‘Take-Out and other tales of Culinary Crime’ by Rob Hart

General Information

TITLE: Take-Out and other tales of culinary crime

AUTHOR: Rob Hart

GENRE: Thriller, Crime, Short stories

PUBLISHER: Polis Books

PUBLICATION DATE: 15th January 2019

MY RATING: 3/5

Blurb

“Rob Hart has firmly established himself as one of the best crime writers of his generation with his acclaimed Ash McKenna series, and in TAKE-OUT Hart has collected 16 stories of culinary crime and noir that will have you savoring every deadly bite.

In the title story, a gambler falls into debt with the enigmatic owner of a Chinatown gambling parlor, and must run odd—and sometimes dangerous—deliveries to clear his ledger. 

In “How to Make the Perfect New York Bagel,” the owner of one of New York City’s last old-school bagel shops has to defend his storefront—in the past, from the mob, and in the present, from a bank. 

In “Creampuff,” a bakery with the hottest pastry in town has to hire a bouncer to control the unruly line, with tragic results. 

In these stories and more, some never before published, Rob Hart explores the enticing and dangerous intersection where food and hospitality cross paths with crime and noir. Some stories are funny. Some of are dark. But each one will leaving you wanting another bite.”

Thoughts and Opinions

I love crime stories and I LOVE food. So Rob Hart’s Take-Out…and other tales of culinary crime sounded like a great change of pace from the sci-fi tear that I’ve been on lately.

Now, if you knew nothing about the author, Rob Hart, reading this collection would certainly make one thing abundantly clear; the man eats, sleeps, and breathes New York. The collection meanders throughout the city, from the Lower East Side and the East Village to Gramercy Park and Times Square, and Hart’s intimate knowledge of the various locales allows for the city, rather than cuisine, to become the character that binds this collection of stories together.

As with any collection of short stories, some entries are stronger than others. They all contained interesting and well written characters that in many cases (Take Out, The Gift of the Wise Guy, and Creampuff) left me eager to learn more about them.  However, I found some of the concepts and situations to be less than enthralling. Those stories that I thought were weakest, Lake Paradox, Last Request, and Swipe Left, I found were difficult to engage with and I had little interest in the fate of the characters.

Hart’s stories hit the mark more often than not, but even the misses have their own merits. Ultimately, however, it was those stories that utilised the city of New York that really tickled my taste buds; Take Out taught me that not all food deliveries are a blessing, Confessions of a Taco Truck Driver sheds light on the cutthroat world of NYC food trucks, and Creampuff gave me someone to root for.

Thanks to Polis Books for an Advanced Reader Copy

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