As you flip through the pages of James Patterson’s latest thriller, you’ll notice something you likely never expected to see from the best-selling author: recipes. In the aptly titled novel, The Chef, Patterson focuses on a character from New Orleans who balances his day job as a cop with his side-gig running a food truck. The story was originally released as one of the author’s shorter BookShots and then again through an interactive storytelling experience on Facebook Messenger. Of course, as an author who regularly shifts between genres and mediums, it’s not all that surprising that Patterson has changed things up yet again.
Still, a murder mystery that includes culinary instructions might have you asking, “Why?” Patterson spoke with WomansWorld.com and explained that it simply sounded like a fun idea. In fact, the original plan didn’t add recipes at the end, but his team eventually realized it would be nice for readers to be able to whip up what the characters describe in the book. Set in the days leading up to the New Orleans' legendary Mardi Gras celebration, it begins with Detective Caleb Rooney under investigation by his own police department and finding refuge in his beloved food truck, The Killer Chef. The text often details how Rooney crafts each dish ordered up by hungry customers. He also has a habit of eating slices of raw jalapeño when he needs to perk up. “Caleb would put hot sauce on his ice cream,” Patterson joked.
The author worked with editor Denise Roy to make sure the recipes were authentic to New Orleans' culture. “My father loves to eat,” Roy told us, “and some of his favorite food memories are from New Orleans, where he and my mother worked and lived as a young married couple.” As she grew up, Roy’s dad taught her all about the cuisine, including varieties of po’boy and “how they would throw peanut shells on the floor at Ruby Red’s.” Each of the recipes listed in the book are from Roy’s own experiments with recreating her dad’s favorite Cajun dishes.
As for Patterson, his love for the Big Easy comes from spending plenty of time there for several projects over the years, most recently while filming the TV series Zoo. “It’s unlike any other town in the United States,” he told us, “the culture — Cajun, Creole, French, Southern — it’s a real mix. There’s so much history.” When it comes to the recipes, however, Patterson claimed, “I’m more of an eater, my wife is the cook.”
You can order a copy of the book for yourself ($18.30, Amazon), but there’s no need to wait for delivery to check out a some of the dishes. Keep scrolling to see four exclusive recipes from James Patterson’s latest thriller, The Chef!
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