LitStack Review – Idle Ingredients by Matt Wallace

by Sharon Browning

Idle Ingredients
A Sin du Jour Affair- Book 4
Matt Wallace
Release Date:  February 7, 2017
ISBN 978-0-7653-9003-5

Idle Ingredients is the fourth book in the Sin du Jour series, which follows the exploits of a premiere paranormal catering company based in Long Island.  These quick, witty novellas by Matt Wallace have indeed been fast-paced, as well as sacrilegious, lewd and uproariously funny. So what’s an author to do when each of his previous three books as been more outrageous than the one preceding it?

Why, scale back, of course!  And that’s just what Matt Wallace does… well, if you can call creating appetizers for elementals (yes, those earth, wind, water and fire elementals), playing video games with a homicidal Cupid, catering a supernatural Presidential debate and male infatuation run amuck scaling back. (At least this time no one tries to eat each other…literally.)

Which doesn’t mean that Idle Ingredients is any less entertaining than the previous three books! In fact, I enjoyed the break from absolute mayhem; barely controlled mayhem worked just fine.

This novella centers on, for the most part, Lena Tarr, line chef at Sin du Jour, who had gone AOL at the end of Pride’s Spell, the third book in the series. (Even knowing that you’re working for a catering company that services supernaturals doesn’t necessarily equip you with being able to process the requests, demands and, well, appetites, of their clientele. Even if you are ex-active military and totally badass.)

Lena is persuaded to return to Sin du Jour after a month’s absence, only to find that change is afoot – and some of it is definitely not to her liking. Some she can live with, like her roommate and best friend Darren in the throes of his first real relationship. Other changes feel off, but are understandable.

No, the real bee in Lena’s bonnet is glamorous Luciana Monrovio, the recently installed corporate liaison – an enforcer in Stuart Weitzman pumps. There apparently at the behest of Mr. Allensworth, Sin du Jour’s owner, Luciana quickly dictates a complete reorganization of Sin du Jour, from menu offerings to departmental contractions and even internal staffing requirements. And to Lena’s disgust, regardless of the ridiculousness of the decree, the men of Sin du Jour accept Luciana’s changes without a whisper of dissent – they are too busy gazing at Luciana, or daydreaming about her, or just simply going through the motions of their professions; skilled, but without a spark, without zest, without life.

Whatever. Lena was never one to tell others how to live their own lives. But when something happens that doesn’t merely step on her toes, but stomps right down on her foot, Lena fights back. And it’s effin’ glorious.

Of course that’s not all there is. There are those supernaturals and their own Presidential election – and all the bizarre silliness of that fantastical storyline dovetailing wtih Lena’s story. Now that we’re in Book 4, and know the situation and characters better than we did in previous volumes, author Matt Wallace is able to spend a bit more time with internal musing than he’s allowed in the past. But make no mistake – Idle Ingredients is no navel gazing, suddenly pretentious treatise on the state of the supernatural in the modern world, or anything idiotic like that. It’s still the crazy, otherworldly, freaky, ribald story that we’ve come to know and love. There are still the just-another-day bizarre situations. The same insults and knock downs between both enemies and friends. There are still ludicrous foods crafted with the epitome of imagination and skill. And there are still explosions. Oh, yes… indeed there are still explosions.

And face it – you wouldn’t have it any other way.

~ Sharon Browning

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