Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: Elvis and the Grateful Dead by Peggy Webb

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book via LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for reviewing it on LibraryThing.

Elvis and the Grateful Dead
A Southern Cousins Mystery
by Peggy Webb

An Elvis impersonator festival and contest should be full of sequins, crooners, good music and food--especially when it's being held in the King's hometown. But when someone starts picking off the impersonators, it's up to Callie Jones, her estranged mystery man ex-husband, and her basset hound Elvis (who IS the reincarnation of the King) to solve the mystery and keep cooking cousin Lovie out of the Jailhouse.

The good:
The story is told by both Callie and Elvis (the dog). Their voices are very distinct and amusing. Elvis spends a lot of time "singing" references, which can be a little distracting but I can imagine a friend of mine's basset hound doing this. 

Well developed secondary characters. Though I never really felt for the Elvis's who were being killed, I could completely recognize some of the other town characters. Callie's Mom was delightfully outrageous and many will be able to identify a beloved Uncle who is ready to lend an ear, helping hand, and sage advice. 

I didn't figure the mystery out until the end. That's always a challenge for me, because very often one sees it coming and then you have to decide whether or not to slog on through. 

The bad:
Webb occasionally switches narration mid-chapter. That was a little confusing the first time as usually you got a fresh chapter.

Callie is obsessed with having children and a "good father" to go with that. Certainly that's a big part of her character but the dwelling on having babies and how her ex isn't good father material makes her less dynamic.

The confusing not-quite-ex-husband thing. Personally, I can't say I'd let my soon-to-be-ex wash my back (literally) if it was serious enough that we were divorcing. It's clear that he doesn't want the divorce, but Callie's a confused bundle of nerves. She vacillates from sleeping with her ex husband in Chapter 2 to a possible new love interest by the end of the book, which was a little overdone for me.

There's some definite male as heroic rescuer that gets a little old. The whole idea of always needing a big strong man to rescue one grated a bit.  

Elvis' constant singing could certainly get old after a while if one isn't a fan of the King.

Slightly over-referenced book one of the series. I felt like I almost didn't need to read it because everything was rehashed in book two.

What I'd like to see more of:
The relationship between Callie and her mother. It reminded me a bit of Donna Andrews' style, which I adore, and I'd like to see more of that.

A very cute addition to the cozy mystery section. Book one is going on the hold list at work.  Share with your animal and cozy mystery lovers.  

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