaint, how quickly David and Alessandra hook up. I guess they have to for the rest of the story, but it just seemed a little quick. Of course, everything at the Chateau is a little intense.

For me, it wasn’t a quick read. I’m not sure why exactly. The pacing was good and there was enough action to keep the story moving. I enjoyed the bits of history that Avenzano mused about. I guess maybe I just didn’t care about the characters. I think I was supposed to like David and be “rooting” for him, but I didn’t understand his obsession. It might just be me, though. It seems like it could be a page-turner for some people. It’s got all the right ingredients and it is a seasonal read. David heads to Florida for the winter, like so many people.

Overall, it’s a good thriller, and the food pushes it up a notch.

Excerpt:

Several years after the opening of Chateau de la Mer, the triumvirate of Avenzano,Walsh, and Ross appeared to be one big happy family, although there were rumors of strains in the relationship.

One night, at the height of the Festival of Champagne, there was an incident. Ross, a notorious womanizer, was sipping Cristal with a redhead at the restaurant’s corner table. His wife slipped through the front door of the mansion, unannounced. Walking slowly through the dining room, past the Medieval memorabilia and dramatic cast-iron griffins,she strolled up to Ross’s table, took a revolver from her evening bag, and calmly shot him through the heart.

The ensuing chaos did more to establish Joseph Soderini di Avenzano in the American imagination than his designer pasta, his Bedouin stuffed poussin, his recipes transposed from Etruscan or Old Genoese, or his library of ten thousand cookbooks.

This was more than a good meal, after all. This was sex and death in Palm Beach. Even more intriguing was the chef’s refusal to comment on Ross after his death, except for informal and effusive eulogies in his famous baritone.

“Watch that Cristal,” David’s friend Bill Grimaldi told him before he left Manhattan to do an assigned story on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Chateau de la Mer. “It’s a killer.”

About Mark Spivak

Mark Spivak is an award-winning author, specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants, and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, andwas honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, as well as the Food Editor for Palm Beach Illustrated; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. His work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. From 1999-2011 Spivak hosted Uncorked! Radio, a highly successful wine talk show on the Palm Beach affiliate of National Public Radio.

Spivak is the author of two non-fiction books: Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). Friend of the Devil is his first novel. He is currently working on a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq

Spotlight on Fatal Reunion Ken Malovos

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Spotlight on Fatal Reunion Ken Malovos

Spotlight on Fatal Reunion Ken MalovosFatal Reunion by Ken Malovos
Series: Mike Zorich #2
Published by Createspace on December 17, 2015
Genres: Legal Thriller
Pages: 284
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Jason Robinson attends his 20th high school reunion where he connects with his old girlfriend. The next day she is dead and he is charged with her murder. He asks attorney Mike Zorich to represent him. Mike feels that the case against Jason is weak, even though Jason has given inconsistent statements and some emails emerge that give him a motive to commit murder.

Meanwhile, Mike is trying to cope with his own problem with alcohol. After his friends confront him, he enters rehabilitation and then begins his own investigation into what really happened at the reunion, exposing dirty secrets that leave families and lives ruined with their disclosure.

Book Excerpt:

The phone rang at the suburban home of attorney Mike Zorich around one- thirty on a Sunday afternoon in October. Mike put down the crossword puzzle and hit the mute button on his remote. He could still watch the San Francisco 49er football game as the players ran around silently on the screen.

He wondered who would be calling him at this hour.

“Mr. Zorich, how are you? This is Detective Tom Kirkland, Sacramento P.D.”

“Detective Kirkland, it’s been some time since we spoke.”

“I understand you spent last night talking to the reunion party at the Sheraton.”

“I did, but how would you know that?”

“I have one of the alums here at the station and he told me all about it. In fact, he would like to talk to you. His name is Jason Robinson. We have him on an open homicide investigation. Okay?”

“Yeah, sure. Put him on.”

There was a pause and a couple of clicks on the other end of the line.

“Mr. Zorich, I need some help. Can you help me? My name is Jason Robinson. I was at the reunion dinner last night. They have me down here and they say that I am a suspect in a murder. But I didn’t do it. Can you come down here and get me out of here? I don’t have a lot of money but I will pay you. I promise. I heard you speak last night at our reunion dinner. You have to help me.”

“Where exactly are you now? Is there anyone near you?”

“I’m at the police station in a small room. I’m by myself. They won’t say what is going to happen to me.”

“Okay. Who was murdered? Do you know?”

“Yes, it’s Lori McDonald. She’s a former classmate of mine. She was at the dinner last night too.”

“Has Kirkland talked to you yet?”

“Yeah, but just for a few minutes. I was hoping to clear it all up and maybe they would let me go. Now I’m not too sure about that.”

“All right. Sit tight. I will be right down. Just don’t talk any more. Tell them you talked to me and I said that you were not allowed to talk to anyone. Got that? Blame me. Tell them that the lawyer said you can’t talk to anyone.”

“Yeah, I’ve got that.”

“Do you have relatives or friends nearby?”

“My parents live in Carmichael and my wife and I live in Los Altos. Down in the Bay Area. That’s where we live.”

“Okay. Have you called her yet?”

“No, I just got the one phone call. They said I could call a lawyer and I don’t know any lawyers. I just remembered you from last night so I asked to call you.”

“Okay. I will be right there. Just don’t talk with anyone until I get there. Got that?”

“Yeah.”

“I mean no one.”

