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Cereal Killer (Savannah Reid Series #9)

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Overview

In a world where stick-thin women adorn fashion magazines and silver screens, plus-sized private eye Savannah Reid is grateful for the wild success-and fabulous fashion tips-of full-figured model Cait Connor. When Cait is found dead after months of extreme dieting, everyone assumes risky regimen did her in. But then a second full-figured model meets an untimely end, and it's time to weigh the facts...and search for suspects.

At first it seems that Cait's death is a clear case of...

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Cereal Killer

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Overview

In a world where stick-thin women adorn fashion magazines and silver screens, plus-sized private eye Savannah Reid is grateful for the wild success-and fabulous fashion tips-of full-figured model Cait Connor. When Cait is found dead after months of extreme dieting, everyone assumes risky regimen did her in. But then a second full-figured model meets an untimely end, and it's time to weigh the facts...and search for suspects.

At first it seems that Cait's death is a clear case of dieting run amok. As the new spokesperson for Wentworth's Slenda Flakes, Cait needed to lose thirty pounds in sixty days and apparently died trying. Now her grieving husband wants to sue Wentworth Cereal for that fatal clause in her contract. Considering how much shredded wheat and puffed rice Wentworth has on the market, Kevin Connor could receive a lot of dough.

It all seems cut and dried until Kameeka Wills, another plus model working-and starving-for Wentworth, is killed by a hit-and-run driver while jogging at four a.m. Now Savannah's really suspicious, and determined to avenge her curvaceous sisters...even if it means going undercover for the camera. There are more models on the Slenda Flakes campaign who could be at risk, and enough suspects to keep Savannah hopping. There's Kevin Connor and his high-stakes lawsuit; Charles Wentworth III, whose secretly struggling company can't afford a weight-loss cereal that packs on the pounds; and Jerrod Beekman, a desperate ad executive whose agency's fate is aligned with Wentworth's. Top that off with a slimy stalker and a womanizing photographer, and Savannah's bowl is more than full. But she's determined to satisfy her craving for justice-before a cunning killer strikes again…

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Full-figured herself and quite comfortable in her own skin, private eye Savannah Reid is more than willing to take on a case investigating the recent death of two plus-size models she personally admired. The first death is tragic but seems pretty unmysterious. A spokesmodel for Slenda Flakes cereal died of heatstroke during a frantic exercise regime to shed pounds for a new ad campaign. But when a second model working for the same company becomes the victim of a hit-and-run driver, Savannah refuses to chalk it up to coincidence, especially when the women's agent asks her to get to the bottom of this flaky case. With profits at Savannah's Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency dwindling, she agrees to don a swimsuit and suck in her gut to blend in at a plus-size photo shoot. But as Savannah smiles for the camera and keeps her eyes and ears open for clues, she discovers that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
Warm, winsome and weight-bedeviled Savannah Reid, proprietor of the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency in coastal San Carmelita, Calif., goes undercover as a plus-size fashion model in McKevett's winning ninth outing, a step up from last year's family-angst-laden Death by Chocolate. When full-figured model Cait Connor turns up dead in her bathroom, stifled in a "vapor-impermeable suit," her bereaved husband blames an overly rigorous exercise routine and the manufacturer of Slenda Flakes, the cereal Cait had been hired to promote-if she could lose 30 pounds in 60 days. But after the death of another plus-size model working for the same cereal company, struck by a hit-and-run driver while she's on an early morning jog, it's clear murder's afoot. Posing as a model, Savannah gets on the killer's trail, aided by police detective Dirk Coulter and the computer expertise of her bright young assistant, Tammy Hart. The arrival from Georgia of a demanding sister of Savannah's, who suddenly moves in to follow up an Internet romance, complicates the sleuthing without slowing the plot. Food lore, a good puzzle, an exciting climax and cats with their therapeutic purring all add to the fun. (Jan. 6) FYI: G.A. McKevett is the pseudonym of Sonja Massie, author of Daughter of Ireland (2000) and other romance novels. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758204592
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 11/2/2004
  • Series: Savannah Reid Series , #9
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 725,864
  • Product dimensions: 4.38 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Cereal Killer

