I'm in ecstasy. I got a starred review from Publishers Weekly (PW). I'm going to post the review below because it's as succinct a synopsis of my book as you'll ever come across. Plus it says really nice things about me!
All positive reviews are savored, naturally, but this book was hell to write. My characters stopped speaking to me, and I got sick (like WAY sick). Life was incredibly difficult. In fact, I would say that the three years after the publication of Beat Until Stiff were the worst three years of my life. I got halfway through writing this book and just stopped. I knew where the book was going to go, the ending (I always know the ending), but writing is more than just putting down words. It's giving your imagination a room to play in, and mine had checked out. I think this is especially difficult if you write in first-person POV. When your own "I" is taking a beating, your written "I" takes a back seat. Anyway, the point is that this star is so much more than just a star to me. It's like someone saying, "It's okay, kiddo. It's okay. You haven't lost it. You just mislaid it. And then found it. So let's celebrate. Piece of chocolate cake?" It's like that.
So, the PW review for Roux Morgue. Publication date? April 2008
"The growing rift between the “dinosaurs” and the “young brats” on the teaching staff at San Francisco’s École d’Epicure fuels the highly amusing action in Johnson’s superior second cozy to feature funky pastry chef Mary Ryan (after 2002’s Beat Until Stiff). Mary is unpleasantly surprised when Inspector O’Connor of SFPD homicide shows up as a student claiming he’s on stress leave. Although the cop is her ex-husband’s married best friend, Ryan and the sexy O’Connor have obvious chemistry. Tension among École’s chefs escalates with public insults, a petition to fire one of the classically trained dinosaurs and a water fight in the school’s prestigious restaurant. When one chef dies after an allergic shellfish reaction with no shellfish on the menu, and another is strangled at home, Ryan suspects something more sinister than differences of culinary theory. In one of many farcical scenes, Ryan enlists the aid of a hostile friend-of-a-friend to hack into École’s computer system to dig for answers. This enjoyable romp should gain Johnson new fans."