from my review @ http://babblingbookreviews.com
In the second book, Ollie and the White House staff are preparing for the holiday season and the First Lady is playing matchmaker. The President's single, good-looking nephew, Sam Baxter, is visiting and Mrs. Campbell asks Ollie to convince Sam to spend Thanksgiving at the White House. The First Lady is unaware of Ollie's relationship with Secret Service Agent Tom MacKenzie, who is on the President's security detail. Ollie is gratified to know that Mrs. Campbell thinks so highly of her, but she's stumped on how to diplomatically tell the First Lady she's not interested in Sam and keep her relationship with Tom private.
A security incident occurs and Ollie is sequestered with Mrs. Campbell and Sam until an all-clear is given. She learns that Mrs. Campbell's business partners - and life-long friends - are pressuring her to agree to sell the company they jointly own. Sam, as her financial adviser, is telling her she shouldn't sell.
With Thanksgiving and the start of the official holiday season just days away, the staff can't afford to be held up by security threats and bomb scares. Because of the latest incident, the staff has to attend mandatory Improvised Explosive Device (IED) recognition training. Ollie gets off on the wrong foot with the special agent-in-change, and he singles her out at the first meeting. His persistence in making sure she fully understands the gravity of the situation pays off later when Ollie stumbles upon something where it shouldn't be.
The staff receives a blow to their morale when the head electrician is accidentally electrocuted. Ollie can't believe a man as experienced as Gene was could have made such a careless mistake. She questions a friend who comes up with a theory on what may have happened, but none of the other staff electricians want to listen to her theory.
Then, on Thanksgiving day, the First Lady receives news that Sam has committed suicide. Even knowing him for such such a short time, Ollie is convinced that he wasn't suicidal. There's no time for her to poke her nose into things, however. Even with the recent tragedy, most of the scheduled events will go on as planned. Ollie and the rest of the staff are busy as ever. Conversations she has overheard, and a letter addressed to her written by Sam, point to the possibility that maybe he was eliminated by someone who wants the First Lady to sell the company her father co-founded. All of the other partners want the sale to happen, but one is having finical and legal troubles, and that may have led to the death of Mrs. Campbell's father as well as Sam.
I liked this book more than the first one, primarily because Ollie isn't stubbornly putting her nose into things as much as she did in the first book, and she is more confident in her new position. There is still the occasional encounter with the jerk of a sensitivity director, but she is now an equal and he has no influence over her. She's even better at handling Bucky, the snarky assistant chef and her second-in-command. Tom doesn't get much time in this book, because of his job, but they are still a couple.
As for the who-done-it part, I thought it was a bit far-fetched. The real draw, for me, is Ollie and the staff. I'm not a foodie, but I loved reading about the behind-the-scenes preparations. Like the previous book, recipes for the food served by the staff are provided, including one for gingerbread men.
Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series is quickly becoming a favorite. Ollie has finally taken over as Head Chef in the White House Kitchen. What hasn't changed however is that she continues to be in the middle of almost everything that goes wrong. I was totally surprised of "who done it." Super read, recommend it.
I love this book and this series. It is so interesting to read about some of the types of things that could go on in the White House and I also love all books about cooking so this is a perfect combination for a murder mystery.
wonderful story!! altho it is fiction there is so much inside info and the cooking is very interesting
Hail to the Chef is the second book in this new series by Julie Hyzy.
Join Ollie Paras, Whitehouse Chef as she works her way through the holidays, trying to avoid the matchmaking first lady, terrorist plots, safety classes and a Senator who is way in over his head and sinking fast.
It's a fun read and hopefully you will be able to read all 4 of the books so you'll be ready for the 5th book coming out Jan 2012.