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By Julie Hyzy

Berkley Prime Crime, 2011 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-24583-5
Kindle eBook: $7.99

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Olivia Paras, the executive chef at the White House, never goes looking for dead bodies, but she has a knack for finding them. While looking for an offsite venue for an important birthday party, accompanied by her nemesis, Peter Everett Sargeant, the insensitive White House Sensitivity Director, she finds not one, but two, murder victims, both members of the White House Staff. Someone thinks Ollie knows more than she's telling about the murders, and despite her protests, she is assigned an around-the-clock Secret Service protective detail. One agent who is not part of the assignment is Leonard Gavin — "Gav", the new man in Ollie's life. While dodging killers and handling matters of diplomacy from her kitchen, she wonders why he seems to be pulling away just when she wants to get closer.

In an odd coincidence, Ollie is trying to evade a man who's followed her onto the Metro, and rescues an elderly man who turns out to be a presumed kidnap victim with ties to a highly-placed government official: the same person for whom Mrs. Hyden, the First Lady, is planning the birthday party.

AFFAIRS OF STEAK is number five in A White House Chef Mystery series, following BUFFALO WEST WING, and it is equally as entertaining as the previous four. The behind the scenes look at the White House is great fun, and the recipes, as always, are an added bonus.

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