A Taste of the Nightlife

Main Characters:

Dylan Maddox – the dead guy.  Put in the foyer of Nightlife, Charlotte’s restaurant.  He was drained too, so it looks like a vamp killed him.

Chef Charlotte Caine – owner of Nightlife and our main character.  She is forced to go “Nancy Drew” to find out what happened so she can reopen her restaurant after Dylan is found dead in the foyer one morning.

Chet Caine – Charlotte’s little brother.  And a vamp, who always seems to need some rescuing or and Charlotte feels totally responsible for.

Anatole Sevarin – the vampire food critic who comes into Nightlife to review it.  He witnesses a scene between the dead guy and a few others (the female trouble maker turns out to be his cousin Pam).  He seems to take a liking to Charlotte and he, along with Brendan, try to help Charlotte throughout the book.

Brendan Maddox – a security professional on the hunt for his cousin Pam.  And, because he is looking for his cousin he ends up mixed up in this.  He was sort of anyway since he is from a family of witches and the witches-vamp feud is a big deal in this universe.  But, he knows there’s something going on and he tries to help protect Charlotte throughout the book.  He seems to be the third angle of the potential love triangle for Charlotte.

Pam Maddox – one of the witch Maddox clan.  She disappeared and her clan is looking for her.  That’s how Brendan and Dylan end up in the picture.

Main Premise:  Vamps are out in the open.  So are witches.  (Dont’ know about other supes.)  Chef Charlotte Caine runs a restaurant that feeds humans and vamps alike.  One night a famous critic comes in to review the food when a scene breaks out between two other guests and someone who came in to confront the lady of the pair.  And that doesn’t turn out so well.  The next morning, one of the troublesome trio turns up dead – in the restaurant.  Charlotte thinks that her brother could be mixed up in it all, and as the story progresses this becomes more and more likely.  In an effort to protect him and get Nightlife reopened, she sort of starts to investigate whats going on.

Locations: NYC

Other Important Things to Remember for Later:  Chet has let Charlotte take over Nightlife completely.  She had to stand trial for a few things related to the burning down of Post Mordem (a club that was involved in things).  Brendan and Anatole seem to see each other as competition for Charlotte.  Charlotte didn’t leave Anatole to die at the end, and she kissed Brendan (who turns out really is pretty broke and looking to get a contract with the city for private security).

Spoiling the Mystery:  Pam did it.  It was a complicated little plot that all boiled down to money and blood running.

Review:

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!

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