Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Book Tour Stops Here: "The Fixer" by T. E. Woods with "Cheat's" Chocolate-Hazelnut Mousse

Nothing gets me more revved up (and keeps me awake way-too-late reading when I should be sleeping) like a great thriller. "The Fixer" by T.E. Woods, a recent review for TLC Book Tours, is that kind of book--a smart and suspenseful novel about a skilled female hired killer who specializes in "fixing" select problems when it looks like justice won't prevail, and a veteran police detective working with a dedicated psychologist to investigate some deaths that are beginning to look suspicious. 

Publisher's Blurb:

"Never a doubt. Never a mistake. Always for justice. Never for revenge. She’s the person you hire when you need something fixed—permanently. With a strict set of criteria, she evaluates every request and chooses only a few. No more than one job per country, per year. She will only step in if it’s clear that justice will not be served any other way. Her jobs are completed with skill and precision, and never result in inquiry or police investigation. The Fixer is invisible—and quite deadly. . .

In the office of a clinical psychologist in Olympia, Washington, a beautiful young woman is in terrible emotional pain. She puts up walls, tells lies, and seems to speak in riddles, but the doctor is determined to help her heal, despite the fact that she claims to have hurt many people. As their sessions escalate, the psychologist feels compelled to reach out to the police . . . but it might be too late.

In Seattle, a detective gets a call from his son. A dedicated journalist, he wants his father’s expertise as he looks into a suspicious death. Together they follow the trail of leads toward a stone-cold hired killer—only to find that death has been closer than either could have imagined."

E-Book: 312 pages
Publisher: Alibi (February 4, 2014)
Sold by: Random House LLC

There is a lot going on in this book with many characters and converging plot lines to pay attention to. The story moves at a fast past and there are definite twists and turns--some I expected/predicted, and a few that I was surprised by, and all of them kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. Even with the instances where I figured something out before it unfolded in the book, I had to keep reading to check and see if I was right. All three of the main characters--Linda Corriger, Mort Grant and The Fixer were well-developed, each damaged in some way and suffering from tragic and/or violent events in their pasts. Author Woods has given them many layers, some are uncovered in this book and there are more yet to be peeled back as this is the first novel in a series. Woods has made The Fixer herself a particularly interesting and sympathetic character--her brand of vigilante justice making her morally ambiguous. She is a cold assassin for sure but, it is hard not to root for her as she is ridding the world of some very evil people. The Fixer is crafty and skilled at what she does, reminding me of a cross between a much more violent Olivia Pope of Scandal and a much less bloody Dexter. Is she using her talents for good or for evil? The other characters and the reader have to decide.  This novel is a solid start to a new series. Lovers of mystery-thrillers, strong female characters, police dramas and books with a flawed or anti-hero will enjoy "The Fixer." I am looking forward to the second book, "The Red Hot Fix" which is scheduled for early June.  


Author Notes: T. E. Woods is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Madison, Wisconsin. Her scientific writings are well represented in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts. Her literary works earned her first place for Fiction at the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. Dr. Woods enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking, and hanging around the house while her two dogs help her make sense of the world. Her habit of relaxing by conjuring up any manner of diabolical murder methods and plots often finds her friends urging her to take up knitting.


As always, there must be food representing the book in my reviews. While food is present in "The Fixer"--it's not a focus. There's plenty of coffee and alcohol, there's also pumpkin pie, sandwiches and a couple somewhat plain meals that psychologist Linda eats. ("Baked potato, broccoli, breast of chicken. A dinner guaranteed not to add an ounce to her five-foot-seven, 130-pound, thirty-six-year-old body.")  I ended up choosing to make chocolate mousse. Early in the book, The Fixer shares a last meal with one of her targets, enjoying lobster and salad on the dining room terrace, finishing a bottle of Pinot Grigio with a chocolate mousse and ending the dinner with Irish Coffee. Of course then she ties him to the bed and strangles him with a silk scarf, but hey, at least dinner was good... ;-) 

So, chocolate mousse has no real significance to the story other than being mentioned but I have been craving it lately and had tagged this Donna Hay easy Cheat's Chocolate-Hazelnut Mousse recipe to make a while back. Made with three ingredients--cream, hazelnut liqueur and Nutella, this is simple, creamy, and the kind of comforting dessert or snack that you need for a good suspenseful mystery novel.


