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The Accidental Joe

The Top-Secret Life of a Celebrity Chef

Published by Regalo Press
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
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About The Book

One of the Washington Posts “5 mystery novels to savor this summer”

A maverick celebrity chef reluctantly agrees to let the CIA use his hugely popular international food, culture, and travel TV series as cover for a dangerous espionage mission.

When the CIA approaches celebrity chef Sebastian Pike about using his award-winning food and culture travel show as cover for espionage, the outspoken bad-boy host says no. When they point out how roaming the globe interviewing foodies, heads of state, rock stars, journalists-in-exile, poets, subversives, supermodels—even the pope—gives him perfect cover, Pike smiles and says, “F@#! no.”

They push. Promising it’s only one mission. Vowing he won’t be in danger. Calling him the MVB: Most Valuable Bystander. They’d embed their top agent in his crew to do the spy work.

It’s still no. But when they hit him with the patriotism card, he weakens. And when romantic sparks crackle between him and the female agent, Pike’s all in, kicking off a romantic spy thriller in which the globetrotting celebrity chef uses his TV series to help sneak Putin’s accountant out of Russia before he’s exposed as a mole for US intelligence.

The high-stakes mission quickly puts Pike in harm’s way. So much for MVB. There’s danger, there’s double dealing, there’s torture, there’s shooting with real bullets. Plus, a minefield of complications from the hot romance that grows between Pike and his gutsy CIA handler-producer, Cammie Nova.

From Paris to Provence, this chef is no bystander. Beyond their attraction, Pike and Nova become an operational team, not only to survive the perils they face but to pull off an operation fraught with one twist after another, capped by a shocking, emotional climax.

About The Author

Tom Straw is an Emmy and Writers Guild of America–nominated writer-producer, New York Times bestselling author, and former Mystery Writers of America board member.

Writing as Richard Castle, Tom originated the hit Nikki Heat series, writing its first seven novels, all New York Times bestsellers, including Heat Rises, which reached number one. Later, he published Buzz Killer under his own name, because Stephen King was already taken.

Tom dropped out of UCLA to become a DJ, and soon after, a TV weathercaster. Subsequently, he began a television writing career on comedies including Night Court, for which he earned two WGA “Best Comedy Writer” nominations and a Primetime Emmy nomination. Tom served as head writer and executive producer of Dave’s World, Grace Under Fire, Whoopi, and Nurse Jackie. He also wrote for CBS’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Seems like Tom Straw can’t keep a job.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Regalo Press (May 14, 2024)
  • Length: 296 pages
  • ISBN13: 9798888452950

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Raves and Reviews

“Tom Straw’s Sebastian Pike is a wonderful addition to the annals of amateur sleuths of the crime/spy genre. Wisecracking and wounded, his clear, innocent voice carries a deep understanding of the world we know and, more importantly, the world that we suspect. The Accidental joe is a Hitchcockian spy story: surrounded by more spies than he knows, Pike is the ultimate amateur, a chef-provocateur for a cable TV reality show balancing a tower of croquembouche in the South of France amidst a dizzyingly fast-paced mission filled with assassins and betrayals.”

Walter Mosley, author of Every Man a King and the forthcoming Easy Rawlins, Farewell, Amethystine

“Tom Straw has set the bar for culinary, espionage travel thrillers. Actually, I think he invented the bar. And it’s a bar I’d meet him at anytime.”

Alton Brown, culinary personality but also totally a spy

“A masterful beginning to a series I hope runs forever. The writing is superb, the action thrilling, the story both exciting and gut-wrenching. Bourdain, le Carré, Herron, and Greene, make room for Straw.”

Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepless City

“I couldn't put it down—and I sure didn't want to! Great action, clever tradecraft, behind-the-scenes TV production, and food porn, all offered up by one of the most appealing narrators I've come across in years. I hope Tom Straw is intending this to be a series because I’m already on line for the next one.”

SJ Rozan, bestselling author of The Mayors of New York

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