A private eye divides her time between finding her latest client’s would-be killer and confronting her longtime assistant’s abusive beau.
Dollmaker Helene Strauss is an octogenarian with attitude. She runs her family business with an iron fist while keeping a tight rein on her rebellious granddaughter Emma and her drug-addled grandnephew Waldo. When Helene shrugs off several attempts on her own life, Emma, kicking her concern up a notch, consults with Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency’s Savannah Reid (Wicked Craving, 2010, etc.). Savannah’s especially eager to catch the aspiring murderer because Helene reminds the detective of her own beloved family matriarch Granny Reid. And questioning Helene’s liposuctioned niece Ada and her boy toy Vern only focuses her radar. But she’s distracted by her assistant Tammy Hart’s budding relationship with her new boyfriend Chad, who seems bent on isolating Tammy and controlling her behavior. When Helene’s maid Blanca is found electrocuted in the family’s hot tub along with a naked Vern, Savannah springs into action, searching the Strauss estate for whatever caused the spa to spark. And when Tammy turns up with bruises on her face, Savannah pounces, teaching Chad a lesson in how not to treat a lady.
McKevett’s 16th serves up plenty of action, then concludes with an author’s note directed at abuse victims who don’t have Savannah to protect them—and who should know that whatever happens in fiction, physical confrontation with an abuser is not only ineffective but dangerous.