The Flavorist

Fiction - Adventure
280 Pages
Reviewed on 05/26/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I am a husband, a father, and a writer living in New Mexico. Thrilling people with my storytelling is what I enjoy most and I write because I have incredible stories to tell. I take no responsibility for the things the characters say and do (ha ha ha). I develop a character and that person becomes a free spirit exploring the world I create for them.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Flavorist is a work of unique mystery and adventure fiction, written for adults by author Kevin Urban. Many disparate plot strands find their way together in this spiraling narrative of intrigue, which begins with a chocolate convention taking place in Belgium. When Adolf Van De Groot unveils the fascinating ‘Chocolate Thunder’, most are taken aback with amazement. But one person quite literally smells a fake, and this begins a chain of events involving poison, CIA operatives, secrets, lies and mortal peril. The chase is on, sending a varied cast of characters off to exotic climes as they try to escape their pursuers and bring the wrongdoers to justice once and for all.

Author Kevin Urban writes with a true flair for both character and dialogue that keeps this novel alive, egging readers on through some of the most bizarre scenarios and plot twists that I’ve seen in a long while. The quirky quality of the story is well handled, making the surreal ride just plausible enough to enjoy it without too many questions. One fantastic inclusion is Maxi, a very humorous cast member but also a unique representation of trans characters in fiction, one who doesn’t feel like a stock feature. The hot pursuit and action sequences are descriptive yet speedy, and each character feels totally committed to their actions, with convincing back-stories and personality traits to boot. Overall, The Flavorist is a deeply developed weird mystery with plenty of laughs, tension, and action that will keep you intrigued to the last page.

Lesley Jones

In The Flavorist by Kevin Urban, as wealthy chocolatier heir Adolf Van De Groot unveils his new invention 'Chocolate Thunder' at a chocolate conference in Brussels, one attendee does not share in everyone else's amazement. Allen Hale, a respected flavorist for Jupiter Candies, detects the chocolate is imitation and his announcement is not at all well received by Adolf. However, one onlooker, undercover CIA officer Richard Harden, is intrigued by Allen's prowess and believes that Allen could help him in his investigations into Adolf's possible criminal activities. Richard has been investigating Adolf's involvement in a possible biological weapons attack and convinces Allen to assist him. Allen is double-crossed by Adolf, injected with cyanide, and assumed dead by Adolf and his brutal henchman Victor. Allen escapes and becomes the key suspect in a murder carried out by Victor. Now, Allen must escape the Belgian police and locate the Van De Groot chocolate plantation in the Democratic Republic of Congo which holds the evidence needed to prove his innocence. Maxi is unaware that Richard is also determined to bring Adolf to justice but when he arrives in the Congo, he receives a welcome that he will never forget from a transgender biologist and two of Adolf's henchmen.

The Flavorist by Kevin Urban is definitely an action-packed story that begins with the introduction of the most unique characters I have ever encountered, and the weird setting of a chocolatier conference. The main character, Allen, is superb with an invisible childhood friend who had a phobia of staircases and insults. I also thought Allen's keen sense of smell really added humorous scenes throughout the story. Max, a transgender biologist, is sassy, heroic and comical. The double act of Victor and Adolf was brutal at times, but also included humorous exchanges. The plot was cleverly unraveled layer by layer and the never-ending obstacles put in Richard and Allen's path kept the whole story moving consistently forward. The author has a great talent for creating tension and setting a scene with his descriptive narrative. The plot is full of surprising revelations that continue until the climactic finish. Overall, a sensational story and highly recommended.

Grant Leishman

In The Flavorist by Kevin Urban, Allen Hale is a man in a billion. His incredible olfactory abilities and his talent of discerning every chemical and compound that goes into the making of a food product has made him renowned and envied worldwide. He is a flavorist, working in the candy industry. When he is, surprisingly to him, invited to the launch of a special new chocolate in Belgium by the famous and wealthy chocolatier, Adolf Van De Groot, he destroys his welcome at the function and his host’s temper by tasting the new chocolate and immediately declaring it to be “rather good” for an imitation chocolate. At the function from which he is rudely ejected, he meets Richard Harden, a CIA operative who is investigating Van De Groot for a suspected biological weapon that he is supposedly developing. When Harden recruits Hale for his scientific expertise all hell will break loose, as Van De Groot and his loyal henchman, Victor, look to derail the investigation before it even begins and release their weapon on the world.

The Flavorist is a thriller in the grand style and is action-packed from start to end. Author Kevin Urban has created some archetypal characters that play their roles according to the standard rules. The arch-nemesis Van De Groot is a man bordering on insanity and well-written, especially with the suggested but subtle relationship that clearly exists between him and his No.1 henchman, Victor, that leads to some interesting scenes and encounters later in the story. The tale takes us from Belgium to the South Pacific, the Amazonian jungle and the jungles of Central Africa. The character of Harden especially and his relationship with the transitioning Maxi was something different in a thriller and added some needed levity and humanity to the non-stop action. For me, the many coincidences and synchronicities in the tale were a little overdone, but in general, this was a satisfying and exciting read with a touch of humor along the way. If you like thrillers that are not massive reads, then The Flavorist will definitely appeal to you.

Kevin Urban

Thank you, for reviewing this book. It is absolutely fantastic to hear such nice ccomments.

Sincerely Kevin Urban