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Prospect of Revenge – Recipe


A failed chef and frustrated author

A deceased wife with a voice from the grave

A surprise inheritance

A missing lawyer

A mysterious embassy official

A pinch of various spicy characters and the

intense desire to get even

Method: Mix all ingredients together in a fast-paced thriller, set in London and Seoul with a twist around every corner. Wait for the temperature to rise as things boil over into a desperate climax.

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I heard the whole conversation, every word of it. Of course, I did. How could I not? I was sitting on the other side of that ridiculous IKEA glass dining room table in what she likes to call the boardroom. Pretentious old cow! It’s a windowless box with hardly enough space to pull back your bum-numbing ergonomic chair without hitting the wall or crashing into that ridiculous painting of the founding family in which they all look like circus freaks.

If that kid decided to keep her mouth shut the whole time on purpose, they should promote her to managing director. When dear Penelope started sounding off about me, nine times out of ten, any self-serving, new employee would feel obliged to blurt out that there was somebody else within earshot. Not this kid. Maybe, she didn’t like having her name linked dismissively to a cure for diarrhoea and was getting her own back. Alternatively, maybe she was just plain stupid.

As I listened to Penelope trashing me, I experienced a whole series of conflicting emotions.

I learnt as a young man not to react spontaneously to the first stirrings of anger. If my training as a chef taught me one thing many years ago, it’s to hold my temper in check. I’ve worked in kitchens where language and emotional ferocity have a sub-text that could petrify a mafia chief. Once you go beyond all those fresh-faced, air-brushed creatures you see poncing around on your TV screen with a sparkling, unused, copper frying pan in their hand and the ‘this is one I put in the oven earlier’ cooking technique, you end up in the personality swamp of a commercial kitchen. Though they may look like normal people, there’s a breed of professional chefs that, in the heat of the shift, assumes the missing link between Neanderthal man and the bloke down the road. They possess instincts so basic, a lethal cocktail of raw anger, short temper, superiority, inferiority, contempt, indifference, arrogance and an undercurrent of unrestrained violence. Yet, the ability to contain the frustration to no more than foul language or to launching china across their station is a well-engrained outlet that avoids someone picking up a filleting knife and inflicting wide-scale bloodshed. A few can’t resist. The vast majority do and I always could.

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