Friend of the Devil

Mark Spivak’s first novel, Friend of the Devil, was released by Black Opal Books on May 27, 2016.

In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

Friend of The Devil is a riveting story: part mystery and part thriller, powered by a muscular narrative that reveals the nature of the characters and their relationships with each other.


Early praise for Friend of the Devil:

“The writing is strong and the character development superb.”
Taylor Jones, reviewer

“With excellent, well-developed three-dimensional characters, an intriguing mystery, and dark humor, Spivak has crafted a culinary thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat, turning pages until the end.”
Regan Murphy, reviewer

What they’re saying on Amazon:

“A little Kitchen Confidential, a little Real Housewives of Palm Beach, and a little Faust.”

“Sex, drugs, and an upscale version of terducken called Bedouin stuffed poussin …this fast-paced existential drama has got something for everyone.”

“Unlike anything I have read in the past.”

“Caution: Descriptions of culinary masterpieces may cause hunger pangs.”

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