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The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs    by Irvine Welsh order for
Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs
by Irvine Welsh
Order:  USA  Can
W. W. Norton, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Danny Skinner of the Edinburgh Council is a lackluster employee at best. An alcoholic in denial, he travels between bars and pubs along Princes Street and the Royal Mile at night, feeling that life was meant to give him more than it has. Not knowing who his father was seems to be a barrier he can't get past. Brian Kibby also works at the Council. He and Danny are completely different people. Brian is a teetotaler, a virgin, addicted to a website and his model train setup. Their paths cross at the Council office and their lives then become intertwined. How and to what extent is revealed as this gripping tale of personalities unfolds.

Believing his father was a chef, Danny buys a book entitled The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs in an effort to locate him. This leads to his desperate quest to find the man responsible for giving him life, but who was never in his life. How Brian fits in this scenario is revealed as pages turn. As the locale is Edinburgh, the local accent is used, necessitating the non-British reader to sometimes (for me a great deal of the time) sound out words in order to understand their meanings. This might be a bit offputting for some but I found it added to the mystique of a well-told tale. No holds are barred in the gritty sex scenes.

I can't reveal any more of the plot. I don't want to give away the unique method that Irvine Welsh uses to tie his two protagonists together. The peripheral characters are at least as interesting and finely tuned as the main players. The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs is not a casual read, but one that will stay with you after finishing the last page.

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