Friday, June 18, 2021

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The North Face of the Heart" by Dolores Redondo, Served with a Deconstructed Shrimp Po' Boy with Remoulade Dressing

Friday's are great days to talk about books and so I am very happy to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for The North Face of the Heart by Dolores Redondo. Accompanying my book review is a recipe for a Deconstructed Shrimp Po' Boy with Remoulade Dressing, inspired by the book's New Orleans setting. 

Publisher's Blurb:

Amaia Salazar, a young detective from the north of Spain, has joined a group of trainees at the FBI Academy in Virginia. Haunted by her past and having already tracked down a predator on her own, Amaia is no typical rookie. And this is no ordinary student lecture at Quantico. FBI agent Aloisius Dupree is already well acquainted with Amaia’s skills, her intuition, and her ability to understand evil. He now needs her help in hunting an elusive serial killer dubbed “the Composer,” and in solving another case that’s been following him his whole life.

From New Jersey to Oklahoma to Texas, the Composer’s victims are entire families annihilated in the chaos of natural disasters, their bodies posed with chilling purpose amid the ruins. Dupree and Amaia follow his trail to New Orleans. The clock is ticking. It’s the eve of the worst hurricane in the city’s history. But a troubling call from Amaia’s aunt back home awakens in Amaia the ghosts from her childhood and sends her down a path as dark as that of the coming storm.

Hardcover: 496 Pages
Publisher: Amazon Crossing (June 1, 2021)

My Review:

True crime and thrillers and crime fiction are among my favorite genres. I love a good dark thriller and when you add a serial killer and FBI profilers, it hits all my sweet spots. Still, I was worried when The North Face of the Heart arrived because of the size of the book--at almost 500 pages is a big commitment for me with an insane work schedule and many other books for review, book clubs and buddy reads competing for my attention. Also translated books (this one from Spanish) can sometimes get bogged down in the translation. But this one got under my skin pretty quickly, and I found myself compelled to read it and find out what was going to happen next. 

Amaia Salazar is twenty-five and already an Assistant Inspector in Paloma, Spain who has gained some notoriety for solving a cold case when she is sent to the Quantico with a group of European police officers for training. Her profiling abilities and confidence get her noticed by the senior agent working on a case where a serial killer is targeting and murdering families during storms and natural disasters and has been getting away with it for almost two decades. Soon she is placed on the profiling team and headed for New Orleans and one of the biggest disasters in U.S. history, Hurricane Katrina. The book alternates between 2005 and flashbacks to Amaia's childhood where she suffered some serious trauma that still impacts her as an adult. Although primarily told through Amaia's eyes, we get the POV of other characters, past and present. The pacing was good--you could feel the tension build along with the gale-force winds of Katrina and that made it hard to put the book down. Amaia is a great character and the most fully flushed out in the book--it was easy to root for her. This book is apparently a prequel of sorts to the author's bestselling Spanish Baztán trilogy. (I was happy to find that Netflix made this into a trio of films that I am going to start streaming this weekend). I liked the darkness of the story, the crushing and horrific reality of the people who suffered through Hurricane Katrina (difficult to read but so compelling) and the bits of Spanish and Creole folklore that is woven into it all. It's not a perfect book, the dialogue gets a bit clunky, possibly due to the translation, and some of the characters seem to fall into crime fiction tropes, but overall, I really enjoyed it, it was well-worth my time, and I plan to seek out the author's other books.  


Author Notes: Dolores Redondo studied law and the culinary arts before writing The Baztán Trilogy, a successful crime series set in the Basque Pyrenees that has sold over 1.5 million copies in Spanish, has been translated into more than thirty-five languages, and was adapted into a popular film series. Twice nominated for the CWA International Dagger Award and a finalist for the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle, Redondo was the recipient of the 2016 Premio Planeta—one of Spain’s most distinguished literary awards—for her stand-alone thriller All This I Will Give to You, which has also been optioned for feature film and television development and will be translated into eighteen languages.

Connect with Delores on her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.


Food Inspiration:

Serial killers and hurricanes don't leave a lot of time for eating but there was food to be found in The north Face of the Heart. Mentions included: chocolate bars and bottled water, oysters Bienville and crawfish, beer, outstanding fig ice cream from a cafe, scrambled eggs and coffee,toast, sandwiches (lots of sandwiches), candy and granola bars, ham and shrimp, jambalaya, cookies and crackers.

