Every Body on Deck (Savannah Reid Series #22)

Every Body on Deck (Savannah Reid Series #22)

by G. A. McKevett

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496700834
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 04/25/2017
Series: Savannah Reid Series , #22
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 73,136
File size: 789 KB

About the Author

G.A. McKevett is the pseudonym of a well-known author, Sonja Massie. She is currently working on the next Savannah Reid mystery. Readers can visit her website at www.sonjamassie.com.

Read an Excerpt

Every Body on Deck

A Savannah Reid Mystery


By G. A. McKevett

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2017 G.A. McKevett and Kensington Publishing Corporation
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4967-0083-4


CHAPTER 1

"Savannah, that's the third disturbance call this week! You gotta get your grandmother under control, girl." Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter switched off his cell phone and jammed it into the inside pocket of his leather bomber jacket. "I don't want the chief calling me on the carpet about her no more. I can get in plenty of trouble all on my own, thank you. I don't need any help from your relatives."

Savannah Reid didn't bother to ask for the gory details. She just sighed, turned the ruby red 1965 Mustang around, and headed out of town, toward the trailer park where her grandma had recently relocated.

"Darlin', have you ever noticed," she said, her Southern drawl even more pronounced than usual because she was annoyed, "that when she's baking you banana bread, she's 'Granny?' But the minute she does something a wee bit out of line, all of a sudden she's 'your grandmother'?"

"A wee bit outta line?" He gave a loud snort that made her jump.

Wow, he's really irked, she warned herself. Usually, when he was aggravated, he just gave the occasional cringe-worthy liquid sniff.

"She assaulted her neighbor," he said. "Clobbered him with a book."

Savannah snickered. "Just a couple of little harmless whacks about the head and shoulders with a New Testament."

"New and Old Testaments. She beat the crap outta him with the whole Bible. Large print, I believe. The thing weighed a ton. She coulda killed him. Or at least given him a concussion."

"Gran's in her eighties. Of course it was large print." She snickered. "Sorta brings new meaning to the term 'Bible thumper,' huh?"

He didn't laugh. She turned and searched his face. Not even a trace of a Dirk smirk. So she tried another tack. "Besides, it was Ol' Man Biddle. Shoot, you lived by him and his old lady for years. You know yourself what an ornery peckerwood he is. Not to mention a pervert. If my Granny Reid hit him, he deserved it."

"But isn't she a Baptist or a Methodist or something like that? Isn't hitting him with the Good Book kinda sacrilegious or something?"

Savannah shrugged. "It's what she had in her hand when she saw him peeping through her window."

Dirk opened the glove compartment and took out a plastic bag filled with cinnamon sticks. "The chief thought it was kinda cute the first time. But he took a dim view of her smacking Biddle around a second time, and with a cast iron skillet."

"Again, it's what she had in her hand. A weapon of opportunity. Biddle should've known better than to go skulking around her trailer two nights in a row. Apparently, he's a slow learner."

Poking one of the cinnamon sticks into the corner of his mouth, Dirk said, "You're going to have to explain to her that this isn't Georgia. Bible whackin' and skillet smackin' ain't as widely accepted here on the West Coast as they are in the rural South. Since she's moved to California, she's turned into a juvenile delinquent."

Savannah drove the red pony off the main highway and onto the pothole-pocked road that led to Shady Vale, one of the area's two trailer parks.

The picturesque, seaside resort town of San Carmelita had approved zoning for one mobile home park — an elegant, beachfront community, tastefully landscaped with copious palm trees, rockeries adorned with succulents, and the occasional water feature. Highly selective, the home-owners association of Pacifica Harbor Park thoroughly vetted every potential inhabitant, insuring that only the most respectable and law-abiding members of society were invited to live among them.

Granny Reid had submitted her application and was anxiously awaiting their approval. Until then, she was stuck with the rest of the miscreants in Shady Vale. The "other" park.

Dirk was all too familiar with the community himself, having lived there for most of his adult life, until marrying Savannah and moving into her small, midtown home. Better digs was just one of the many upticks that marriage had brought him, along with a steady stream of home-cooked meals, cable TV, and an honest-to-goodness love life.

He was, for the most part, a deliriously happy married man.

Except when his in-laws broke the rules of society, and he was assigned the task of corralling them.

Just outside the city limits, at the end of the bumpy and broken road, past some neglected orange groves and beyond a windbreak of ancient eucalyptus trees, sat an assortment of house trailers. A baker's dozen. Rusty and decrepit, they were unlikely to ever be called "mobile homes" again. At least, not without a hearty amount of scrubbing, some skillful bodywork, and a spray painting.

