Everybody knows that James Patterson doesn’t write his own books. That’s what Leonard Cohen was singing about. But Killer Chef, a book shot written “with” Jeffrey J. Keyes, is fun enough that we don’t have to worry about it. The adventures of a man who’s a homicide detective by day and food truck chef by night (because policing is famously a 9 to 5 gig), there’s a faint ridiculous to Killer Chef that it never quite shakes, but it doesn’t have to — and maybe it doesn’t want to.
We’re introduced to Caleb Rooney’s Killer Chef food truck with the knowledge that it is emblazoned with a shrimp and crossbones. This is such an arresting image that you wish there was an illustration accompanying it. Killer Chef includes gems like “Patsy doesn’t have any buttermilk for the traditional southern biscuits he’d hoped to bake, so Killer Chef does some killer improvising” and “Caleb tightens the straps of his Kevlar vest. He rechecks the clip of his trusty Glock 22. He pops one final jalapeño into his mouth.”
At its tiny length, Killer Chef can only offer the broadest strokes, but that’s to its benefit. There are unfortunate optics in its conclusion, the final paragraph both makes a stretch in its estimation of the Rooney’s emotions and has an uncomfortable semi-innuendo to it, but Killer Chef is a silly New Orleans romp that is just wild enough to make you hunger for the Caleb Rooney’s full length debut, The Chef.