A sinister cook, a cursed cake, and a casual dinner between neighbours that goes murderously wrong.
This collection of culinary mysteries ascends the jagged culinary heights you’ve hungered to explore but could never find on a map: a family business that depends on a cursed recipe, a remote mountain village with a taste for revenge, a particularly peckish ghost. As the characters swoon over every unforgettable mouthful and sometimes bite off more than they can chew, you’ll find yourself asking: what would I be willing to pay for the meal of a lifetime?
Fourteen short stories will chill, thrill and entertain. If feasting on culinary noir leaves you hungry, extend your pleasure by preparing the dishes featured in the stories. Most recipes are vegetarian. All recipes provided are cyanide-free.
‘This captivating, addictive book consists of a collection of fourteen stories whose plots cover a wide range of relatable life experiences, issues, emotions and interactions. There was a story that would suit every reader who enjoys a good thriller, some of which had a dash of the supernatural and the cast of realistic characters, a number of whom were not very likeable, were vivid and well rounded. Many of the stories had unexpected cliff hangers, open endings and left you wanting more.’
‘A truly unique book full of twisted, dark and entertaining tales that has shown me yet ANOTHER genre to add to all the rest I love.’
‘Špiljak has a knack for the short story – not everyone has – and for creating sharp bursts of darkness. There is often a misconception about how easy it is to write short stories. Imagine having to fit an entire plot, characters and tentative worldbuilding into the smallest space possible, and still be able to engage the reader. Not only does the author do that, but also successfully. I sincerely hope she decides to engage readers with a greater and longer noirish encounter or perhaps just a venture into the world of crime, because it’s clearly her forte.’
Karmen Špiljak is a wonderful, welcome voice to culinary noir with ADD CYANIDE TO TASTE, a collection of delightful, delectable, twisty short stories and a cross-genre foodie delight.
All built around food, the themes travel the gamut from love to revenge to curses to a very special kind of bar to call home. There are even recipes in the back (although the author cautions not to add cyanide).
The stories feature strong, interesting characters, imaginative situations that range from funny to terrifying to everything in between, excellent plot twists, beautiful writing to please the senses, and great integration of the culinary aspects.
‘Usually, there’s at least one story that stands out. Of course, in this collection, each one stands out in its own way. I’m really impressed with this author’s writing!’
‘For fans of the Twilight Zone, Tales From the Dark Side and Night Gallery, this book will delight.’
‘From the dark to the funny, there's something to cover most of the emotions in here. A fun pick-up-and put-down (but harder to put down), thought provoking and clever read.’
‘What I found especially enjoyable is the lightness of touch of her writing style, and the flow of narration with which she concocts her mouth-watering noir dishes. There are cooked to perfection thrillers, ghost stories and mysteries. And even a slightly futuristic take on the pact with the Devil that feeds on people’s desire to pay with their lives for the most sensational feast. ’
The 14 well-crafted culinary noir stories in Spiljak’s debut collection efficiently establish character and mood. While many are traditional narratives, the star of this feast is “The Collectors,” which recounts its ominous plot through a series of email exchanges. The opening banter between two friends turns darker with the reveal that a member of their academic team researching Neolithic mass graves has gone missing in the same Austrian location that a journalist disappeared from years earlier, both possibly as the result of food tampering by one or more persons seeking to preserve some deadly secrets. Another high point is “Dark Velvet,” which follows its effective opening tease (“All families have their secrets; ours has a curse. We rarely bring it up but it continues to exist in the shadows”) with a twisted story involving a cake recipe rumored to require human blood as an ingredient. Crime fiction readers who are also foodies will appreciate the recipe section following the stories, prefaced with the tongue-in-cheek warning, “please don’t add cyanide to any of the dishes.” Fans of Rob Hart’s Take-Out and Other Tales of Culinary Crime will feel sated.
In this short story collection you will find a selection of dark tales all with a culinary connection. I thought this was a brilliant thread to have running through the stories. It worked really well as each story managed to come across differently even with their common theme. Most of all though I enjoyed the dark edge at this collections heart along with that all important sting in the tail that I love! I often say it but I do like the various ways you can read a short story collection. Whether you want to take your time and read a story at a time. Or maybe you are like me and like to read a few in one go. The choice really is yours!
Add Cyanide to Taste definitely held a set of strong stories. Even though they were short they still had that ability to draw me in completely. As each story brings with it different emotions for the reader. I found myself smiling, shaking my head and even experiencing a little chill up my spine. After I finished this book I tried to figure out if I had a favourite story. In the end I couldn’t decide on just one because they all stood out for me but in different ways. So the fact that I enjoyed the collection as a whole was a definite plus for me.
Another addition to this book were some wonderful recipes that were mentioned in the stories. Perfect for if you took a liking to any of the dishes featured throughout. I guess all that’s left for me to say is that I was thoroughly entertained by all of the stories. They held twists, secrets and a touch of darkness. So why not indulge in this collection of twisted culinary tales yourself!
'A business lunch making deadly deals, a mysterious pub only to be found by lost souls, two friends reunite playing a deadly game of spy and journalist and a lethal cake destroys the cursed family bakery.
A little book I stumbled upon just in time for Halloween filled with the most bizarre mini-mysteries and all the creepiness you could possibly imagine.'
‘It’s very well written and structured without being complicated or overanalysing the food in each story. In fact, the book leaves that for the last few pages, where you’ll find the recipes of the dishes mentioned.’
‘What I enjoyed the most about Add Cyanide to Taste is the variety of themes, ranging from classic ghost stories to murder and quite unique concepts.’
‘The most important strength of Add Cyanide to Taste is the clear enthusiasm the book exudes in mixing food and related concepts with good storytelling. This, in turn, doesn’t settle for entertainment through popular themes. Its juggling act includes stories with smart, modern, and even painful depths.’
‘A delectably concocted collection, which showcases the author’s fun in writing it. Every story is different from the rest, and I had a hard time selecting my favorite. Each one just gets better than its predecessor.’
I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! (well ebook for me). This is not just a feast for all culinary lovers, it is a feast for all crime and murder mystery lovers. It has the feel of an Agatha Christie cozy murder magic and mayhem with a slightly more fiendish twist. There are so many amazing stories both connected and not, that its hard to know which one to choose, they are all like exquisite chocolates in a box and you are trying to decide which one to gobble up, whether to go with the death by cake story or the exclusive restaurant that bills you in life rather than money…. honestly there are many more wonderful examples for your delectation.
I loved how all these little stories also have some (not all) recipes which you could make to eat alongside with the story, this is such a perfect book for both crime lovers and chefs who love a quirky little recipe to tempt out. The characters just jump out from the page, some you are hoping and praying that nothing too bad happens and others you are slightly revelling in their downfall and demise, all stories are just wonderfully wicked and delectable.I highly recommend this brilliant, clever and unique collection of grisly, dark and devious tales spiced with recipes for you to salivate over. This is a perfect read for the spooky, autumnal and chilling season, as well as for those dark and rainy evenings.Ratings: 5 🌟 with a large ☕️ and a large 🍰 and maybe some 🍪 or a few ( 😉 ) seriously you need these treats 😂 it will make you peckish
'Add Cyanide to Taste' wins the 2022 IndieReader Discovery Awards Winner for best short stories.