Monday, May 19, 2014

Beach Read Pick: Monster's Chef

Monster's Chef
by Jervey Tervalon
Amistad
2014
224 pages
ISBN: 9780062316202

Available June 10, 2014

Monster's Chef is the perfect beach read. It has everything a reader could want: an out of work, down on his luck chef with a checkered past and a lost love, an aging rock star who harbors illegal habits and an illicit eye for young boys, wannabe hangers-on hoping for that lucky break or their first million, the unhappy, pregnant wife of the aging rocker, a grounds-keeper who looks the other way, and a security team who will shoot now and ask questions later--all set in a remote compound in the hills away from Hollywood.

Gibson takes the job as personal chef because he needs the money. Just released from the halfway house, there's not a lot of jobs lining up on his horizon. He needs clarity and peace, and takes the job at the quiet compound hoping for  a little of both. What he finds is a weird job. He rarely cooks since Monster likes to eat raw. Gibson soon wonders why Monster needs a chef at all.

Monster----as he proclaims himself is the king of the compound--he is everything the press loves in a celebrity--he is odd, different, eccentric bordering on maniacal. In his lair on the hill, he can stay up all night in his weird den of entertainment and sleep all day. He answers to no one. The laws do not pertain to him. He is untouchable and God-like in his realm. His servants don't dare ask questions; they lend a blind eye and hope to make their fortune quick and make a clean getaway. No one talks about what goes on at Monster's Lair.

When a dead body shows up on the property, the sheriff comes looking for answers. Gibson is strangely fascinated by the being who happens to be  Monster--as readers are likely to be. Monster is a true enigma--a tortured soul who is worshipped by hordes of fans in public but who is as alone as a person can be. He is pitiful but too strange and corrupted  to be pitied.

I enjoyed this book immensely but hoped for just a little more "chef -y-ness." While a few recipes were included, I suppose I was looking for a bit more cuisine since the word chef is in the title and various kitchen implements are featured on the cover. The cover also features weapons, a dollar sign,  a couple of thugs, and two women.

I found Monster a bit fascinating and he reminded me of the late Michael Jackson. Gibson, too, was an interesting character. Monster's Chef is a book that will stick with you. You are not likely to forget this one.

Recommended for mature and adult readers. Anyone who loves an "inside the lives of celebrities" book, will love this one. Celebrities, according to Monster's Chef, are not just like you and me.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)






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