Take-Out and Other Tales of Culinary Crime

Rob Hart. Polis, $16 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-947993-42-6
Hart’s first story collection offers 16 winning food-themed tales, three previously unpublished. Whether his leads are operating a taco truck (“Confessions of a Taco Truck Owner”) or running a family business that has lost customers to trendier competitors (“How to Make the Perfect New York Bagel”), Hart (the Ash McKenna series) brings their worlds to life through effective use of character and mood. Highlights include the grim “Butcher’s Block,” which presents a sadistic variant on Food Network cooking competition shows, and the satirical “Foodies,” which takes an enjoyably vicious dig at food snobs, for whom dining at the latest hot place even trumps their basic humanity. In “Creampuff,” someone has invented the new cronut, the Creamelé, a baked French pastry with frozen ice cream inside. This latest “it” food induces people to line up at 4 a.m. to buy one, but the focus is on the bakery’s bouncer, who ends up with his throat slit. The varied settings and story lines effectively showcase Hart’s versatility. Agent: Josh Getzler, HSG Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/19/2018
Release date: 01/01/2019
Genre: Fiction
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