About Ken Malovos

Ken Malovos has been practicing law in Sacramento for more than forty years. He spent twelve years with the Public Defender’s Office and twenty-five years as a business litigator. He now serves full-time as a mediator and arbitrator. Fatal Reunion is his second novel. His first novel, Contempt of Court, won first prize in the legal genre of the Mystery & Mayhem Book Writing Competition sponsored by Chanticleer Book Reviews. He and his wife, Michele, live in Sacramento.

Summer Heat Book Blast

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Summer Heat Book Blast

Summer Heat Book Blast Summer Heat Box Set by Caridad Pineiro, Nina Bruhns, Rebecca York, Jennifer Lowery, Taylor Lee, Traci Hall, Stephanie Queen, Alicia Street, Kathy Ivan, Jackie Ivie, Michele Hauf, Rachelle Ayala, Katy Walters, Melissa Keir, Dani Haviland, Jacquie Biggar
Published by Chill Out on May 24, 2016
Genres: Anthology/Box Set
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon

16 All New Contemporary Romances from NY Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors. Guaranteed to make your blood run hot. Passion, steamy nights, excitement, and suspense. Something to suit every reader's taste. Grab a cool drink (you'll need it!), find a hammock, and curl up for an unforgettable escape.

1: Caridad Pineiro, Under the Boardwalk - A passionate night under the boardwalk brought them together, but can Chase and Natalie rekindle that lost love in just one night?

2: Nina Bruhns, Fast and Flirty - The top-secret package STORM Corps transporter Kade Maddox is hired to deliver turns out to be way more trouble—and a whole lot sexier—than he ever anticipated.

3: Rebecca York, Outlaw Justice - Will a surprise reunion with her old lover save her life when she flees from a homicidal husband?

4: Jennifer Lowery, The Fall (Book #2 ATCOM series) - The last thing ATCOM agent Brendan Devayne wants is to settle down, but Mia Lawrence makes him think twice…

5: Taylor Lee, Jared: (Book 1, The Justice Brothers Series) - The rookie cop learned the hard way that when tangling with the Justice Brothers, Justice—like Love-- isn’t always fair or easy.

6: Traci Hall, Festival by the Sea - Al Cooper’s too bad to be a cop and too good to be a crook; Darcy Smith can’t get enough.

7: Stephanie Queen, Beachcomber Heat - This summer’s heat wave on Martha’s Vineyard is breaking records, but so is the crime wave. The combination is causing a wave of red-hot dangerous desire between Dane and Shana.

8: Alicia Street, In Training for Love - When private fitness trainer Shannon meets her hot new client, loving her job takes on a whole new meaning.

9: Kathy Ivan, Sex, Lies and Apple Pies - A televised baking competition brings them together. But deceit, intrigue and revenge are on this menu. Can their love survive?


10: Jackie Ivie, The Hunted - LeeAnn’s got business in Miami. Bring on the sun. Sand. Sexy men to look at. The last thing she expects is to be someone’s target.

11: Michele Hauf, The Geek Gets The Girl - Mistaken for the IT geek? This sexy CEO is about to learn the intimate operations of his company—up close, and personal.

12: Rachelle Ayala, Bad Boys for Hire: Ken (Bad Boys for Hire Series, #2) - After Jolie Becker is left at the altar, her friends secretly hire a hunky beach bum to cheer her up.

13: Katy Walters, Sands of Seduction - Clary escaped to a place of sea and sand, a place of passion and seduction.

14: Melissa Keir, Protecting Her Pigg - Arson and fire bring them together, but what will cause the most damage…the arsonist bent on revenge or their own stubborn ways?

15: Dani Haviland, Pool Boy Wanted (No Experience Preferred) - He’d never known a woman before, and that’s just how she wanted him.

16: Jacquie Biggar, Summer Lovin’ - Can two mismatched lovers find a way past their mistakes, or will they keep their lonely hearts forever guarded?

Book Excerpt:

From Protecting Her Pigg by Melissa Keir

Arriving on the scene, the smell of smoke with the tang of gasoline assaulted my lungs. The building was a total loss. It bothered me to see something once so beautiful destroyed.

“Sir, you can’t be here,” the officer I’d assigned to the perimeter yelled.

Turning toward the commotion, I witnessed a tall, dark-haired man storming toward me with violence in his approach. Sizing up the advancing danger, I threw my shoulders back and met the man halfway.

“This is my building. Who are you, and what do you know so far?” His gravel voice caused goose bumps to form on my skin.

“I’m sorry, Mr…?” Up close, the man took my breath away. His features weren’t “pretty boy” beautiful, but striking. Chiseled chin, full lips, slightly curved nose. Must have been broken at one time.

“Pigg, Lucas Pigg. And you are?”

Caught staring at his lips, I almost missed the question. “I’m Lily O’Neill, chief arson investigator. We don’t know much so far. I’ve only begun my investigation. This wasn’t an accident. It was set with gasoline as the accelerant. The smell is noticeable. I have some questions for you. I’d like to meet you in my office to talk.” No matter how good-looking, Mr. Pigg was my first suspect.

Giveaway!

The authors of the Summer Heat Boxed Set are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky person who leaves a comment at any of their book blast stops!

Terms & Conditions:

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
One blogger will be chosen to receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and one commenter will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card
This giveaway begins April 25 and ends on May 27.
Winners will be contacted on May 28 and announced on the author’s tour page.

Good luck everyone!

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