Conant-Park, Jessica 1971-
Conant-Park, Jessica 1971-
Born 1971; daughter of Susan Conant (a writer); married William Park (a chef); children: Nicholas. Education: Macalester College, bachelor's degree, 1992; Boston College, M.S.W. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening.
Writer. Formerly worked as a social worker.
"GOURMET GIRL" MYSTERY SERIES
(With mother, Susan Conant) Steamed, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2006.
(With Susan Conant) Simmer Down, Berkley Prime Crime (New York, NY), 2007.
Jessica Conant-Park first got the idea of writing after the birth of her son. "Since I was spending a lot of time alone in the house with a baby, I found myself talking out loud to him and narrating fatigue-induced anecdotes and stories," Conant-Park told an interviewer on the Once upon a Romance Web site. She continued: "After a few months I discovered that I actually had something to say and wanted to write it all down. I was just getting out of my twenties and found that all the turmoil of that decade became much funnier once I'd left it behind. I was suddenly able to see my dating stories and failed romances from a new perspective."
The result of Conant-Park's inspiration was a collaboration with her mother, Susan Conant, a published writer, and the creation of the "Gourmet Girl" mystery series. The first book in the series, Steamed, introduces Chloe Carter, a twenty-something woman who is a gourmand looking for "Mr. Right" online via her "GourmetGirl" persona. Chloe meets Eric Rafferry and goes out on a date with him only to find Eric stabbed to death in the men's room before dinner is over. Her next date, with Josh, a chef, doesn't turn out much better, especially when Chloe finds out that the knife that killed Eric belonged to Josh. Nevertheless, Chloe sets out to clear Josh of the murder so they can pursue their romance. Calling the book a "delectable collaboration," a Publishers Weekly contributor also wrote that the novel "has it all—charming characters, snappy dialogue and mouth-watering recipes." Jennifer Monahan Winberry, writing on the Mystery Reader.com Web site, noted: "In a field where there's always room for one more amateur sleuth, Chloe is a great addition, one whom readers will want to visit with time and time again."
Chloe returns in Simmer Down, also written by Conant-Park in collaboration with her mother. Chloe's relationship with Josh comes under strain when Josh is hired as executive chef at a new restaurant called Simmer in Boston. Life gets tougher for Chloe when Josh is once again suspected of murder. Although the publicity surrounding the murder is good for the restaurant's business, Chloe sets out to find the real killer, who could be one of Josh's many ex-girlfriends. "The mother-daughter author team provides the audience with a delicious chick lit cozy filled with lists, recipes and asides as Chloe takes on Beantown," wrote Harriet Klausner on the Best Reviews Web site. In a review on the Once upon a Romance Web site, Connie Payne wrote: "Simmer Down cleverly blends the best elements of a mystery and romantic comedy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, January 23, 2006, review of Steamed, p. 190.
Berkley Prime Crime Web site,http://berkleysignetmysteries.com/ (May 15, 2007), "Q&A with Jessica Conant-Park."
Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (February 27, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of Simmer Down.
BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (May 15, 2007), Theresa Ichino, review of Steamed.
I Love a Mystery Newsletter,http://www.iloveamysterynewsletter.com/ (May 15, 2007), Michele A. Reed, review of Steamed.
Jessica Conant-Park MySpace Profile,http://www.myspace.com/gourmetgirlmysteries (May 15, 2007).
Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant Home Page,http://www.conantpark.com (July 26, 2007).
Mystery Reader.com,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (May 15, 2007), Jennifer Monahan Winberry, review of Steamed.
Once upon a Romance,http://www.onceuponaromance.net/ (May 15, 2007), Connie Payne, review of Simmer Down and interview with author.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (May 15, 2007), Sheri Melnick, review of Steamed.