Cooking For Cannibals is my first experience with a Rich Leder novel and I was not disappointed. To restrict this book to a genre is impossible. It’s dark throughout, but contains social satire, horror, thriller, mystery, black humor and even romance. It’s all bizarrely mixed, but quite effective in combining key ingredients of all these genres into a fun and entertaining read.
The two main characters, Carrie and Johnny, are two very different people thrust together when Carrie is connected to an experimental drug that actually reverses the aging process. She takes it from the lab to give to her mother in a nursing home. And like all medications that have unfortunate side effects like headaches, diarrhea and rashes, this one has sort of a major one as well…cannibalism. Yes, people who take the drug now have the urge to eat…people. This is so much worse than just bloating and gas!
So as the plot goes: we’re in a nursing home and cannibalism is spreading amongst its residents. Enter Johnny, a wannabe chef, who is the ‘lucky’ ex-con who gets the job in that nursing home to feed the elderly. Things get even weirder. Hit men from opposing pharmaceutical companies descend to retrieve the drug, romance sparks between Carrie and Johnny, and Johnny’s ex parole officer becomes the main course.
There are some sick scenes in this book, as Leder doesn’t shy away from embracing black, over-the-top humor, which I appreciated. My only complaint was that I felt the 448 pages in this book could have been condensed a bit for a tighter read. Other than that, it’s original and entertaining, and fiercely unapologetic in its dark delivery.
If you’re looking for an original black comedy that works on multiple levels, this grotesquely bizarre book is a must-read!
Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder
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Cooking for Cannibals is a dark comic thriller with a heaping helping of romance. If you like fast-paced plots, unconventional characters, and humor that crosses the line, then you’ll have a feast with Rich Leder’s wild ride.
DescriptionFountain of youth? More like murderous medication! Carrie Kromer pushes the boundaries of science, not her social life. The brilliant behavioral gerontologist’s idea of a good time is hanging out with her beloved lab rats and taking care of her elderly mother and the other eccentric old folks at the nursing home. So no one is more surprised than Carrie when she steals the lab’s top-secret, experimental medicine for aging in reverse. Two-time ex-con Johnny Fairfax dreams of culinary greatness. But when his corrupt parole officer tries to drag him from the nursing home kitchen, the suddenly young-again residents spring to his defense and murder the guy—and then request Johnny cook them an evidence-devouring dinner to satisfy their insatiable side-effect appetite. As their unexpected mutual attraction gets hot, Carrie and Johnny find themselves caught up with the authorities who arrive to investigate the killing. But even more dangerous than the man-eating not-so-senior citizens could be the arrival of death-dealing pharmaceutical hitmen. Can Carrie and Johnny find true love in all this bloody madness? Cooking for Cannibals is a dark comic thriller with a heaping helping of romance. If you like fast-paced plots, unconventional characters, and humor that crosses the line, then you’ll have a feast with Rich Leder’s wild ride. Buy Cooking for Cannibals and dig in to a side-splitting serving today!