A SAVANNAH REID MYSTERY
By G.A. McKevett

KENSINGTON BOOKS

Copyright © 2004 G.A. McKevett and Kensington Publishing Corporation
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7582-0458-2


Chapter One

"I'm not going to eat another bite of food in this filthy jalopy of yours until you clean it out," Savannah Reid said as she glanced over the seat into the rear floorboard of the battered old Buick. The sight of wadded burger wrappers, mustard-stained napkins, and assorted taco trash was enough to put her off the double chili cheeseburger and super-sized fries in her lap. Secretly she had to admit that this principled stand of hers had more to do with the double scoop, rocky road, hot fudge sundae she had consumed half an hour ago than it did with the mess in the back of Dirk Coulter's old Buick. The biohazard landfill site that he affectionately called his back seat had been irritating her for years. And since that massive sundae had taken the edge off her hunger, she figured it was a better time than most to launch a protest. "I never thought I'd see the day when you'd threaten not to eat," Dirk said as he pulled the Skylark out of the Burger Bonanza's drive through and entered the midday traffic on Vista Del Mar. "What'd you do ... pig out on something before I picked you up back at your place?"

If there was anything that irked Savannah more than Dirk's filthy car, it was his ability to read her with uncanny accuracy. She wanted to chalk it up to his finely honed skills as a police detective-and that might have had a little to do with it-but mostly it was because the two of them had spent far too much time together over the years. Most married couples spent less so-called "quality" time together than they did. Now there was a scary thought. "What makes you think I ate something before you came by?" she asked. He continued to drive as he fumbled with the Styrofoam burger container in his lap. "Easy. You had chocolate breath when you got in the car. And you've got something that looks like a piece of walnut between your front teeth." She quickly flipped down the visor and studied her reflection in the mirror on the back. "I do not have anything stuck in my teeth!" "Lemme see." She peeled back her lips and gave him a gruesome grin. He shrugged. "It's gone now. What was it? Snickers bar?" "Ice cream sundae. Breakfast of champions. And it was probably a pecan you saw stuck in my teeth. Us Georgia girls don't eat walnuts," she added with her best Southern drawl. He chuckled as he lifted his burger to his mouth and took a hearty bite. Ketchup oozed out the side of the sandwich and dropped on the front of his Harley-Davidson T-shirt.

"Watch it. You're dribbling on yourself there." He glanced down. "Naw, that's spaghetti sauce from last night's dinner." "It's ketchup. I just saw it drop. What do you mean, last night's spaghetti? You're wearing the same shirt you wore yesterday? And you're calling me gross because of a little nut between my teeth?" "Hey, I sniffed it before I put it on. It was clean. I only wore it half a day yesterday. I had to change in the afternoon after that drugged-out perp bled on me."

"A perp bled on you?" Dirk grinned. But it was a nasty smile, not one to warm the heart. "Yeah. Me and him had a little disagreement." "I guess if he was the one who sprang a leak, that means you won the argument." "I always do." Savannah decided not to mention that she had seen him lose a few "disagreements" in years gone by, when he had wound up shedding more blood than the perps he'd caught. Dirk liked to think he was quite the bad ass, and he was a lot easier to get along with when she didn't contradict him. Besides, for the most part, she was glad she was his friend and not his enemy. She had to agree; he was pretty bad ... and frequently an ass, too. They drove through the main business section of the small seaside town of San Carmelita and past a park whose perimeter was lined with palms. On one side of the park a dozen children entertained themselves in the sandbox and on swings. On the opposite side stood several picnic tables and barbecue pits. "Pull in," she told him, nudging him with her elbow. "I want to eat my lunch over there in the fresh air and sunshine." "I got fresh air." He pointed to the pine tree shaped deodorizer dangling from his driver's mirror. "Plenty of it."

