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The Accidental Alchemist (Paperback)
I have to admit that going into Gigi Pandian's new novel, The Accidental Alchemist, I was a bit skeptical. A reformed alchemist, a French gargoyle that cooks, a murder, AND recipes? I thought that, perhaps, she was a bit ambitious.
I was wrong. She's great!
Zoe Faust has decided to settle down in Portland, OR, at least for a while. She can't spend the rest of her life there since she doesn't age, the result of having inadvertently discovered the Elixir of Life. But Portland feels like it could be home for a while, so she's purchased a run-down house with a great basement, and she's ready to dig in.
From the beginning, though, things don't go smoothly. While unpacking the crates she's had shipped from her storage in France, she discovers that she's picked up a hitchhiker, a French gargoyle named Dorian Robert-Houdin, who needs Zoe's help deciphering an ancient text, the one used to animate him. You see, there's an unexpected side effect to the spell, and Dorian needs a true alchemist like Zoe to counteract it. The problem is that Zoe stopped practicing alchemy centuries ago, so she's not sure she can help.
But when a teenage boy breaks into her house and sees Dorian, followed by the murder of the contractor Zoe hired to renovate the place - on her front porch, no less, well, Zoe finds that she's going to have to rely on 300 years of experience at avoiding being caught if she's going to get everyone through this mess safely. And she's really out of practice!
The Accidental Alchemist is complex, and that's delightful. Zoe Faust, for all her years, is a bit naive and has moments of innocence that I found refreshing. She's experienced love and loss, but her time spent alone has left her unjaded, and that's not something you see in most characters that are ageless. She's a nice person.
And the humor of her inadvertent sidekick, Dorian, is a nice touch. Dorian's a fine chef and he's appalled to discover that Zoe is vegan. It certainly cramps his cooking style, and not all of his experiments go well, but he perseveres. He's not just a two-dimensional character. He has a personality and a temper all his own, and his idea of justice is a bit old world.
The pace never lets down, the people are multilayered, and the plot is complicated enough so that it all blends into what promises to be the beginning of a fun new series. And while I'm decidedly omnivorous, I have to admit that the recipes Gigi Pandian has created are mouthwatering to read, and I suspect they'll be just as yummy to try!
So yes, I was wrong, and this is a fabulous beginning to a series I'm looking forward to following!— Fran
From USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian comes a modern tale of ancient intrigue
Unpacking her belongings in her new hometown of Portland, Oregon, herbalist and reformed alchemist Zoe Faust can’t help but notice she’s picked up a stowaway. Dorian Robert-Houdin is a living, breathing three-and-half-foot gargoyle—not to mention a master of French cuisine—and he needs Zoe’s expertise to decipher a centuries-old text. Zoe, who’s trying to put her old life behind her, isn’t so sure she wants to reopen her alchemical past . . . until the dead man on her porch leaves her no choice.Includes recipes Praise:
A 2016 Lefty Award winner for Best LCC Regional Mystery
“This reviewer is eagerly anticipating more from this series, and a return of a cast more fun than an episode of Portlandia.”—RT BOOK REVIEWS 1/2
“Pandian . . . launches a supernatural cozy series that hits high marks for a modern twist on an ancient practice. Amusing supporting characters and historical details solidify this engaging mystery.”—LIBRARY JOURNAL
" A] lighthearted supernatural mystery . . . Pandian sets this series apart from other fluffy paranormal mysteries with Zoe's cute nonhuman sidekick and some mouthwatering vegan recipes."—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A whimsical and charming supernatural mystery."—MYSTERY SCENE
“What really makes this book stand out, however, is the originality . . . Pandian has managed to create an eccentric and charming cast of characters readers are going to want to spend more time with.”—RT BOOK REVIEWS ONLINE
"The Accidental Alchemist is a recipe for a great read. Gigi Pandian’s pen never disappoints."—JULIET BLACKWELL, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY SERIES
“Mysterious, captivating, and infused with the rich history of the Northwest . . . fantastic.”—PORTLAND BOOK REVIEW
"A magical, whimsical cozy that will delight readers who enjoy Juliet Blackwell and Heather Weber mysteries " —AVERY AAMES, AKA DARYL WOOD GERBER, AUTHOR OF THE CHEESE SHOP MYSTERIES
"Zoe and Dorian are my new favorite amateur-sleuth duo " —VICTORIA LAURIE, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR"Readers won't want to put this book down."—Vegetarian Journal
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian (El Cerrito, CA) is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. After spending her childhood being dragged around the world, she now writes the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi's first novel was named a Best of 2012 Debut Novel by Suspense Magazine, and her fiction has been awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and Lefty Awards.