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Turn Up The Heat by Susan Conant

Turn Up The Heat

by Susan Conant

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t’s finals week for social-work grad student Chloe Carter but she haslots of distractions – including a murder. The morning after she and some friends – including a very pregnant Adrianna – enjoy a fine dinner at Simmer, the trendy Boston restaurant where Chloe’s beau Josh is the executive chef, she discovers the body of Leandra, the waitress who served them the evening before. Because the body is found in a fish-delivery truck belonging to Adrianna’s fiancé Owen, police immediately suspect him of the murder.

Simmer’s owner, Gavin Seymour, who had begun dating Leandra just before she died, asks Chloe to help assemble a book of memories for the funeral service he’s holding for Leandra at Simmer. Gavin is hoping Chloe can gather sincere and glowing tributes to his late lady-love. Unfortunately, no one much liked Leandra and Chloe is forced to do some creative writing in addition to the term papers she must complete.

Although I usually prefer amateur-sleuth mysteries that focus almost exclusively on a murder investigation, I find myself liking this “Gourmet Girl” series more and more. With so much going on in Chloe’s life, with her as the first person narrator and with her rambling train of thought often being derailed, it seems as if the murder investigation is an afterthought.

That’s not a complaint, because I find 25-year-old Chloe’s ramblings interesting, insightful and funny. Learning the ins and out of the restaurant business is fascinating. I believe younger readers will enjoy Turn Up the Heat because they can identify with Chloe and her madcap life. I, as an older reader, find it a delightful glimpse into the mind of a member of a much-younger generation. (The scrumptious recipes are not for culinary amateurs but they’re fun to read nonetheless.)

By Diana. First published in the Cozy Library February 21, 2008.

Review based on publisher- or author-provided review copy.
  NewsieQ | Jan 21, 2011 |
Question: Can a ditzy grad student with a chef boyfriend be a credible amateur detective? Answer: No. The recipes that are appended have no redemptive value. ( )
  paeonia | Dec 4, 2010 |
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

Chloe still barely sees her boyfriend, Josh, whose job as a chef keeps him extremely busy. Sometimes the only way to see him is to eat at his restaurant, Simmer.

After eating dinner there one night with a group of friends, Owen's forced to leave his ride parked in the alley behind the restaurant. The next morning, Chloe and Owen return to fetch his truck, but, much to their dismay, they discover the body of their waitress, Leandra, in the back - murdered.

Despite the fact that Chloe's in the middle of exams and Owen's girlfriend is pregnant, Chloe can't help but attempt to solve the murder herself. Can she juggle everything in her life, or will something blow up in her face?

This mother-daughter author team serves up another tasty tale in their third GOURMET GIRL mystery! ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
A fun read that takes place in a restaurant.
  bgbw | Oct 15, 2008 |
Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant have written a lovely set of mysteries called “The Gourmet Girls Series.” At the end of each book, they append recipes for dishes that have been featured in the stories. These stories belong to the genre of so-called “cozy mysteries” which focus on character, setting, and the intellectual process of solving a mystery rather than on heart-thumping serial-killing scary scenarios.

In Turn Up the Heat, Chloe Carter, the narrator, is cramming for social work exams while her boyfriend Josh, a chef, is working long hours helping to set up a new restaurant, Simmer. Chloe’s best friend, Adrianna, is pregnant. The father of the baby, Owen, has finally gotten a steady job delivering fish to restaurants. Alas, while Owen’s truck was parked behind Simmer, someone murdered one of the waitresses, Leandra, and put her body in the fish truck. Owen is naturally under suspicion, so Chloe gets involved in trying to solve the crime to help save her best friend’s relationship.

In the meanwhile, there’s a lot of eating going on in this book, and a lot of discussion of what it’s like to make a restaurant work. All of this is quite interesting and adds “meat” to the mystery story. There is also much oohing and aahing in the story over food made by real chefs who put in cameo appearances in the book. Recipes by these chefs are also included at the end.

The recipes don’t seem all that complicated, but I suspect there’s a reason why some chefs are considered better than others (or for that matter, why some people are chefs and some people just "make dinner"). In real life, Jessica Conant-Park is married to a chef. If it can be managed, I think that arranging a marriage to a chef is probably the best way to get these recipes to come out generating oohs and aahs.

I recommend this light, tasteful mystery to food connoisseurs everywhere. And of the recipes, well, for me it’s a toss-up between the Guatemalan Tamales and the Spaghetti and Lobster, but I just might have to try both! ( )
  nbmars |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 042521947X, Hardcover)

Chloe Carter is helping her chef boyfriend with his new restaurant on Boston’s posh Newbury Street, when a crabby waitress is found dead in a fish truck. Was this a prank gone awry? Or did somebody want her to sleep with the fishes?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:36 -0400)

Leandra, a Simmer server, turns up strangled with her own apron strings in a seafood delivery truck . Most of the restaurant's staff appear to have despised her, but who hated her enough to kill her?

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