(G. A. McKevett)
PERSONAL: Married. Hobbies and other interests: Traditional Irish music, Celtic bead needle art.
Legacy of the Wolf, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1987.
Moon Song, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1990.
Carousel, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1990.
(With Meg Schneider) What Every Girl Should Know about Boys, Newfield Publications (Middletown, CT), 1992.
Far and Away (novelization), Berkeley (New York, NY), 1992.
Betrayal, Zebra (New York, NY), 1996.
The Dark Mirror, Zebra (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Martin H. Greenberg) The Janet Dailey Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to Her Life and Her Novels, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.
A Friend in Need, Signal Hill (Syracuse, NY), 1997.
Irish Pride: 101 Reasons to Be Proud You're Irish, Carol Publishing Group (Secaucus, NJ), 1999.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Irish History and Culture, Alpha Books (New York City), 1999.
Daughter of Ireland, Jove (New York, NY), 2000.
Also author of ebook Dream Carver, published by ereads.com.
"SAVANNAH REID MYSTERY" SERIES; UNDER PSEUDONYM G. A. MCKEVETT
Just Desserts, Kensington (New York, NY), 1995.
Bitter Sweets, Kensington (New York, NY), 1996.
Killer Calories, Kensington (New York, NY), 1997.
Cooked Goose, Kensington (New York, NY), 1998.
Sugar and Spite, Kensington (New York, NY), 2000.
Sour Grapes, Kensington (New York, NY), 2001.
Peaches and Screams, Kensington (New York, NY), 2002.
Death by Chocolate, Kensington (New York, NY), 2003.
Cereal Killer, Kensington (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Sonja Massie, writing as G. A. McKevett, has carved out a niche for herself in the mystery book market with a series of novels about Savannah Reid, a female detective described by GraceAnne A. DeCandido in a Booklist review of Cooked Goose as a "fortyist, comfortably sized single southern gal," whose craving for fairness is matched only by her love of fatty foods. Set in southern California, the stories unfold in a spirited spree of mishaps and adventures. Savannah Reid, as her name implies, hails from Georgia, and her sleuthing style belies her southern belle upbringing. "Food-loving, witty and down-to-earth," stated a Publishers Weekly contributor in a review of Sour Grapes, "Reid is no typical fey Southern belle." She is "armed with a passion for food and oozing steel-magnolia charm," DeCandido declared in a Booklist assessment of Sugar and Spite.
Just Desserts, the first Savannah Reid novel, tells the story of the murder of Jonathan Winston, the husband of a prominent city councilwoman in San Carmelita, California. What Reid does not realize when she takes the case is that Beverly Winston, the dead man's wife, is having an affair with the police chief. Instead of aiding the investigation, Beverly and her boyfriend try to thwart it by withholding a key piece of evidence. As she moves closer to the truth, Reid is fired from the police force, allegedly for being thirty pounds overweight. Despite the sometimes overly slick characterizations, Library Journal reviewer Rex E. Klett felt that the "infectious heroine and self-deprecating humor" rescue the story from boredom. According to Publishers Weekly contributor Sybil S. Steinberg, however, Just Desserts lacks credibility as the characters simply "careen from one implausible situation to the next." On the other hand, a Kirkus Reviews writer praised "McKevett's clean, unpretentious style" and added that "her sweet-toothed heroine could strike a chord among readers."
Bitter Sweets, the second installment of the Savannah Reid series, finds Reid—no longer with the police force—working as a private eye through the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency, sometimes with the assistance of her former partner Dirk Coulter. The novel features the hunt for Lisa O'Donnell Mallock, a woman who disappears soon after divorcing her abusive husband, Earl. Separated from his sister since childhood, Brian O'Donnell has been searching for Lisa for several years on his own; he loses her trail in San Carmelita and hires Reid to find her. Lisa soon turns up dead and her daughter Christy goes missing. Just when Earl seems the likely suspect, he becomes the killer's next target. Critics praised Bitter Sweets for its lighthearted, fun tone. In contrast to her assessment of Just Desserts, Steinberg called this book "a light, satisfying tale." Klett deemed the volume "fun reading" in Library Journal, while in Kirkus Reviews a critic described it as "a double portion of food, fashion, and full-figured fun."
