Not the stuff you drink (I wish); the book.
I was so looking forward to starting Poppy Z. Brite's noirish series about two New Orleans boys who open a restaurant. It came highly recommended by an impeccable source, and, come on, it's about a restaurant and New Orleans. In my devious desire, I bought both Liquor and its sequel, Prime, for S for Hanukkah, which of course was not totally selfish, but pretty much so.
I wish this could be a rave. I wish I could say I loved the first book and went on to devour the series.
Alas, not so much.
This time, though, I'm quite certain it's me. Love the characters, Rickey and G-Man, who grew up together in the Ninth Ward, worked restaurants all their lives, drink and smoke with the best of them, and are lovers to boot. Love the over-the-top Emeril character. Love New Orleans, not that I have much knowledge of or relation to the place.
But here's the thing: Restaurants? I live them. And they're not such a thrill any more. Getting behind the scenes? I'm behind the scenes every day. I know what 86 means. I know what "in the weeds" means. I know managers and line cooks and prep lists. In fact, a lot of the time I just wish restaurants would go away. So reading about one? Not so much fun.
And then there's the mystery part. I thought this was a mystery going in, but it's not so much. There are devious deeds, but they're pretty up front, and I pretty much knew where things were going, even though the denouement was still surprising. Still, here's the other thing: I don't really like mysteries, even when they're not quite mysteries. I read Agatha Christies as a kid, and I liked Jane Langton's mysteries back in the day, and Robert Parker's Spenser (maybe you can connect the dots on those two), but that was a long time ago. More recently, I've enjoyed a handful of historical novel cum mysteries, and I read most of Ayelet Waldman's Mommy-Track mysteries, but with both of those it was the non-mystery parts that compelled me. Indeed, I found Ayelet's plots boring and predictable--I couldn't figure them out, because I didn't care enough, but I wasn't surprised. What I liked was Juliet and her life.
I enjoyed reading Liquor but, engaged neither by the mystery aspects nor the restaurant background, I did not fall in love with it as I expected. And I'm kind of sad about that.