I was going to go with a shrimp po' boy-style sandwich for my bookish dish for the sandwiches the characters ate as fuel while working the case and as a nod to New Orleans. Then I decided I was more in the mood for a salad--given the humid weather this week. So, I. decided to take some of the elements of a shrimp po' boy--the spicy shrimp, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and a homemade remoulade and deconstruct them into a salad. Then some leftover red beans and rice found their way into the bowl and a leftover roll got halved and dipped into the shrimps spices and toasted. It's pretty freeform and open to putting in more veggies and what you like and have on hand so I am just giving you the remoulade recipe and how I prepped the shrimp and bread and assembled the salad below. 

Deconstructed Shrimp Po' Boy with Remoulade Dressing
By Deb, Kahakain Kitchen
(Makes 2 Large Salad Bowls)
Remoulade Dressing
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 1 1/2 Cups)
3/4 cup mayonnaise of choice
3/4 cup sour cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp mustard (Creole mustard if possible or grainy mustard)
2 Tbsp capers + about 1 tsp juice
2 Tbsp green onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 Tbsp dried tarragon
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning or Cajun/Creole seasoning mix of choice
1 Tbsp lemon juice, or more to thin out as needed
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Place all ingredients into a pint jar and place lid on tightly. Shake jar until dressing is well-blended. And additional liquid as needed for thinning (lemon juice, water or milk) to desired consistency. I like it thick and creamy but still pour-able. Place jar in fridge for 1 to 2 hours before using.
Spicy Creole Shrimp:

1lb (16-20 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp butter, melted 
2 Tbsp Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning or Cajun/Creole seasoning mix of choice

Melt butter and pour into a large Ziploc bag. Add seasoning mix and shrimp, seal bag securely and shake/move shrimp around until completely coated with spices.

In a large skillet, pour in the shrimp and cook over medium heat for a few minutes on both sides until pink and cooked through. Gently lift out shrimp and set aside, keeping warm until ready to add to salad. If making bread/toast, don't clean the pan and see recipe below.
To Make Creole Toast

Take bread or (split) roll of choice and place slices face-down in the pan, moving them around to ensure they are coated with the butter/spice mixture. If desired, flip bread over and continue moving slices to coat the other side.

Toast bread in pan over medium heat until crispy and golden brown. Flip and repeat on other side if desired. Set aside to serve with salad bowl.

To Assemble Deconstructed Shrimp Po' Boy:
 I used:
1 small head iceberg lettuce, coarsely shredded
1  pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/3 cup chopped green onions
leftover Cajun red beans and rice if desired
Spicy Creole Shrimp
Remoulade Dressing 
Creole Toast to serve
Divide ingredients between two large plates or bowls. (Note: I like two add a layer of the dressing on top of my lettuce, then drizzle more on top after I have placed the shrimp.) Enjoy!

Notes/Results:  This salad made me happy--so much good flavor and wonderful textures from the crisp iceberg lettuce to the sweet juicy shrimp and tomatoes and creamy dressing. I'd be happy to eat the remoulade off of a stick--the capers and tarragon, along with the cajun/creole spices make it zippy and devious. I will happily make it again. 

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event  being hosted by Marg at The Adventures of An Intrepid Reader. It's a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. Here's a link to this week's post. 

And of course a delicious salad based on a sandwich has to get linked up here at Kahakai Kitchen for this week's Souper Sundays post, my weekly feature where anyone can share their soup, salad or sandwich recipes. Here's the link to this weeks post

Note: A review copy of The North Face of the Heart was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. 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 this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here. 



  1. Remoulade sauce is a great choice for shellfish -- it goes with crabcakes too. I've had not-bad versions from a bottle, but the recipe is a good idea.

    best... mae at

  2. This looks so good! It does bring back memories of eating poboys in New Orleans.

  3. Oh yum! I like the deconstructed idea. I'm going to look for Netflix movies ...

  4. Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  5. Oh. Wow. I totally forgot to read, review and post about this book. :( Your review makes me want to dive in. (Sorry, Sara....)

  6. It's been a long time since I had a Po Boy and I am loving your deconstructed version.


Mahalo for visiting and for leaving a comment. I love reading them and they mean a lot!

All advertising, spam, inappropriate (or just plain rude) comments will be promptly deleted. I do appreciate your right to free speech and to your opinion but I'm not into mean, rude, or mean snarky (non-mean snarky is just fine!) ;-)