New book: Topped Chef, by Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib ’75) (Obsidian)
The author: A clinical psychologist turned murder-mystery writer, Roberta Isleib has written a golf mystery series — featuring a professional golfer and a sports psychologist — and an advice column mystery series — featuring an advice columnist and a psychologist. Working under the pen name Lucy Burdettte, Isleib has created a food-critic mystery series — Topped Chef is the third installment.
The book: Hayley Snow, a food critic for Key Zest, a style magazine in Key West, Fla., finds herself in another murder investigation. When Hayley is lined up to judge the reality TV cooking show Key West Topped Chef — whose winner could become a cooking show star — she finds that a fellow judge is the owner of a restaurant that she recently panned in a review. When the owner winds up dead, Hayley tries to solve the case before she becomes the next victim.
Opening lines: “Evinrude woke me from a sound sleep, first with his rumbling purr and then with a gentle but persistent tapping of paw to cheek. I blinked my eyes open — the bedside clock read 6:15. I hissed softly at his gray-striped face. ‘I love you dearly, but you’re a monster,’ I told him as I rolled out of bed. ‘Spoiled, rotten cat flesh.’”
Review: “Lucy has done a good job in keeping me in suspense with plenty of suspects who could have been the killer. Boasting a great cast of characters, a terrific location and entertaining dialogue, Lucy has created a wonderful and well-written whodunit and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Key West,” wrote the critic of the blog dru’s book musings. Blogger Stephanie Goldberg Glazer called Topped Chef “a good addition to your summer beach bag. … Any way you slice it, this book is a lot of fun.”