Neil Flambe - Series
Neil Flambe is a world-famous chef. He's also fourteen, with a major attitude and a keen sense of smell. His busy working parents are more inclined to eat macaroni and cheese or hot dogs than any of Neil's delicacies, and Neil isn't so great at making friends, either. However, he does occasionally help out the local police with tricky cases, thanks to his amazing nose. This particular case gets personal, since someone is killing chefs all over town.
This is a clever story that may not have a wide audience, but it is likely to be a favorite with some readers. It's hard to like Neil, which is oddly what makes you like Neil. While the detailed references to food reveal Neil's obsession (and the author's expertise) with his career, the vocabulary is challenging and some readers might not have much prior knowledge about this topic. There just aren't a plethora of middle schoolers running around making references to pate crepes and imported whitefish. That said, the book may inspire readers to explore cooking, and the mystery can still appeal to those who are more McNugget by nature.
The historical legends related to Marco Polo complicate the story a bit further, and Sylvester creates so many enemies for Neil that he keeps you guessing. Neil shares more than a few traits with Artemis Fowl, but where Colfer's character has magic and more action, Neil's story has more history and realism.
" Neil Flambe quote"
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