Title: The Meal of Fortune
Author: Philip Brady
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
Summary: From Goodreads: The worlds of arms dealing, espionage and TV cookery collide in this fast moving comedy caper.
Failing celebrity agent Dermot Jack thinks his luck might have turned when a mysterious Russian oligarch hires him to represent his pop star daughter.
Disaffected MI5 officer Anna Preston is just as happy to be handed the chance to resurrect her own career. Little do they know that their paths are about to cross again after seventeen years as they’re thrown together in a desperate attempt to lure a notorious arms dealer into a highly unusual trap.
Hard enough without having to deal with the lecherous celebrity chef trying to save his daytime TV career or the diminutive mafia enforcer who definitely has his own agenda. Then there’s the very impatient loan shark who ‘just wants his money back’.
And Anna’s bosses are hardly playing it straight either. But one thing’s for sure. There’ll be winners and losers when the Meal of Fortune finally stops spinning. Oh, and another thing, Anna and Dermot are absolutely not about to fall in love again. That’s never going to happen, OK
Review: Thank you to Heather at Overview Media for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Meal of Fortune is one of those books where you have to read the blurb twice to make sure you read it right the first time. You generally don’t expect arms dealing, spying, and TV cookery colliding, but this book makes them collide and it is such a fun read.
The Meal of Fortune goes back and forth between two perspectives. The first character is Dermot, a former boy-band star, and now failing celebrity agent with one client, Marcus Diesel, a controversial TV cookery celebrity. When a slightly terrifying Russian, who happens to be obsessed with Marcus Diesel, asks Dermot to make his beautiful daughter a pop star, he figures it’ll be easy and that it will solve all of his financial problems. Little does he know, that deciding to work with the Russian will introduce a ton of new problems in his life. The second character is Anna, an MI5 agent, who happens to be Dermot’s ex, and has been tasked with finding out what this particular group of Russians are up to. Little does Anna know when she agrees to take on the file, that her superiors have other things in mind, and she’s just a pawn in a grander scheme. What follows is a lot of enjoyable shenanigans that make you want to keep reading until the very end.
I’m going to keep this review relatively short. I liked the characters in this book. Dermot and Anna are both flawed, but I liked reading about them and the situations they found themselves in. The cast of side characters were also quite memorable.
This book reminded me of reading a Jonas Jonasson book, which was a lot of fun because I really enjoyed The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. It was full of shenanigans, bizarre situations, and a healthy dose of bad tv and Eurovision, that just made the book a lot of fun to read.
This book was a nice change from what I’ve been reading, and I’m looking forward to reading book two when it comes out.
About the Author: Phil lives in west London with his wife two children and some animals, which also like to call the house home.
He is somewhat obsessed and bemused with the public and media’s fixation with celebrities of every stripe. This forms the backdrop of his books, which also tend to feature spies, gangsters, hit men and TV chefs.
His first novel, The Meal of Fortune, was published in 2017, with a second edition following in 2021. The follow up. Tinker Tailor Soldier Chef will be published in 2022.
Phil’s main rule in life is never to let tomato ketchup touch any food that is green. This may not have any deep meaning, nor may it be the soundest of principles to live by – but it’s better than many he’s come across down the years. Best not to go there though.