Cheat's Chocolate-Hazelnut Mousse 
From "Fast, Fresh, Simple" by Donna Hay
(Serves 2)
 
300ml (about 10 oz) double cream
1 generous tbsp hazelnut liqueur
85g (1/4 cup) chocolate hazelnut spread


Place the cream in a bowl and whisk until just starting to thicken.

Stir the liqueur through the chocolate hazelnut spread. Add to the cream and whisk gently until combined and thick. 

Spoon the mousse mixture into glasses and serve.


Notes/Results: Rich and smooth with just the right amount of sweetness and hazelnut flavor for me--it's there but not overpowering. This is extremely easy to make for the lazy person--no breaking eggs or melting chocolate. I even used my hand mixer on low instead of whisking. ;-) You could dress this up if you wanted by piping it into cups and topping with some toasted hazelnuts but I figured I would go all-in with the cheating and just spoon it into coffee cups and sprinkle some mini chocolate chips on top. The recipe says it serves 2 but I think you could serve 3, or even 4 people with it, as although it is light in texture, it is still rich. I got 3 heaped (about 6 oz) coffee cups out of it and still had a spoonful or two to enjoy--licking scraping the bowl. It doesn't say to chill the mousse before serving it but I think the flavor was better after it set for a couple of hours in the fridge. I would recommend some fridge time and then letting it sit out for 10 minutes or so before serving so the texture is optimally silky. I would make it again.


This chocolate mousse is being linked to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is "Potluck Week"--a chance to make any recipe from Donna Hay or any one of our previous IHCC chefs. You can see what everyone made by following the links on the post.


Note: A review copy of "The Fixer" was provided to me by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are my own. 

You can see the stops for the rest of the Book Tour and what other readers thought here.

 

14 comments:

  1. I don't believe one ever needs an excuse to eat chocolate mousse....JUST DO IT! This looks so rich and perfect.

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  2. Deb! Thanks for this amazing review! First, I'm thrilled you liked the book...and I'm over the moon with the tie-in to the chocolate mousse! I'm going to make it tomorrow and I'm going to smile as I think of you and your review. Thanks again. It means the world to me. T.E.Woods

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  3. Deb! Thanks for this amazing review! First, I'm thrilled you liked the
    book...and I'm over the moon with the tie-in to the chocolate mousse!
    I'm going to make it tomorrow and I'm going to smile as I think of you
    and your review. Thanks again. It means the world
    to me. T.E.Woods

    ReplyDelete
  4. Deb! Thanks for this amazing review! First, I'm thrilled you liked the
    book...and I'm over the moon with the tie-in to the chocolate mousse!
    I'm going to make it tomorrow and I'm going to smile as I think of you
    and your review. Thanks again. It means the world
    to me. T.E.Woods

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks T.E.--I hope you enjoy the mousse. ;-) It was a great book and I am looking forward to the next one.

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  6. Yes Joanne, No excuse is EVER needed for eating chocolate mousse! ;-)

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  7. Thanks for being a part of the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

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  8. Deb, I've actually read a couple books that you recommended and really liked them (like "The Baker's Daughter"). This one sounds like something I'd like. As for the mousse, it sounds so simple and I have no doubt it's creamy and delicious. Nice post.

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  9. Pam Armstrong GreerFebruary 21, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    The books sounds good and the dessert is exactly the reason I love Donna Hay - she is a master at easy! Also, I have a salad this week on today's post! And next week I have a soup and a salad planned!

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  10. Sounds decadent and good! (book and mousse!)

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  11. Hi Deb,
    The book sounds interesting!
    Fabulous looking chocolate mousse! I like it that it has only three ingredients and easy to make, another winner from Donna!

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  12. I don't know what looks/sounds better - the mousse or the book. I guess I will just have to check out both.

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  13. I love a good thriller too. This was an extra chocolatey week for you, Deb! The chocolate festival and this recipe...sounds like a wonderful week! This is my kind of recipe because it is so easy and quick. It's almost like instant satisfaction. Piping always looks pretty but I'm far too lazy to do it and I would've spooned it just as you did ;)

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  14. Couscous & ConsciousnessMarch 4, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    Positively drooling! Actually, I've had that one bookmarked for a while now, but now you've got me thinking I need to make a trip to the book store tomorrow for some late night reading, which simply must be accompanied by chocolate mousse. Yum! Book sounds like a good read too.

    ReplyDelete

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