Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shadows of Doubt - Mell Corcoran, Author



Grilled Cheese
(One of Mell's Favorites)
 
Who doesn't love a good grilled cheese sandwich?  Being the food addict that I am, I always love to find a new twist for an old favorite but how can anyone possibly improve on a grilled cheese sandwich?  Granted, mine are more fried than grilled, but still!
 
One day I was surfing channels while trying to work my way through a particularly convoluted scene I was writing and came across a little piece on Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy. I think it was actually one of Giada De Laurentiis' show but  this segment was on the infamous bar where Hemingway was practically a fixture for a time.  He made numerous references to Harry's in his work "Over the River and into the Trees".   Naturally, when the owner began showing Giada how to make Harry's Bar pierini, their pan seared cheese sandwich, I scrambled for pen and paper and headed to the grocery store that afternoon to give it a whirl.  Needless to say this is an ultimate comfort food of mine.  If I may be so bold as to say that it is much like my book, a simple concept that everyone can't help enjoying, but this one is given a surprising and intense complexity that you can't help but fall in love with.
 
The original recipe calls for the addition of 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper as well as a half a pound of smoked, boiled ham but I found I love this sandwich without them.  Try it both ways and you pick your favorite version. 
 
1/2 pound Gruyere or Swiss cheese, coarsely grated, at room temperature.
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard or 1 tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard
salt to taste
Cream if needed to thin the mixture
10 slices good, dense white bread, crusts removed.
Olive oil for frying
 
Combine cheese, egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce and mustard in a food processor until smooth.  If the mixture is too thick to spread smoothly, add a touch of cream to get the right consistency.  Add olive oil to a heavy frying pan until it is very hot.  While the oil is heating up, spread the cheese mixture onto the slices of bread, slap them together and place a few in the hot oil to start the frying!  Don't over crowd the pan, work in batches.  Turn sandwiches once, when they are golden brown and crisp.  Repeat with remaining sandwiches, adding more oil as necessary.  Cut sandwiches in half, serve hot in paper napkins for that Harry's authentic touch.  As they say in Venice, buon appetito!
 
 
Shadows of Doubt – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

 
He circled her slowly, enjoying the cool feel of plastic as it crinkled under his bare feet. The poor girl was exhausted, he could tell by hr soft low whimpers that came fewer and further between now. She had struggled so hard the first several hours after her arrival, it was a wonder she was awake at all. As if by some subconscious need to comfort her, he reached down and twirled one of her long, glossy ginger curls around his finger. She stiffened instantly at his touch and tried to hold her breath, the panic and fear ushering in a second wind. A smile spread wide across his tight, think lips. Who was he kidding, he didn’t have a comforting bone in his body. He existed solely for moments such as these, where the foreplay of pain was danced out like a carefully choreographed tango. Ah, how he loved to tango. He stopped in front of her and closed his eyes, swaying his hips to the music that began to play in his head, lost for a moment. The silk robe danced across his skin like a soft caress as he moved, prompting him to hum his tune aloud. The robe he donned this time was a deep jade color, in honor of his guest’s stage name. He wore it open and loose, unabashedly. Despite a few minor inconveniences, it had all worked out rather delightfully, after all.
 
Tallulah Louella Donovan, known simply as ‘Lou’ is a police homicide detective. She and her partner Vinny took what started out as a normal call where someone had reported finding the body of a young woman. The body was found on the railroad tracks and both legs had been severed. But there also appeared to be a cut on the victim’s leg that didn’t come from a train running over her. Plus, there was no blood in the area nor in the body. This lead them to believe that she had been killed somewhere else and placed on the tracks. And to make it worse, this wasn’t the 1st body to be found with cuts on the body and no blood found at the scene. But what became the true mystery was that each case was taken away from Lou and Vinny and turned over to the LAPD leaving them to do their own investigation on the side.
 
Maximiliam Augustus Julian, known as Max, left his home and business in Washington, DC and traveled to Los Angeles to straighten out the problems of corruption that apparently were taking over his territory out west. Part of that corruption lead him to discovering that it was one of his own people that was cutting and killing young girls in LA. In fact, it was the same person that he had been tracking for some time for committing the same crime in other locations. One way or the other, he vowed to get him this time. But when he meets Lou, some goes off inside and she becomes more important than anyone else.

 
Shadows of Doubt kept me guessing until about half way through the book as to who Max really was. There were times that I thought I knew but wasn’t 100% sure. The suspense of learning just who he and his team represented, the chase of the killer, the connections between families and the devotion of love made this book a real page turner. I hope that Author Mell Corcoran will award us with a continuation, especially since the ending left plenty of room for just about anything to happen. This was an enjoyable book to read.

 
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