In Fine Dining by Gale Deitch, Trudie and her detective boyfriend, Daniel, spend an evening out dining at Maybelline’s, the restaurant of Trudie’s close friend May. A couple times during the night, they hear a disturbance in the kitchen, which Trudie learns is related to the fact that a gang has been demanding payment for protection from all the local establishments. May has been standing up to them, so far successfully, but she learns that her brother, Micah, who has recently joined her from their native New Orleans, has been paying the gang on the sly. This leads to strife between the siblings, bringing all in the kitchen to a standstill, but which May pretty expertly deals with. However, as the couple is waiting for their dinner cheque to arrive, loud screams ring from outside, sending Daniel and Trudie running to the back alley, where they see May sitting on the ground next to the body of her dead brother, screaming while waving a large knife around in the air. Daniel is forced to arrest the woman for fratricide.
Certain that May is innocent of the crime, Trudie hires an attorney and even agrees to move in with May as part of the bond for May’s bail. She takes over as manager of the restaurant, and soon bad things start happening, including a couple attempts on Trudie’s life. Daniel and his father, a retired detective visiting from Philadelphia, try their best to serve as bodyguards, but things still keep happening. The book concludes in a powerful way.
I really enjoyed this book. The story was appealing and the characters drawn well. The only issue that kept getting under my skin was how much Trudie and Daniel complain that they miss each other because Trudie has been living with May for the span of only one week. The couple still gets to see each other every day, and they find plenty of time in bed together. I’m glad that the book closes the door on the sex scenes, but they still spend way too much time in bed. So not only does the amount of time complaining about missing each other gets tiresome, but it seems really unnecessary.
Kristin James narrates the book in a strong performance. She makes Trudie come to life and delights in her role. The voices fit the characters, and I especially loved the sound of May, whom you just picture as a smooth jazz singer from New Orleans. The voices really add to the quality of the listening experience.
I really enjoyed the experience of getting to listen to Fine Dining. I think I liked the first book, A Fine Fix, a little better than this one, but it still kept me listening eagerly. Plus, the book contains recipes of each food item mentioned in the book! I give this book four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, but that in no way has affected the quality of my review.
To purchase this book for yourself, click here on Amazon.