cover image Cooked Goose

Cooked Goose

G. A. McKevett, McKevett. Kensington Publishing Corporation, $20 (304pp) ISBN 978-1-57566-359-3

It's hard not to like Savannah Reid, a large woman with appetites, emotions and attitudes to match. The pseudonymous McKevett's fourth book about Savannah (after Killer Calories) raises some serious issues about the crime of rape and its victims--but the mix of this theme with Savannah's winsome character and the recipes included at the back of the book is uneasy. Savannah, working as a PI after being fired from the police force in the fictional California seaside town of San Carmelita, is hired by a shopping mall to catch the ""Santa Rapist,"" a man wearing a fake white beard who has attacked six women in the mall's parking lot. The first man she disables with a hard kick to the ornaments turns out to be a legitimate store Santa, and the investigation goes downhill from there. Margie Bloss, the teenaged daughter of the odious police chief who fired Savannah, is a student in a self-defense class that Savannah teaches; when Margie is herself attacked and some of the town's cops begin to die, the identity of the rapist/killer becomes so obvious that readers may lose interest in a hurry. McKevitt has done better before and, hopefully, will again. Author tour. (Dec.)