The Chef by James Patterson and Max Dilallo
Publication Date: February 18, 2019
Summary from Goodreads:
In the new stand-alone thriller from the World’s Bestselling author comes a Police detective by day, celebrity food truck chef by night, now Caleb Rooney has a new title: Most Wanted.
In the Carnival days leading up Mardi Gras, Detective Caleb Rooney comes under investigation for a murder he is accused of committing in the line of duty–as a Major Crimes detective for the New Orleans Police Department. Has his sideline at the Killer Chef food truck given him a taste for murder?
While fighting the charges against him, Rooney makes a pair of unthinkable discoveries. His beloved city is under threat of attack. And these would-be terrorists may be local.
As crowds of revelers gather, Rooney follows a fearsome trail of clues, racing from outlying districts into city center. He has no idea what-or who-he’ll face in defense of his beloved hometown, only that innocent lives are at stake.
It has been a really long time since I have read anything by James Patterson. I was really into his Alex Cross books, but after five or six of them I lost interest. I never got into any of his other mystery/thriller series either. But the tag line on this one caught my attention, as did the idea of a cop/food truck chef, and of course I am always up for reading a book set in New Orleans. In the end I was glad that I had picked this one up, it was absolutely yummy!
I really liked Caleb Rooney. He was a good cop, who was in a tough spot. He loved his hometown of New Orleans and would do anything to protect it. He did have a complicated love life though. He co-owns the food truck with his ex-wife and he falls in love with a married woman with a crazy, controlling husband. But he manages all of that, plus saving New Orleans from a terrorist attack.
I really felt like I was in New Orleans throughout the book. The descriptions of the city and the people who lived there were well done. Although there were a couple of times when Caleb started thinking about buildings and other things New Orleans when it wasn’t entirely appropriate, like when he is racing across town trying to get to his girlfriend who is being menaced by thugs. Plus there is so much food description, that it made me hungry. I’m not a huge fan of Cajun food, too spicy for me, but man some of it sounded really good. There are a few recipes in the back of the book that I am tempted to try as well.
The overall plot of terrorists of blowing up New Orleans during Mardi Gras was a bit far-fetched, but believable. It was actually kind of scary sounding when it started happening. The person behind it, and the reason for it was the part that didn’t quite work for me. But the execution of the attack was totally plausible and I could see that actually happening. Caleb, of course is just slightly one step behind figuring it all out, but he does save the day in the end.
This was a good read and I would recommend it for the setting and all of the food alone. But the plot is pretty good and does keep you engaged. Caleb is also a dear and I hope that maybe we might see him again sometime in the future. The ending was left open for that to happen.