She grunted and gave him another nudge. "All right, all right." He pulled into the only blank spot at the curb and parked. "That's a fire hydrant," she said, pointing to the obvious. He reached into the back seat and rummaged through the debris until he produced a police I.D. plaque, which he propped on the dashboard. "Yeah, yeah," he mumbled. "If the park catches on fire, I'll move the car, Miss Goody Two-shoes."

She muttered an abbreviated speech about "being a good example to young people" trader her breath as they strolled to the nearest picnic table and found a seagull poop-free spot to spread their lunch and sit down. There was no point in muttering her character improvement speeches aloud; she had been trying to civilize Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter for years. She'd had about as much luck at that as she had at dieting away those pesky extra thirty pounds, organizing her kitchen cupboards, and halting the depletion of the ozone layer. The older she got, the smarter she got, and the more carefully she picked her battles. Now solidly into her forties, Savannah had learned the value of conserving life energy. Once a tireless perfectionist, she had recently decided to live by a new motto: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And if you still can't pull it off give up. There's no point in being a damned fool about it. They were golden words to live by. She considered having them tattooed on her left buttock. Heaven knows, there was plenty of room back there-something else that might have caused her a great deal of angst a decade ago. But no more. Savannah liked herself, her life, and her butt ... all of it. And now that she wasn't sitting in his dirty car, she even liked Dirk. With the Southern California sunshine in her face, the ocean breeze in her hair, and a chili cheeseburger in her mouth, she was a happy kid. "You got any jobs lately?" Dirk asked between chews. Her spirits plummeted. Motto number two: Happiness is short-lived. Enjoy it while you've got it. Something to tattoo on her right buttock for balance. "No. Nada. Zilch. Not one ka-ching in the old cash register in over a month now," she admitted. "Private detecting may pay more than being a cop did, but work's spotty." "Maybe you oughta drop your standards a little, start taking on those wayward hubby spying jobs. You must get a call a day for those." "Try two or three a day. If I wanted to hang around outside quickie motels and take amateur porno pictures with zoom lenses, I'd be rollin' in the dough."

"So?" "So what? There has to be a more noble way to pay the bills than providing evidence for wives who probably knew they should leave their scumbag husbands years ago." "You could still be a cop, rousting druggies and getting stuck with dirty needles, frisking scanky hookers and chasing scrawny crack heads through back alleys, gettin' your favorite T-shirts bled on.... Now that's noble." Savannah looked across the picnic table at her comrade-in-arms who, in spite of the additional wrinkles and crow's-feet and the slightly thinner hairline, still had a wicked gleam in his eye when he talked about being a cop. There was still plenty of life in the old dog, and she wasn't exactly ready to lie down, roll over, and play dead either. Besides, Dirk was never happier than when he had something to piss and moan about. He lived to gripe. Savannah glanced around the park, enjoying the rare moment of relaxation with her old friend. Dirk seldom took a day oft, and when he did, he usually spent it fishing off the end of the city pier. But the tide and the winds were high this morning, and the pier had been closed, spoiling Dirk's recreational plans and dashing his hopes of snagging a free dinner. Hence, Savannah had been graced with the pleasure of his company. And even though his disposition might not be the rosiest or his conversation the most scintillating, Dirk was as comfortable and well worn as her blue terry-cloth bathrobe. And she loved both him and the robe, whether she would have admitted it or not. In the middle of her savor-the-moment reverie, she heard a mild disturbance on the other side of the park, near the sandbox where the children were playing. A couple of grungy, street-worn guys were standing nose to nose, fists clenched, arguing about something. Because of the proximity of the children, Savannah studied the situation with the eye of a former peace officer. Dirk, too, had laid down his burger and was listening with grudging interest as the argument escalated to a shouting match. More than one curse floated through the summer air, references to unnatural sexual acts and equally unsavory intimate relationships with immediate family members. "Damn it. Not on my day off," he grumbled, rising from the bench. "And I know one of those idiots, too. The blond one's a C.I. of mine." Reluctantly, Savannah left her own lunch to the mercy of marauding seagulls and followed him as he strode across the grass toward the pair. "One of your informants?" she said, running a couple of steps to catch up with him. "Did he ever give you anything worthwhile?"

