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Monday, October 18, 2021

Review: The Savage Kind by John Copenhaven

The Savage Kind
by John Copenhaven

A huge thanks to Slice.Pr, Pegasus Books and the author for this gifted book.

Publisher: Pegasus Crime
Publish Date: October 5, 2021
352 Pages
Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Queer

Two lonely teenage girls in 1940s Washington, DC, discover they have a penchant for solving crimes—and an even greater desire to commit them—in the new mystery novel by Macavity Award-winning novelist John Copenhaver.

Philippa Watson, a good-natured yet troubled seventeen-year-old, has just moved to Washington, DC. She’s lonely until she meets Judy Peabody, a brilliant and tempestuous classmate. The girls become unlikely friends and fashion themselves as intellectuals, drawing the notice of Christine Martins, their dazzling English teacher, who enthralls them with her passion for literature and her love of noirish detective fiction.

When Philippa returns a novel Miss Martins has lent her, she interrupts a man grappling with her in the shadows. Frightened, Philippa flees, unsure who the man is or what she’s seen. Days later, her teacher returns to school altered: a dark shell of herself. On the heels of her teacher’s transformation, a classmate is found dead in the Anacostia River—murdered—the body stripped and defiled with a mysterious inscription.

As the girls follow the clues and wrestle with newfound feelings toward each other, they suspect that the killer is closer to their circle than they imagined—and that the greatest threat they face may not be lurking in the halls at school, or in the city streets, but creeping out from a murderous impulse of their own.

My Review:

Femme fatale noir that's twisty and covers a variety of subjects and genres... two girls who meet, become sleuths, grapple with their own attraction to each other (in so many ways), cater to their darker side and EVERYTHING is unrealiable. SIGN ME UP. Oh hi.

I've found that while I used to be a more plot driven reader, lately character driven reads have really started to speak to me. Enter THE SAVAGE KIND. Yes there's a mystery that's intriguing but the stars are most definitely Philippa and Judy.  It's true, opposites do attract.

I related to Philippa a lot - always moving around from being in a military family and not always fitting into the popular/mainstream group.  And having that dark side that made me a magnet for those who may have seemed peculiar and/or dangerous.  Which got me in trouble a lot but I sure did have a lot of fun.  Being a military brat, you tend to change your personality to those around you to constantly fit in - a chameleon in human form. With Judy being the kind of girl I always wanted to impress and be around. Yep, RELATABLE.

Set in the 1940s, the author brings such atmosphere to this read. While some might find this slow paced, and at times it can be, it's necessary to see the transitions these girls (and some of the characters around them) go through.  I mean, who hasn't wanted to try and solve a mystery and then see if they could probably get away with a crime of their own.  Am I right? *wink*

I also thoroughly enjoyed my chat with the author (which you can find on my IG Live tab) which enhanced my reading experience and really made me see this story through a new lens.  There are more books coming that will span the 50s and the 60s so we get to see these characters grow immensely and I am here for it!


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