Book 1: Just Desserts
Book 2: Bitter Sweets
Book 3: Killer Calories
Few things are more satisfying to me than to discover a new author whose writing keeps me totally engaged. So it was an unexpected delight to stumble upon the popular Savannah Reid mystery series.
The main character puts on a brassy front but, like most women, she enjoys being treated like a lady too. Her challenging, although loving childhood, helping to raise eight brothers and sisters under her grandparents’ care made her scrappy and resourceful, but still sympathetic and sensitive. It’s hard not to like this woman.
In Book 1, Just Desserts, we meet Savannah when she is still a detective with the San Carmelita PD. She works closely with her scruffy but lovable partner, Dirk Coulter, until she is asked to fly solo on a particular murder case. Here is where we see the author’s style come into play: excellent character and plot development plus the ideal balance of dialogue and expository information. The plot often turns one direction halfway into the story and takes a another twist three-quarters in–showing great forethought, economy, and outlining before the writing even began. We are also introduced to characters who will become old friends as the books progress; the aforementioned Dick Coulter, the dashing Ryan Stone and John Gibson (they come as a set,) and Tammy Hart, Savannah’s new secretary as she opens her PI business. I had great fun reading this mystery, although Savannah’s little sister, who shows up unannounced, was a frustrating character. 9/10 Stars
Book 2, Bitter Sweets, is my favorite of the first three Savannah Reid mysteries. Aside from meeting Savannah’s Granny Reid, the relative she loves most of all, we also see the softer side of the private investigator. The twists, turns, and characters are especially clever in this story as Savannah investigates a murder and furiously tries to rescue a missing child. The obstacles bring out her sensitivity and frustration, making her granny’s unannounced visit all the more timely. And, despite guessing who the murderer was before the name was announced, I devoured this book in record time. It’s my guess that the 25 books in the series do not need to be read in order, but I would recommend reading Books 1&2 to get to know the main character before hopscotching through the other books in random order. 9.5/10 Stars
Book 3, Killer Calories, was a bit of a let down after it’s terrific predecessor. Not only did I have a hard time getting into the story, but the author used a few of my “least” favorite words and expressions more than once. Not expletives per se–the books have stayed at about a PG rating–but word choices I find crass. Just a personal thing and a bit detrimental to my prevous enjoyment of the Savannah Reid character. This time she is hired by an anonymous client to investigate a murder at a seedy health spa. I found myself caring little about most of the new characters. The plot did redeem itself towards the end, but the setting and cast did little for me. Still, I will plug along with other books in the series. 7.5/10 Stars
Conclusion: Make no assumptions and underestimations about these books based on their sugary-themed titles. G. A. McKevett (the pen name of prolific author Sonja Massie) is a very talented writer. Three books in three days means I’m definitely hooked!