MONSTER'S CHEF by Jervey Tervalon


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A thriller with some characters that are memorably quirky, perhaps since we've seen them before.

Each chapter of Tervalon's (Lita, 2003, etc.) new novel begins with a recipe because William Gibson, the narrator, is a chef—albeit one who's lost his chic Greenwich Village restaurant (and his wife) to his cocaine addiction. After serving time in prison, he lands a job as a personal chef for Lamont Stiles, a rock 'n' roll god better known as Monster. Getting to know the people maintaining Monster's lifestyle is the only treat here. The aptly named Thug is a giant of a bodyguard, a whacko tough guy who's strictly in it for the money. Rita is Monster’s wife, playing mute because her man can't stand to hear her talk. Bridget is the stereotypical hip assistant who hates her job, fears her boss and caters to his quirks. They live in secret and spend lavishly. But then a young boy is found murdered on the grounds of Monster’s Lair, and the novel begins to unravel. The plot doesn't hold together, and characters drop in and out on a whim. There's potential in the evil weirdness of Monster, the rock star who rules his own universe, but as we learn more about him—a singer who has a penchant for young boys, bleaches his black skin, pays his wife for their child and has a fantastical playground at the Lair—we realize we've been down this road before.

Tervalon’s novel is ill-fated from the beginning as he really can't improve on his real-life source material.

Pub Date: June 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-06-231620-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2014


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