A Taste of the Nightlife by Sarah Zettel. What a great start to a mystery series. It’s no secret that I love all things paranormal, and this book and author definitely made a place for itself on my must read list when the next installment comes out.
We have Chef Caine, aka Charlotte Caine, the chef and part owner of a NYC restaurant called Nightlife. She’s got a brother who is a vampire and he apparently has gotten himself into some trouble. Which has resulted in a dead body being found in the restaurant. Chef Caine finds herself needing to balance a food critic who is also a vampire, a anti-vamp family who also happens to be a family of witches, a squad of police dedicated to all things paranormal, getting her restaurant back open and solving the mystery.
This reminded me a little of Madelyn Alt’s bewitching mysteries. It’s a light little book, with a little comedy, a lot of mystery, a neat “paranormal setting”, allusions towards a little romance and the solving of a mystery with a little action.
There were moments when I chuckled out loud while reading this. And I am definitely a fan of Charlotte and her thought processes. I also instantly loved her attitude and sarcasm. Her roommates are a great compliment and great story telling device as they are in some ways comic relief and in some ways they provide great potential for more in the series without feeling like they were just dumped on us later to be able to come up with a story. Our Russian vamp and our security consultant witch provide the potential for a love triangle of sorts (and unlike the triangle that Ms. Alt constructed early on, I like both of these two characters very much).
There is just enough cooking to intrigue me, and it’s nicely overdone so I didn’t feel stupid or overwhelmed by the cooking terms, references, or explanations. In fact, if the author has any experience, it was a nice little look inside the kitchen of a good restaurant. The only real downside is that also like Ms. Alt’s stuff, the answer to the mystery sort of came out of no where. I am not sure the reader really had all the information necessary to figure it out. Having been introduced to mysteries via Agatha Christie, I like to be able to look back as go “ahhhh…. There were the hints that I should have seen but I missed….” and I am not sure this really had that.
But there was just enough action, humor, and like-ability to the characters that I think I have found another mystery series to follow. Ms. Zettel has written a culinary mystery that would lead me to want a reservation in her establishment!
p.s. The preview for the next in the series was equally intriguing and has my mouth watering for it’s release!