Dirk snorted. "Naw. He just rats out anybody who's on his shit list, anybody he wants to get even with." "Hmmm ... he's not long for this world if he keeps doing that. Somebody's bound to punch his time card."

"Not soon enough to suit me." As they reached the middle of the park, the tall, skinny blond guy spotted them and abruptly left his opponent, a husky black fellow dressed in leather garb, draped in chains, and bristling with silver studs. "Hey-hey, you, Coulter!" the blond yelled as he hurried toward Dirk and Savannah. "Come 'ere! I got a complaint to make!" The children in the sandbox had stopped playing and were watching with their concerned mothers as the guy ran up to Dirk and grabbed him by the arm. "Let go of me," Dirk said, shaking his hand away. "What's the matter with you, cussin' like that in front of women and children? You got no couth?" "He ripped me off! That dude sold me bad rocks, man. I want you to arrest him." At the word "arrest," the dude in question began to not-so-nonchalantly stroll away in the opposite direction. "Go get him, man! He cheated me out of fifty dollars, cuz. Fifty big ones! That's gotta be a felony, right?" Dirk fixed him with an evil eye. "What are you telling me, you moron? That somebody sold you some bad dope? Is that what you're trying to say to me?" Savannah grinned. Even the slowly retreating guy in leather had a smirk on his face. "Yeah, man!" the blond wailed, holding out his open palm, which contained a couple of tiny wads of cellophane plastic, wrapped around small cream-colored squares of something that looked like soap. "He sold me macadamia nuts, man! Fuckin' macadamia nuts instead o' rocks! What does he think I'm gonna do with these ... make friggin' chocolate chip cookies? I ain't no Mrs. Fields, man! Lock him up, detective! But get me my fifty dollars back first."

Dirk stared down at the bindles in the guy's hand for what seemed like forever. Savannah stifled a snicker. Then Dirk growled and batted them out of his hand. The misnomered contraband sailed through the air and handed in some nearby shrubs. "Are you stupid or just plain dumb?" Dirk asked him. He grabbed him behind the neck and gave him a shake like he was a puppy who had just piddled on the good rug. "You want me to intervene because you got ripped off in a drug deal? You expect me ... on my day off, no less ... to arrest some guy for selling you macadamia nuts instead of rock cocaine? Is that what you're telling me?" "Well ... I ..." "You come here to a city park, where mothers bring their babies to play, and you make a damned drug deal, and you have the nerve to complain to me when you get ripped off? Why, I oughta-" "Actually ..." Savannah said, stepping between them, "Dirk, you oughtn't to. Really...." She nodded toward the dozen or so wide-eyed children and their mommies who were hanging on every word. Dirk released his informant, who seemed to quickly realize that this situation wasn't going at all the way he wanted. Not only was the police detective not interested in dispensing any justice his way, but his dishonest dealer was about to leave the park. "I can't believe this," the blond sputtered. "So much for 'protect and serve,' huh? So much for keeping the peace and all that crap." He left Dirk and rushed over to the shrubs, where he retrieved his bindles. Then he hurried after the guy in the leather jacket, who was waiting for a break in traffic to cross the street and exit the park. "Can you believe that?" Dirk said, watching him and shaking his head.

"Oh, yes. I believe anything. That was a close one, huh, buddy?"

Dirk nodded. "No kidding. If they'd actually come to blows I'd be spending my day off dragging them to the house and doin' fives. The last thing I want is paperwork when I'd rather be fishing." "Or hanging out with me if the pier's closed."

He gave her a sideways grin. "Yeah, or hanging with you." From the other side of the park, they could hear the blond yell, "See if I ever buy anything from you again, you asshole!"

The black man slowly turned back toward him.

"Huh-oh," Savannah said. "I've got a bad feeling about ..."

