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These are easy, comfy, coffee cup tales, for when you don't want tooo much drama or suspense. Or too much probability either. The bad guys in these books probably wouldn't really be taken down so easily, nor is it very likely that the chef would be so involved in White House life. You can usually identify one plot hole in each book. And then she has this teen-aged angst with her beau.
But these are also some of the more palatable cozy mysteries around, and good for a light listen. The narration is quite good, but I wish Ms. Stevens would ditch the smoker's gravel voice--it's not in fashion anymore.
Julie Hyzy presents her third White House kitchen series in Eggsecutive Orders, another book dealing with conspiracy at the highest levels. Olivia "Ollie" Paras gets a call one morning that the Secret Service will take her to the White House, but when she exits her apartment building, she is surrounded by hordes of press members asking if Ollie killed someone. As Ollie gets to the White House, she learns that a top NSA agent named Carl Minkus died the night before after dinner there. Thus, the kitchen is under suspicion. Getting interrogated by first the Secret Service and then the homicide police, Olivia finally is let go and told that the kitchen staff will not be allowed back into the White House until further notice. Her mother and grandmother arrive that day from Chicago for their first visit to Ollie in D.C., but this is not the way Ollie intended to spend their visit.
Ollie soon finds that she is the subject of public suspicion for the murder, especially getting skewered by a newspaper columnist in his "Liss Is More" column. Determined to get her name and those of her kitchen staff cleared, Ollie starts to ask questions. But then her Secret Service boyfriend, Tom, tells her that he has been assigned to make sure that Ollie doesn't meddle in the investigation, as she has done twice before. If he fails at this job, he will certainly lose his position on the Presidential Protection Detail. So now Ollie has to think about her every action for fear that it will become perceived as meddling and cost Tom his position. Since the pair technically are not supposed to be dating, Tom's boss has been using his relationship against him, creating further stress for Ollie.
The book continues with fascinating adventures as Ollie deals with the fall-out over the death. It takes a while for the medical examiner to figure out the cause of death, which makes it harder for the kitchen staff to get cleared. The pressure gets strong as Ollie worries about the Easter egg roll that takes place in less than a week. If they can't get into the kitchen, will they be able to get the thousands of eggs hard boiled and dyed in time? And what is up with Cap, the man who has suddenly taken up with Ollie's mother, keeping her out past midnight on their first date? Something about him doesn't feel right to Ollie.
I really enjoyed listening to this book, which contained many creative twists and details. I liked the previous two books a little better because they had more details about life at the White House than this one did. Also, there were periods when there was less detection. But anything by Julie Hyzy is incredibly strong and better writing than most cozy mystery writers. She has a gift for putting together disparate details that come together like a jigsaw puzzle. Further, she is an excellent writer in the technical details of writing and not just the plot details.
I liked the narration of Eileen Stevens in this book. She has a maturity to her voice without sounding old, which is ideal for playing the role of Ollie, the narrator of the book. She also has created some good voices for the characters, making listening to this book a very fun experience.
I really had a good time listening to Eggsecutive Orders. I have come to love Hyzy's series set at Marshfield Manor, and the White House kitchen series is almost as riveting. I appreciate the way the book has plenty of sophistication to the plot and characters while also being very clean. There is no bad language or sex, and the violence is not graphic either. I was having a rough time with my migraine while listening to this book, and it made a big difference in helping me to keep my mind off my pain. I give this book five stars.