Friend of the Devil
Author: Mark Spivak
Friend of the Devil reverberates in a tightrope act between a world class chef, and a news journalist thrust into a labyrinthine plot of good versus evil – and everything in between.
Mississippi, Clarksdale 1947. Backwoods town. Deep in the country. Shanty cabin with Black family. Enter a young white boy named Joseph, knocks on the cabin door and asks the Black man who answers for a favor. The Black man suggests his son Willy as a guide and Willy and Joseph walk into the forest together, an unlikely match. What Joseph and Willy seek is the promise of worldly success in the form of a mysterious and elusive pact, perhaps with the devil – perhaps not.
West Palm Beach, Florida 1990. Approaching the 25th anniversary of Chateau de la Mer restaurant, the best known restaurant in the U.S., offering an elegant Michelin star quality cuisine. David Fox, a renowned journalist, has just arrived in Palm Beach to interview America’s most famous chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, at his chateau-restaurant, Chateau de la Mer.
As he enters the airport, he is meet by the restaurant’s alluring and brazen hostess, Alessandra, also Chef Joseph’s mistress-of-sorts. David Fox immediately falls for the gorgeous and dynamic Alessandra, not knowing that she has an alliance with the old chef.
As a superstar, Chef Joseph allows Fox into a labyrinthine world of haute cuisine, high society and drugs where all is not as it seems.
As Spivak pivots from Joseph Soderini di Avenzano’s past to the present where Alessandra plots murder, he realizes the tinges of the Mob and the Feds that surround the heritage both past and present.
When Chef Joseph request Fox to write his autobiography, Fox becomes the intrigue – the fox – inside the triangle of Joseph, Alessandra and himself, along with a host of characters that include Joseph’s murdered partner, Joseph’s two voracious ex-wives, his insane daughter, assorted mob members, as well as Willy, Joseph’s lifelong guide and sidekick whom he met in a cabin in Mississippi.
Full of clandestine recipes, evil secrets, satanic illusions, lust, greed, innocence and the absolutely appropriate wine for each meal, Friend of the Devil offers a miasma of myth, a tsunami of drama, and a plot that dangles like an intrepid shark snapping with bloody teeth.
As Spivak tingles and taunts, with a novel that is superbly written with tongue in cheek characters we love to hate, this is one meal of a novel you won’t want to miss. Deliciously tart, the characters convince and entrance, then surprise at every turn.
Spivak has created a West Palm Beach comparable to Hiassen’s Miami, in a novel that is full of spooks, menus for the rich and famous, and characters that eat, drink and kill with fervor!
Will there be a sequel? Only the sommelier knows for sure!
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A”
We received a product to facilitate our review. All opinions are our own
- You can pick up this book on Amazon.com here: Friend of the Devil or at a bookseller near you.