CLASSIFIED ADS: RESTAURANTS SANGUINI'S: A VERY RARE RESTAURANT IS HIRING A CHEF DE CUISINE. DINNERS ONLY.
APPLY IN PERSON BETWEEN 2:00 AND 4:00 PM.
Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything? TANTALIZE marks Cynthia Leitich Smith’s delicious debut as a preeminent author of dark fantasy.
Following her parents' death, Quincie Morris was left in her Uncle Davidson's care, and the fate of the family's Italian restaurant was left in hers. Now 17, Quincie, who narrates, and her uncle have renamed the place Sanguini's. They've remodeled it with a "vampire theme," which they believe will sell in their Texas college town since "vampires are a fringe population, and Austin is a tolerant place." A month before the grand re-opening, however, the longtime chef is mauled to death in the kitchen, and the murder suspect is a werewolf. Quincie finds this problematic, since her lifelong best friend and love interest, Kieren, is a "hybrid werewolf" who traces his lupine heritage to the wolves that roamed Ireland with St. Patrick. A new chef shows up who may be talented but is also spooky, with red contact lenses, pale hair and a menu featuring sweetbreads, blood sausage and baby squirrels in honey cream sauce. Best known for her Native American stories, Smith uses advertisements, newspaper clippings and menu pages to liven the pace, and creates palpable tension in the novel's second half. Quincie's story hews closer to the campy Buffy the Vampire Slayerepisodes (e.g., " 'You ate the police?!' I exclaimed") than to the elegant romanticism of Stephenie Meyer's books, but horror fans will be hooked by Kieren's quiet, hirsute hunkiness, and Texans by the premise that nearly everybody in their capitol is a shapeshifter. Ages 14-up. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information