In general, the residents of Shady Vale weren't known for being overly ambitious when it came to even basic home maintenance, let alone beautification.

As Savannah drove past the row of fragrant, gray green eucalyptus trees, she steeled herself for what might lie ahead. Granny Reid was a peaceful, God-fearing, law-abiding woman who was mostly known for her piety, good humor, and the triple-chocolate cakes she baked and delivered to members of the community who were in need.

In her hometown of McGill, Georgia, many of her neighbors had found those cakes — as well as pots of homemade soup, loaves of freshly baked bread, and tins of pecan fudge — on their doorsteps when sickness, financial hardships, family problems, or death itself had visited their homes.

When Gran had first moved to San Carmelita and taken over Dirk's old trailer, Savannah had seen her extending the same warm, neighborly kindness toward her fellow Shady Valeians.

But then Ol' Man Biddle had commenced with his tomfoolery. Some new ruffian residents had moved into the tiny community, individuals who were a bit more unruly and untidy than the less-than-stellar status quo.

The situation had been rumbling downhill ever since.

Savannah heard her husband groan, and she didn't need to ask why, as the park came into full view ahead. It looked like 90 ninety percent of the town's law enforcement personnel was there. Several radio cars blocked the entrance, their red and blue lights flashing. Inside the property were more police vehicles, uniformed cops galore, two fire engines, copious ambulances, and a large black truck with red and gold lettering on the side that identified it as belonging to the Hazardous Materials Response Team.

"Hazmat?" they both said in unison.

"Lordy mercy," Savannah whispered.

Dirk shook his head. "What the hell's she done now?"

"I just hope she's all right." Savannah's heart was racing as she strained to see if anyone was being loaded into the ambulances. But the EMTs were nowhere in sight. The only individuals milling about were dressed in white protection garb, with hoods and self-contained breathing apparatuses over their faces.

Dirk took a long drag on his cinnamon stick and said, "I'll bet she fed that bloodhound of hers chicken livers again. She should know better. It gives him the worst gas I've ever smelled in my life."

In the interest of maintaining matrimonial harmony — at least what little there was at the moment — Savannah decided not to mention that Colonel Beauregard's chicken liver gas expulsions were not the worst thing she had ever smelled. Without a doubt, Dirk had won the blue ribbon in that contest after an all-you-can-eat buffet extravaganza at Casa Jose's. Savannah and the cats had fled the toxic cloud in the middle of the night, evacuating to the living room sofa, because the air in the master bedroom had become dangerous to any creature possessing a nose and set of lungs.

But Savannah decided to keep her mouth shut and spare Dirk that trip down memory lane.

There was, after all, a time to correct those around you and a time to just sit silently and smugly, reveling in the self-satisfaction that they were just purely wrong.

This was one of those times.

Biting her tongue, she pulled the Mustang as close as she could to the area that had been cordoned off by yellow police barricade tape. As soon as she had parked, they both jumped out and rushed to the nearest squad car. The uniformed patrolman inside recognized them and rolled down his window.

Nodding to Dirk, he said, "Mornin', Detective. Not surprised to see you show up, this being your old stomping grounds and all." He flashed Savannah a grin. "Nice to see you, Mrs. Coulter. How's the sergeant here treating you?"

Savannah returned the smile. "It's still 'Reid,'" she replied, "but I'm enjoying being a Mrs., for sure."

Never thrilled with what he called "pointless chitchat," Dirk cleared his throat and gave the officer his grimmest, no-nonsense scowl. "Whatcha got here?"

The patrolman shrugged. "Don't know. The chief said we should all stay in our units with the windows rolled up until hazmat figures out if it's safe or not."

Savannah shot Dirk a quick look. She was deeply disturbed that her grandmother was in the middle of some sort of hazmat situation, but that concern was closely followed by her dismay at the thought of coming face to face with the police brass.

Years ago, she and they had parted company under less than cordial circumstances. While she didn't have any ex-husbands, she was pretty sure that running into the SCPD bosses felt a lot like rounding an aisle in the grocery store and finding yourself nose to nose with a previous spouse you were happy to be rid of.

If your ex had a gun and a badge and hated you almost as much as you loathed him.

The patrolman gave Savannah a sweet, reassuring smile. "Don't worry. It's the fire chief who's giving the orders here," he explained. "He's the only boss around. At least for now."

Savannah resisted the urge to reach inside the squad car and give the kid a hug. Like every other uniformed peace officer in the SCPD, he obviously knew about her being ousted and his sympathies lay with her. She didn't care so much what a few guys in suits thought of her, as long as the men and women in uniforms were on her side. Like this young man, who had been hired long after her departure, but he had heard her story and aligned himself with her.

