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Oct 13

“Just desserts” find their way into two new books

The literary table  in Lansing has been a gourmet treat of fine reading from authors who are as different as Little Debbie and Baked Alaska. Jeffery Deaver is among the leading thriller writers in the world; Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, aka “the Beekman boys,” are reality TV stars. The Beekman Boys appeared in the Lansing area this past Sunday to speak and sign copies of their new book and Deaver is in Lansing Wednesday October 9 at Schuler Books in Okemos.

Deaver’s most recent book, “The Kill Room,” is his 31st in the competitive genre of thrillers. He writes complex plots with surprise endings through a flurry of adrenaline rushes. Readers might remember his novel “The Bone Collector,” which was adapted for the screen starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington, as Deaver’s quadriplegic New York detective, Lincoln Rhyme.
“The Kill Room” again features Rhyme, and it’s as contemporary as the Sunday New York Times. Deaver admits his imagination may been a little cutting edge for the plot of “Kill Room”; he said it was only a couple of weeks before publication that President Obama confirmed the U.S. had used a drone to kill U.S. citizen Anwar al- Awlaqi.
“I’ve never written a political book, mostly because they move too slowly,” he said recently in a phone interview.
However, “slowly” is certainly not a word  that could be used to  describe the action in “Kill Room,” which sees  Rhyme racing to avoid a  major assassination. Deaver, 63, a  journalist turned-corporate  lawyer-turned-full-time writer, weaves  high-tech government spying on  its citizenry and a whistleblower who tips off investigators into a  taut, fastpaced story line.
With  “Kill Room,” he gives his killer a penchant for gourmet meals and  conveniently provides the killer’s recipes online at jefferydeaver.com.  He said he created an assassin chef who is almost as creepy as Hannibal  Lecter to make his character real and to “create a product that makes an  emotional connection to the reader.”
“Too  often we see the clichéd villain as a balding thug with a pony tail,”  Deaver said. The admitted foodie posted recipes for 14 dishes that the  fictional assassin prepares, including one for a sponge cake that was  handed down from his grandmother.
As  with all of Deaver’s thrillers, in the end the bad guys get their just  deserts, but what makes his books intriguing is that you don’t know who  the bad guys are until the last few pages. While in town, Deaver will also discuss his newest book, “The October List”, a ”Memento”-style thriller written from the end to the beginning. Deaver said that his newest book was the “hardest per word” book he has ever written.

Brent and Josh, the Beekman Boys

And  speaking of desserts (well, almost), lifestyle authors Ridge and  Kilmer-Purcell, a 1991 Michigan State University graduate, have created a  collection of recipes for mouthwatering  desserts in their newest book, “The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert  Cookbook.” It has 100 recipes, including Kilmer-Purcell’s favorite:  Pancakes with maple cream frosting.

“It’s  a great way to use leftovers,” he said in a recent phone interview. The  recipes, illustrated with 120 full-color photos, are divided by the  season and all are collected from family and friends, Kilmer-Purcell  said. The husband-and-husband team won the 21st season of “The Amazing  Race.” They also own a 60-acre farm in upstate New York where they stage  their lifestyle brand, which has the makings of a business empire.  Their progress is documented on the Cooking Channel’s reality show, “The  Fabulous Beekman Boys.”
“Heirloom  recipes are living things, and every generation puts their own twist on  them,” Kilmer-Purcell said. He said family recipe books will likely  have notations in the margins, and their new book leaves dedicated room  for these generational notations.
During his days in the dorm  at MSU, Kilmer-Purcell, 44, remembers gaining a lot of weight and  eating a lot of turkey tetrazzini. He says by contrast, at the Beekman  Farm he and Ridge, a physician and former consultant for Martha Stewart,  grow 110 fruits and vegetables along with raising their own meat.
“I  haven’t been to a grocery store in months, and I find it very  inspirational as a cook to deal with the restraints of the garden and  the livestock,” he said. “You go into the garden and you ask what do I  make today? If there’s a lot of Swiss chard, you tend to get creative.”
Kilmer-Purcell said he got his first cooking lessons by working alongside his mother.
“She was a very good Midwest cook,” he said. “She cooked on a tight budget and had three men to feed.”
One fond memory he has of food on the MSU campus comes from the dairy section.
“It’s the best ice cream I’ve ever had,” he said.
The Beekman Boys lived up to their reputation while at Schulers entertaining the crowd with stories ranging from their wedding to the Amazing Race. They told delish dishes about Martha Stewart who attended their wedding and did taste tests of the wedding food
Jeffery Deaver
Discussion,  Q&A and book signing 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 Schuler Books &  Music, 1982 W. Grand River Ave., Okemos schulerbooks.com
Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge (“The Fabulous Beekman Boys”)
Discussion,  Q&A and book signing 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6 Schuler Books &   Music, 2820 Towne Center Blvd., Lansing Township schulerbooks.com