Cooking for Cannibals

Fiction - Thriller - General
371 Pages
Reviewed on 05/22/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Rich Leder has been a working writer for more than three decades. His credits include 19 produced movies—television films for CBS, Lifetime, and Hallmark and feature films for Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Tri-Star Pictures, Longridge Productions, and Left Bank Films—and seven novels for Laugh Riot Press.

He’s been the lead singer in a Detroit rock band, a restaurateur, a Little League coach, an indie film director, a literacy tutor, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a wedding consultant, a PTA board member, a commercial real estate agent, and a visiting artist for the UNCW Film Studies Department, among other things, all of which, it turns out, was grist for the mill.

He resides in North Carolina’s Queen City with his awesome wife, Lulu, and is sustained by visits with their three fabulous children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder is a horror-comedy novel that revolves around an introverted scientist, Carrie Kromer, and a freshly paroled expert meat butcher looking to parlay his skills into a new career as a chef. When Carrie steals the recipe for an age-defying serum, the effects are as miraculous as her late conception and she's able to work her experimental magic on the elderly. Meanwhile, Johnny Fairfax is being extorted by his shady parole officer who pitches an offer that's accepted by Carrie but by a group of young-again nursing home patients? Not so much. When the LAPD comes sniffing around their kitchen, the budding romance almost-couple are able to cook up an answer that might save them from prison, but does little to stop a fixer who is out to take back the miracle capsules Carrie absconded with.

I'm not sure how a story that takes place almost entirely in a nursing home could be cool and funny, but somehow Rich Leder makes it so in Cooking for Cannibals. The entire third-person narrative that moves between Carrie and Johnny brings to life two people who are polar opposites, except for their link to a life of crime. Carrie is new to the felonious world that Johnny has spent most of his adult life in, yet they seem to complement each other in a way that feels authentic. This is no small feat given that Carrie's strait-laced and intelligent upbringing is a wild contrast to Johnny, who is covered neck to toe in tattoos. Leder's writing is clean, tight, and entertaining. It is dripping with wit and just enough sarcasm to keep the story moving with a smile without stepping over the line into trying-too-hard territory. Cooking for Cannibals is the book that would be born if the Santa Clarita Diet and A Cure for Wellness had a child, and I have no doubt it will be well-received by all who are fortunate enough to read it.

Tammy Ruggles

Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder is one of the best horror comedies to come along in years. This irresistible story revolves around a seriously devoted behavioral gerontologist, scientist/researcher named Carrie Kromer, who cares for her mother in a nursing home, but does something against her moral nature: She steals an anti-aging medication still in the experimental stages, and this is where the story takes off. Mix in an ex-con superstar butcher named Johnny who cooks for the nursing home (his dream is to be a top chef), his crooked parole officer, some now-younger nursing home residents who come to Johnny's rescue, and a side effect that makes the younger-than-they-ought-to-be hungry for human flesh, and you have a recipe for a fun-loving, graphic parody on your hands. If that isn't enough plot, you have Carrie and Johnny striking up a romance, investigators trying to figure things out, and pharmaceutical suits out for blood.

Rich Leder has created a comic thriller that keeps you involved with plot and character until the end. Books and movies are saturated with cannibals and science gone amok, so obviously it's time to have a little fun with the genre, and that's exactly what this author does. He gives a solid story about cannibals that pulls you in with the expected tropes but puts a comedic twist on it that's refreshing and fun. He also gets into the characters more deeply than you might think, and there is a sweet side to the story. Today's troubling times could use a little--or a lot--of humor. This one is tailor-made for the big (or small) screen. If you're looking for escapism in the vein of Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies or Shaun of the Dead, then treat yourself to Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder.

Rabia Tanveer

Cooking for Cannibals by Rich Leder is a dark thriller with plenty of comic relief to give you a good time. Carrie Cromer steals an experimental medicine from the lab she works at. The miracle medicine will help people age in reverse. She takes it to the nursing home where her mother is and voila, it works! However, the medicine has side effects that need to be addressed immediately and chef Johnny is the perfect person to cook up the remedy for that. Before they know it, the attraction between Johnny and Carrie becomes too much to ignore. But their chemistry has to take a back seat as they become embroiled in the chaos Carrie created in the first place. Can they find a way to get out of this mess? Will they ever get a chance to grow old and grey together?

Fascinating and original; these are the two words that come to mind when I think about this story. It is surprisingly funny. The dark comedy is just the thing this story needs to become even better and more entertaining than you think. Johnny is cheesy, but a very endearing kind of cheesy. He and Carrie grow together and act like a couple as the story progresses. They develop at their own pace and make readers feel comfortable. The setting, the premise, and the development of the plot are all handled well by Rich Leder. He adds a flair to the narrative that makes it hard to resist. The author gives us a hesitant yet brave character in Carrie and a smart yet cunning character in Johnny. They act as the perfect combo to drive the plot forward and make sure the reader is too invested in the story to put it down. Cooking for Cannibals is brilliant and entertaining from the start until the end.