Ah. Loyalty among the rank and file.

He deserved a hearty embrace.

But Dirk wouldn't approve. No doubt about it. He cast a dim eye on anything that might compromise his "bad-ass" reputation. Although he definitely had a soft side to his otherwise tough-as-nails persona, few living beings had the chance to see the sweet, mushy version of Dirk Coulter, let alone reap the benefits thereof. That privilege was mostly reserved for his wife and the children, cats, and dogs who happened to cross his path.

In the course of his career Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter had garnered numerous awards: a Certificate of Commendation, a Lifesaving Medal, a Medal of Merit, and even the coveted Medal of Valor.

Those honors aside, Dirk would never receive a Safe-Driving Medal or a Mr. Congeniality tiara and bouquet.

He had no problem with that.

Popularity and the good opinions and well wishes of his fellow human beings were commodities Dirk Coulter could do without.

On the other hand, having been raised as a Southern female, Savannah lived in constant fear that someone, somewhere, might not think she was the finest person walking the face of the earth. She worried about it every day, all day, and it kept her awake at night. Everyone, absolutely everyone, had to adore her.

Even people she couldn't stand the sight of.

She wanted to be Dirk when she grew up someday and not give a flying flapjack what anybody thought of her. But she sincerely doubted that was ever going to happen. Southern belle training went deep.

DNA deep.

She was doomed to a life of people pleasing.

"Thanks," she told the patrolman. "All I want is to find out if my grandma's okay. Did you happen to see a feisty ol' gal running around in a flowered caftan, causing trouble?"

"Silver hair, big earrings, and a bloodhound?"

"That's her!"

He nodded toward the trailer that had formerly been Dirk's, but was now inhabited by Granny Reid and Colonel Beauregard. "When the chief cleared the area, he told her to go in there and not come out. She gave him some lip, but finally did as she was told."

"That sounds like your grandma," Dirk grumbled under his breath.

Savannah feigned surprise and indignation. "A Reid woman ... giving someone lip? Unheard of."

Dirk snorted. "It's the 'did as she was told' part that's unbelievable."

Savannah left the car and hurried toward the trailer.

"Hey!" the patrolman called out to her. "You can't go over there. Not without a mask."

Savannah reached down, pulled the hem of her linen jacket up across her face.

Long ago, she'd been told that in a potentially toxic situation, she should tear off her bra and hold one of the cups over her nose. But she couldn't envision herself arriving at Gran's door wearing her bra on her face instead of her boobs. That would, undoubtedly, lead to more speeches about Southern belle propriety, and she wasn't in the mood. Especially if those speeches were given by a woman who had crossed paths with the law three times in one week.

From the corner of her eye, she could see a couple of the hazmat workers in their white, hooded uniforms scurrying toward her. So she quickened her step and managed to reach the trailer's front door before they could intercept her.

She gave the door a couple of brisk raps. As she waited impatiently for Gran to answer, she turned and realized that Dirk was right behind her. The look of concern on his face went straight to her heart. He might complain about her grandmother from time to time, but he loved Granny dearly and was as concerned about her well-being as Savannah was.

Glancing over her shoulder, Savannah realized that the hazmat workers were nearly upon them. This was no time to stand on formality.

Savannah pushed the door open and hurried inside. Dirk quickly followed, then closed it firmly behind them and threw the bolt.

"Gran? Granny, where are you? It's me, Savannah. Dirk's with me, so don't come out unless you're decent."

An instant later, the small trailer was filled with the plaintive sound of a baying bloodhound, as the Colonel in all of his canine glory came loping out of the bedroom. His long, silky, copper ears and pendulous dewlaps swung from side to side as he galloped toward them, eyes bright, tail wagging.

It was the most excited Savannah had seen him in years.

"I'm in here," called a voice from the bedroom, "changin' clothes. Sit yerselves down and rest a spell. I'll be right out."

Reluctantly, Savannah and Dirk sat on the old school bus seat that had served as Dirk's sofa for many years. Gran's furniture was on its way from Georgia, but until it arrived she was compelled to use what he had left behind. TV trays functioned as end tables. Stacked plastic milk crates doubled as bookshelves, chests of drawers, and dressers.

Gran had borne it all with good humor, saying that everybody ought to have a school bus seat for a couch at least once in their lifetime. But she appeared to be in a far less cheerful mood when she emerged from the back of the trailer, a bundle of clothing under one arm and a highly disgruntled look on her face. Her cloud of silver hair, usually perfectly coiffed without one hair out of place, was a mess. She had a smudge of dirt on one cheek and a small scratch and slight bruise on the other.