"What's the matter, you candy-ass pimp?" the blond continued. "Did that crack-whore mamma of yours use up all of your stash? Is that why you're out sellin' macadamia nuts instead of the real thing, huh?" Dirk sighed. "Eh, shit." Savannah nodded. "Yep." Less than four seconds later, Dirk's least favorite confidential informant was on the ground, getting the daylights pummeled out of him by an angry dope dealer who didn't seem to mind at all that a police detective was casually making his way toward him across the park lawn. Savannah strolled along beside Dirk, her arm laced companionably through his. They looked like a couple of old folks taking their daily constitutional as a few yards away fists flew, along with colorful curses, bits of spit, some handfuls of hair, and finally ... a bloody tooth. "I'll help you fill out the fives," she told Dirk in her best consoling voice.

Continues...


Excerpted from Cereal Killer by G.A. McKevett Copyright © 2004 by G.A. McKevett and Kensington Publishing Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2006

    3 1\2 stars Plus-sized Reid has one large minus.

    This is a decent and often witty detective story. Like many mystery series, its appeal depends on the appeal of the protagonist. The idea of a plus-size woman with both ability and self-esteem is a nice addition to the story. But why can't Savannah eat a well-balanced diet rather than scarfing down sugary desserts every dozen pages or so? Savannah doesn't like stereotypes of overweight people as sugar-addicted gluttons, but she fits the stereotype too well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2004

    Who's killing the full-figure models?

    Savannah and the Magnolia Detective Agency are at it again. When full-figured model Cait Connor dies from heat stroke, everyone figures she had too risky a regimen, especially with her eating disorder. But when a second full-figured model, Kameeka Wills, is killed, they begin searching for suspects. Turns out they were both working on a new ad campaign for Wentworth¿s Slenda Flakes. There is lots of controversy that the cereal doesn¿t remove pounds as advertised, but really adds pounds. Savannah has to go undercover as a full-figured model for her new client to help figure out what is happening. This is definitely new territory for her. Soon a third full-figured model is missing. Dirk, Savannah and the rest of her group are all working against the clock to try to bring her back alive. There seems to be an abundance of suspects. Can they narrow it down to the true guilty party in time? Then Savannah¿s sister shows up on her doorstep. Once again she thinks she is in love and is in hot pursuit. No matter how much Savannah talks to her, she can¿t dissuade her. Why oh why does everyone end up at her house? There is plenty of food in this mystery as well. Savannah loves to have company meetings at the dinner table, and she believes in no one going home hungry. I love this series. Savannah and Dirk have such a great relationship. There is just enough sexual tension to make you wonder, but also plenty of just plain friendship to balance things out. I can¿t wait for the next book to find out what their next adventure will be. Tammy who runs the office for Savannah is terrific too. A sprinkling of Savannah¿s family into the mix really adds to the story line. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2004

    Dessert Books

    All of the Savannah Reid novels are outstanding to say the least. Once you read the first one you will read the entire list...When I finish one I cannot wait for the next one to be written and published....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2003

    exciting hard to put down earthy private investigative tale

    Although she left Georgia to put some distance between her and her family, Savannah Reid is the quintessential Steel Magnolia, a true daughter of the south. After working for the San Carmelita Police Department for a few years and butting heads with her political superiors, she quits, operating her own Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency. <P>Her friend and former partner are having lunch in the park one day when he gets called to investigate a homicide that just occurred. Savannah tags alone when she realizes the victim is Caitlin Connor, a plus size model who is world renown. Not long after that, , another plus size model, is also found murdered and left on the side of the road to make it look as if she was run over by a car while jogging. Both Caitlin and Kameeka were working for the same advertising agency starring in a cereal commercial so there is a connection between the two models. When a third model is kidnapped, the agent who is represented all three woman hires Savannah to find the perpetrator and try to find the third victim before she is found dead as well. Savannah, her police friend Dirk, and some other allies work the case before another death occurs. <P>A full figured woman, Savannah Reid is comfortable in her own skin and doesn¿t let other people¿s opinions of her weight bother her. She can be tough, sympathetic and bullheaded, all at the same time but readers will love her because she cares about her family, friends and people in general. CEREAL KILLER is an exciting hard to put down earthy private investigative tale. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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