Killer á la Carte throws up a few surprises. It is definitely leaning more toward Thriller than Crime (although plenty of crimes are committed). It follows the story of (in)famous restaurant critic James Livingston Gall. Gall is feared by chefs for his lyrical damning of their food; his mix of verbosity and cruelty has seen him become the benchmark of food critiquing. Beneath his impeccable and foppish behaviour, James Livingston Gall has a dark side. He is consumed by his perceived failure as a chef and some very complex mother issues. His dark side is matched when Carla Catalano enters his life with a proposition.
This book is not a whodunit, it is a who-is-he. It is a character study of James Livingston Gall; his motivations, his past and his actions, to fully understand how he became the man that he is. The book keeps you guessing by having Gall as an unreliable narrator, your reality in reading the book is dependent on his perception of it. It is not unlike Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho in that respect.
The language of the book is equally as effusive as the language of Gall, this is a book that requires careful reading to fully appreciate its lyrical qualities. And it is not one to be read on an empty stomach. The finest food is lovingly described, highlighting Gerry Galvin’s past as a chef. It is the preparation passages that really get the taste buds going; evoking the smells and tastes of a bustling kitchen.