Delicious: A Novel
Welcome to sunny Hawaii, where the palm trees sway, the tropical breezes blow, and a gangland-style turf war is erupting. Joseph is one of the best chefs in Honolulu, but these days the opakapaka and ono aren’t the only things heating up. When a TV producer flies to the islands to film a pilot, a fight-to-the-finish breaks out over who will cater the shoot. Will it be Joseph and his hotheaded Samoan uncle, who have held a monopoly on the catering business for years? Or Big Jack Lacey, a trash-talking, lap dance-addicted stroke survivor from Las Vegas and his milquetoast son, a young man who wants to be a missionary but doesn’t know the position. As far as Joseph’s family is concerned, this is an invasion on par with Captain Cook, only this time the mainlanders have to be stopped before paradise is lost.
Fast-paced and ribald, this uproarious and delectably dark comic thriller is a side of paradise that definitely hasn’t been endorsed by the tourist bureau.
Author Jim Harrison said,“Delicious is engrossing from page one. This is a deft and wild comic novel drawn from utterly fresh material. I look forward to anything Mark Haskell Smith writes.”
“Rated NC-17 for intermittent comic violence, good-natured swearing, cannibalism, humorous amorality, and some truly perverse sex.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hits exactly the right spot. . . . Haskell Smith smartly keeps the action lively by cutting back and forth between viewpoints while tossing off hilarious one-liners and situations that would be over-the-top if they weren’t so hilarious. But what really makes this novel work is its deft touch with serious themes of displacement and relationship changes. Delicious is not for those with weak stomachs, prudish minds or delicate ears, but that leaves the rest of us to savor the novel’s many twisted charms.” —Sarah Weinman, Baltimore Sun
“Smith writes like Carl Hiaasen’s oversexed cousin. . . . [He] excels at cooking up a supremely weird atmosphere and spicing it up with equally weird sex and violence.” —Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
“At once sexy and repulsive, the novel manages to plant sharp moral and cultural barbs in its gorge-feast of a plot.” —Publishers Weekly
“Perverse black humor and sensuality, totally unexpected situations. Murder and gore abound but are presented so matter-of-factly, with such sly, lazy humor, that they are not repellent. . . . This is spare, stylish writing. Not a wasted word. . . . Believe me, Smith makes sure the reader has an immediate connection to each character. There’s no stopping after the first couple of pages. Smith wittily displays an intuitive sense of human nature; how variable, vulnerable, changeable and dangerous the mind of man (and woman) is. Some of the plot turns are simply breathtaking. But unlike other twisty thrillers, you’re never confused or exasperated. You go right along with Smith, and accept what he decides is the fate of this or that one.” —Liz Smith, New York Post
“Smith is a funny guy—see his earlier work Moist—and this ribald account of a food-catering war in Hawaii is—like wine-drizzled opakapaka and hungry sex—difficult to put down. . . . Sly and humorous.” —Honolulu Star-Bulletin
“[Mark Haskell Smith’s] characters include a not-so-usual suspect lineup of hustlers, sex addicts, supermodels, failed rock stars, wine-buff cops, psychos and flakes. Haskell Smith writes well, especially about sex and food, and the multilayered plots move so fast they feel fresh. Think Elmore Leonard meets Mario Batali.” —Richard Rayner, Los Angeles Times