State of the Onion is the first book in the White House chef Mysteries series by Julie Hyzy.
From Publishers Weekly (via amazon)
White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras—you can call her Ollie—faces challenges aplenty: a heated competition for the soon-to-be-vacant top chef's job, the sneering antagonism of the president's newly appointed sensitivity director and, of course, the mysterious intruder she unwittingly stops on the White House lawn with a couple of swift blows from a frying pan—an unarmed man with news of a threat to the president. Though the Secret Service disapproves of her interference, Ollie soon takes on the mantel of amateur sleuth, which could endanger not only her life but her cozy relationship with handsome Secret Service Agent Thomas MacKenzie. The tension mounts as the president negotiates a major peace plan for the Middle East, Ollie stumbles on the path of a nearly invisible enemy known as the Chameleon, and obnoxious TV celebrity chef Laurel Anne Braun shows up to threaten Ollie's career. Hyzy (Deadly Interest) launches her White House Chef Mystery series with a compulsively readable whodunit full of juicy behind–the–Oval Office details, flavorful characters and a satisfying side dish of red herrings—not to mention 20 pages of easy-to-cook recipes fit for the leader of the free world.
Totally outrageous, over-the-top circumstances but that's what made this so much fun to read!
Rating: 3.5/5 (Mystery Scale)
Dedication: For Mike...Thanks
First Sentence: I slid my employee pass into the card reader at the Northwest gate of the White House, and waited for verification--a long, shrill chirp that always made me wince.
2009 Anthony Award for Best Paperback
2009 Barry Award for Best Paperback
Next in the series:
Hail to the Chef