Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall 2022 by Entertainment Weekly • Vogue • AARP the Magazine • Eater • New York Post • LitHub • Publishers Lunch • and more!
Set in the intersecting worlds of fine dining, Hollywood, and the media, a darkly hilarious and ultimately affecting story about the underside of success and fame, and our ongoing complicity in devouring our cultural heroes.
While filming on location in Belfast, Northern Ireland, John Doe, the universally adored host of the culinary travel show Last Call, is found dead in a hotel room in an apparent suicide. As the news of his untimely demise breaks, a group of friends, fixers, hustlers, and opportunists vie to seize control of the narrative: Doe’s chess-master of an agent Nia, ready to call in every favor she is owed to preserve his legacy; down-on-her-luck journalist Katie, who fabricates a story about Doe to save her job at a failing website; and world-famous chef Paolo Cabrini, Doe’s closest friend and confidant, who finds himself entangled with a deranged Belfast hotel worker whose lurid secret might just take them all down.
With raucous, deliciously cutting prose, crackling dialogue, and an unpredictable, tightly plotted story line—bolstered by the authors’ insider knowledge of high-end restaurants and low-end digital media—The Lemon is a darkly hilarious and ultimately devastating interrogation of the underside of success and fame, and our ongoing complicity in devouring the cultural heroes we hardly deserve.
About the Author
S. E. Boyd is the creation of veteran journalists Kevin Alexander and Joe Keohane, and editor Alessandra Lusardi. All lightly damaged Catholics prone to extensive overanalysis, Alexander, Keohane, and Lusardi have between them authored four books, edited dozens more, and written for Esquire, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker, among others. Alexander also won a James Beard Award for food writing, a fact Keohane and Lusardi are both tired of hearing about. This is their first novel.
“[An] acid, knife-edged satire on food-world mores and the vagaries of modern fame.” —Entertainment Weekly, Best New Books of Fall 2022
“Sure to set the food world abuzz, The Lemon is an archly acidic look at the celebrity death industrial complex and all those who seek to seize the narrative—and the spotlight—in the wake of a famous person’s death.” —Vogue, 25 Best Books to Read This Fall
“A winner that’s packed with dark humor.” —AARP the Magazine, 45 of Fall’s Best New Books
"A helluva novel. Hip-deep in knowing detail from the worlds of food, media, and Hollywood. . . A hilarious, brilliant, cynical (and maybe even a little sad) takedown of the moral vacuum that is celebrity culture." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Every story line offers suspense and surprises, and the book's deadpan humor is unremitting. . . . This frequently brilliant debut novel is a hilarious spoof of monetization mania and foodie culture.” —Shelf Awareness
“This bitingly satiric tale examines the mix of greed and reverence that drives people who have something to gain or to protect. ” —Library Journal
“Laugh-out-loud sensational—a nonstop, scalpel-sharp, satirical skewering of, well, everything . . . A whole new genre: sardonic suspense!” —Lee Child
“Fearless, moving, and funny as hell. This is incisive, witty, era-defining literature like they used to make it. Thank God it’s back.” —Lisa Taddeo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Three Women and Animal
“The Lemon is the most fun I’ve had reading a made-up story in forever and a day. It rips on everything and everybody in our zeitgeist and beyond. It’s full of terrible people behaving like asses. Like real life. Funny, smart, surprising. Loved it.” —Bob Odenkirk, star of Better Call Saul and New York Times bestselling author of Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama
“S. E. Boyd has taken the secret ingredient to fame—‘shameless persistence’—and used it to pressure-cook up a novel funny enough and hot enough to singe the high brows off of any raised-pinkie foodie.” —Paul Beatty, Booker Prize–winning author of The Sellout
“Deliciously trenchant, hilarious, and impossible to put down, this dark comedy says something profound about the world of celebrity and the mesmerizing subversives within it.” —Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of the international bestsellers Sarong Party Girls and A Tiger in the Kitchen
“Witty, razor sharp, and enviably well-written, The Lemon is the bombshell book that members of the food-obsessed Kitchen Confidential generation have been waiting for.” —Adam Platt, former New York Magazine chief restaurant critic and author of The Book of Eating