Friend of the Devil

Mark Spivak's first novel, Friend of the Devil, is forthcoming from Black Opal Books in Spring 2016.

In 1990 some critics believe that Americaís 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 restaurantís silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Merís 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 restaurantís vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chefís original partner; the chefís 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 felineís 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.