A review by stefhyena
A Body to Die For by G.A. McKevett


This one was about as subtle as a sledgehammer. The characters and their interactions all had a sort of two-dimensional slap-stick feel to them. I was constantly irritated by characters unnecessarily perving and basically acting like cats on heat around anyone (and I mean anyone) of the opposite sex. Gay guys add a bit of class in a stereotypical sort of a way (but they are rich, handsome, homonormative "gay best friend" types) and of course there is no same-sex attraction between women.

Somehow I still enjoyed my journey through this extremely flawed and very guessable novel (Savannah is naive to be so many steps behind the reader). At times it threatens to get serious and complex over issues like whether meat production is cruel or unethical (we get given no easy answer to that one) or the ethics and effectiveness of imprisoning people (especially questions over which young people end up in gaol). These sections were endearing and didn't offer black and white answers.

It was problematic for me that Savannah (an ex cop) works for the very toxically masculine Dirk FOR FREE, meanwhile having a patronising and exploitative attitude to her own assistant and then he also spends about half the book trying to extract food and emotional labour from her. I also felt that characters let other characters trespass on their personal space and walk all over them too much. The first chapter or so was irrelevant...granted it had one of the main characters hovering in the background but it actually had nothing to do with the book itself and seemed like just an excuse to show that Savannah was going to let Dirk get away with being a horrid sleaze. I was quite put off by it...but the story did get better. Savannah also needs better relationships with women (any woman at all) and the casual and constant references to violence within various family and romantic relationships need to be toned down or better still eliminated (how does that work with the actual murderer simply doing the same thing)?

The book moved cheerfully and perfectly paced forward at all times. I enjoyed the fat positivity (without anyone expressly stating that Savannah was fat per se which was also good). I won't rule out the possibility of reading this series again since on balance there was more enjoyment than the irritation (albeit both were present). This is junkfood for the soul, but I don't mind junkfood now and then if it at least adds enjoyment.