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Monday, June 6, 2016

Friend of the Devil


Friend of the Devil
by Mark Spivak

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GENRE:  Thriller (Culinary)

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BLURB:

In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.



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EXCERPT:

Several years after the opening of Chateau de la Mer, the triumvirate of Avenzano, Walsh and Ross appeared to be one big happy family, although there were rumors of strains in the relationship. One night, at the height of the Festival of Champagne, there was an incident. Ross, a notorious womanizer, was sipping Cristal with a redhead at the restaurant’s corner table. His wife slipped through the front door of the mansion, unannounced. Walking slowly through the dining room, past the Medieval memorabilia and dramatic cast-iron griffins, she strolled up to Ross’s table, took a revolver from her evening bag, and calmly shot him through the heart.

The ensuing chaos did more to establish Joseph Soderini di Avenzano in the American imagination than his designer pasta, his Bedouin-stuffed poussin, his recipes transposed from Etruscan or Old Genoese, or his library of 10,000 cookbooks. This was more than a good meal, after all. This was sex and death in Palm Beach. Even more intriguing was the Chef’s refusal to comment on Ross after his death, except for informal and effusive eulogies in his famous baritone.

“Watch that Cristal,” David’s friend Bill Grimaldi told him before he left Manhattan to do an assigned story on the 25th anniversary of Chateau de la Mer. “It’s a killer.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.

Website: http://www.markspivakbooks.com


https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4659831.Mark_Spivak?from_search=true&search_version=service

https://www.facebook.com/mark.spivak.3

Amazon author page URL      


Barnes and Noble Author URL


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16 comments:

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Nikolina said...

Happy to be a part of this tour, thank you for sharing!

Mark Spivak said...

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today. I look forward to meeting your readers and answering any questions they might have.

Mai T. said...

Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard (typewriter or computer)?

Mark Spivak said...

I work on a laptop. I get up early (around 4:30-5 a.m.) and find that's the best time to focus---I still do a lot of journalism, so the email and other interruptions begin after 9 a.m. I basically spend most of the day working, except for breaks, until I feel I've accomplished something.

Peggy Hyndman said...

Do you write every day? Do you have a word goal for each day you write?

Mark Spivak said...

Every day of my life, in some form. I don't have specific word goals for each day, no. But since I was trained as a journalist, I'm very sensitive to word count, and this has helped me craft fictional stories to maintain pacing and suspense (I always suspected journalism would be good for something).

James Robert said...

Monday so soon? Hope you have a great week and thank you for the chance to win

Mark Spivak said...

Yes, you know what they say about time:

Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.

Victoria Alexander said...

I loved the excerpt, thanks for sharing!

Becky Richardson said...

Really enjoyed the excerpt.

MomJane said...

Fascinating and complex excerpt. I really enjoyed it.

Mark Spivak said...

Thanks to everyone for their kind words. I think you'll enjoy reading the book, and look forward to your feedback.

Rita said...

Sounds like a great read.

Dario Z said...

Sounds like a great read, hope I'll have a chance to read it soon!

Ally Swanson said...

Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!