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A Taste of the Nightlife
A Vampire Chef Mystery, No 1
Sarah Zettel

July 2011/ ISBN 978-0-451-23407-0

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

This debut novel in the Vampire Chef Mystery series features Charlotte Caine and her brother, Chet, who run the restaurant named Nightlife, which caters to the special food tastes of the undead. These include vampires, warlocks, witches and werewolves. When a well-known restaurant critic comes to Nightlife, Charlotte is excited about the possibilities a good review could open up to the business.

Unfortunately a drunken werewolf shows up and causes such a ruckus that not only is the evening interrupted, but the restaurant nearly catches fire, causing extinguishing foam to rain down on the guests and ruining any chance of a great review. Things get worse when the same drunk is later found dead, sports fang marks in his neck, and then Chet becomes a person of interest.

I liked this book very much because while the author might seem to be jumping on the band-wagon of the vampire craze, the plot has so much more to it that the paranormal aspects seem almost, well, normal. It has the elements typical of a cozy mystery, but with the added touch of urban fantasy. The book is at times funny, has some romantic aspects, some good-guys and some bad-guys, and the protagonist, Charlotte, is a very likable gal.

In short, if you like stories about restaurants for the food element, if you like books with a hint of romance and a sense of humor and you are steeped in the current paranormal series fad, you’ll love this book. If you like only one of the above themes, you’ll still like the book. One of my personal favorite things is the novel’s dedication: “To Julia Child, Alice Waters, and Bela Lugosi.” I found it a highly amusing start to a fast-paced and interesting read.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Taste of Nightlife, No 1
Let Them Eat Stake, No 2

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2011
© 2011