Likewise, Killer Calories presents Savannah eating and sleuthing with great aplomb. Kat Valentina, a disco-era starlet, dies mysteriously at a local health club, and Reid goes undercover to find the killer. To maintain her camouflage, Reid must curb her own appetite as she investigates the characters at the spa. Steinberg, reviewing the book for Publishers Weekly, called this contribution to the mystery series a "predictable but entertaining tale." And Klett, reviewing the volume for Library Journal, described the story as "a real treat."
In Cooked Goose, Reid has to deal with a Yuletide rapist terrorizing a San Carmelita shopping mall. The man, who has disguised himself as Santa using a false white beard, has attacked a number of women in the mall's parking lot. Unfortunately, the first man Reid targets as a potential rapist and "disables with a hard kick to the ornaments," explained a Publishers Weekly contributor, turns out to be a legitimate (and innocent) mall Santa. The credibility of Reid's investigation suffers as a result. Eventually she is reduced to the role of babysitter/bodyguard for the daughter of the same police chief who fired her in Just Desserts, but in the end she helps bring the criminal to justice.
Peaches and Screams returns Reid to her home state of Georgia to attend her sister's wedding. When a local judge is found shot to death and Reid's youngest brother is fingered for the crime, the private investigator is sucked into still another investigation. "Before standing up with her sister," remarked a Publishers Weekly contributor, "Savannah must stand by her brother and clear his name." A Kirkus Reviews writer called the volume "a whodunit as old-fashioned and satisfying as one of Granny Reid's bacon-egg-and-grits breakfasts." The author, according to the Publishers Weekly reviewer, "delivers a surprise ending with panache."
With Death by Chocolate Reid enters into a new contract: to protect chef and grand dame Eleanor Maxwell (the reigning "Queen of Chocolate" of television's Gourmet Network) from someone who has been sending her threatening mail. Lady Eleanor, however, soon collapses after ingesting chocolate during a taping of her own show, leaving her bodyguard to deal with dysfunctional family members and other consequences of her notoriously short temper. "The unexpected arrival of Savannah's sister Cordele . . . tests everyone's patience," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "including the reader's." Still, as a Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded, while "McKevett's recipe may be tried and true, . . . it still delivers the goods with zest."
Massie has also written numerous works under her own name, including romance novels such as Betrayal and Daughter of Ireland and nonfiction books including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Irish History and Culture.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 1, 1998, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Cooked Goose, p. 654; November 1, 1999, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Sugar and Spite, p. 512.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1995, review of Just Desserts, p. 429; April 15, 1996, review of Bitter Sweets, p. 566; April 1, 1997, review of Killer Calories, p. 133; October 15, 2001, review of Peaches and Screams, p. 1457; November 15, 2002, review of Death by Chocolate, p. 1659.
Library Journal, April 1, 1995, Rex E. Klett, review of Just Desserts;, p. 128; May 1, 1996, Rex E. Klett, review of Bitter Sweets, p. 136; April 1, 1997, Rex E. Klett, review of Killer Calories, p. 133; January, 2000, Rex E. Klett, review of Sugar and Spite, p. 167; December, 2001, Rex E. Klett, review of Peaches and Screams, p. 180; January, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Death by Chocolate, p. 163.
Publishers Weekly, April 3, 1995, Sybil S. Steinberg, review of Just Desserts, p. 49; April 22, 1996, Sybil S. Steinberg, review of Bitter Sweets, p. 62; February 24, 1997, Sybil S. Steinberg, review of Killer Calories, p. 66; November 2, 1998, review of Cooked Goose, p. 74; December 11, 2000, review of Sour Grapes, p. 66; December 17, 2001, review of Peaches and Screams, p. 66; December 9, 2002, review of Death by Chocolate, p. 65; December 8, 2003, review of Cereal Killer, p. 50.
Romantic Times Online, http://www.romantictimes.com/data/books/ (August 12, 2004), reviews of Betrayal, Daughter of Ireland, Cereal Killer, Death by Chocolate, Peaches and Screams, and Sour Grapes.*