Saturday, August 2, 2008
TANTALIZE by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Looking for vampires, werepersons who shape-shift into not just wolves, but also armadillos, cats, and vultures, then grab yourself a copy of TANTALIZE by Cynthia Leitich Smith. She has created a vampire world with more twists and turns than a treacherous mountain road.
Meet Quincie Morris. After the death of her parents, Quincie finds herself under the guardianship of her Uncle Davidson who is not much older than she is. It has fallen upon the two of them to run the family business - an Italian restaurant called Sanguini's. In an effort to revitalize the restaurant, Uncle D. has the idea that they should transform into a theme establishment with a focus of the dark side - vampires.
As the story begins, Quincie is struggling with her lifelong attraction to Kieren. Things have been difficult since Kieren is half-wereperson and his parents have been pressuring him to leave the Austin area and seek acceptance in a wolf pack of his own. Quincie, without much of a family of her own, doesn't understand why a family would go to such great lengths to push a loved member out into the world so permanently.
There is also the pressure of remodeling and restaffing the restaurant. As the deadline for reopening approaches, Quincie and her uncle are thrown into a sad and desperate situation when their chef and dear family friend is found murdered in the restaurant kitchen. Extensive police questioning makes everyone nervous but doesn't produce much in the way of evidence. Now in addition to mourning the loss of their friend, they are faced with the frustrating search for a new chef. And not just any chef, but one with the knowledge and expertise to produce a unique menu for their vampire-inspired theme.
Smith not only "tantalizes" the characters in her tale, but also the readers. Just when you think you have an idea about who might be a murder suspect, she pulls a fast one and points suspicion in a different direction. Readers who become hooked on TANTALIZE will be happy to learn that a second book is underway - ETERNAL. It can't show up in bookstores soon enough.