Colonel Beauregard scrambled to get out of her way and slid under the bus seat. Once he was semihidden behind Savannah's and Dirk's legs, he poked his long nose out and gave Granny a sad, apprehensive look, his big brown eyes reflecting the guilt of a tormented soul that had committed some grievous sin.

"Yeah, you better hide, you flea-bitten varmint," Gran barked at him. "You're the one that started all this hooey, but I'm the one who'll get blamed for it. You wait and see."

As Gran passed them on her way to the door, Savannah smelled a pungent, acrid odor — one that was all too familiar to anyone associated with law enforcement.

"Wow, Granny!" Dirk said. "You smell like a —"

"Yeah, yeah, I know. I stink like one of those blamed meth labs. Even after a rose bubble bath and lavender bath spray, I can still smell that nastiness in my nose and taste it in my mouth. Here I thought I'd left that mess behind me in Georgia. Who'd a' thought they'd be doin' drugs in a place as nice as California with beaches and palm trees and all?"

Savannah stifled a grin. Drugs in California? Who'd a' thought, indeed?

Gran opened the door and hurled the clothing outside — a tropical print housedress and some undergarments.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Every Body on Deck by G. A. McKevett. Copyright © 2017 G.A. McKevett and Kensington Publishing Corporation. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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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Every Body on Deck 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best in the series. With a twist I didn't see coming. A must read for any Savannah Reid fan! Oh - just read it.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Every Body on Deck - Savannah Reid Mystery Bool\k 22 Author: G. A. McKevett Publisher: Kensington Books Published: 4-25-2017 Pages: 304 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Private Investigator; Cozy Mystery; ISBN: 9781496700827 ASIN: B01JEJC8PM Reviewed For NetGalley and Kensington Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.75 Stars The twenty-second book in the series, but can still be read as a stand alone. The Magnolia crew is hired to protect a mystery author on a murder mystery cruise, but she and her husband leave the cruise without telling the detectives and later turn up dead. Ruled a tragic accident, but Savannah isn't buying it and begins to investigate. Enjoy the beauty of the Land of the Midnight Sun as you get to know these eclectic characters and their quirky personalities. The plot is well written and thought out. The is only one major thing that stands out and that is of the cell phones. Alaska does have working cell phones in the populated areas. So unless a tower is down or sabotage has occurred they should work. Now understand there are undeveloped wild areas, but the populated areas are usually modern and has most conveniences. My rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars. I hope this review is helpful in finding and enjoying G. A. NcKevett's Savannah Reid's Mysteries.
sassi_pants More than 1 year ago
Well, the gang is at it again! This time on a cruise ship to Alaska. The Moonlight Magnolia Agency is hired to protect mystery writer, Natasha Van Cleef, whom has been receiving death threats, but has agreed to an Alaskan Cruise Book tour. This will be an easy assignment, what could go wrong on a cruise ship?!? Savannah and the crew find that statement very far from the truth. With Granny Reid, Dirk's parents, a very pregnant Tammy, and of course Ryan and John- they are off to a wild frontier to confront shifty folks, who claim to be loyal to the Van Cleefs, untamed territory, and wild bears! As with previous 21 Savannah Reid mysteries, you will laugh, cry, and fall in love with the characters all over again. The one thing you won't do is be disappointed. G.A McKevett does it again!!
DebP2016 More than 1 year ago
Every time I read a new installment of G. A. McKevett's Savannah Reid mysteries, I feel I am catching up with friends I have not visited in some months. I am eager to know what they have been up to, what has changed in their lives, and to hear of their latest triumphs in catching the bad guys and making sure they end up paying for their crimes. Each book I read I get to know just a little bit more about these people who have become real to me over the years. McKevett has a way of placing the reader into the story as not just a bystander but a fellow adventurer. Every Body on Deck is a delightful addition to the series, with an unexpected twist of plot and an ending that brought tears to my eyes with its tenderness. As always, the writer's deft way of combining character development and mystery truly makes her characters come alive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Savanah and the crew are at again. Enjoyed every page
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Riveting
FionaST More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy the Savannah Reid series & this one did not disappoint! This time around Savannah, & the entire Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency head out on an Alaskan cruise to protect a famous author who has been receiving threatening letters. Once on board they are introduced to quite a few surprises. Sassy Savannah never gives up, whether it's with family or murder suspects. Lots of laughs, plenty of red herrings, & a phenomenal ending!!
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
Loved! This is another winner in the Savannah Reid Mystery series. In it, a popular author approaches Savannah and her team about providing protection for her after she receives threats. As the author is scheduled to leave on a cruise, the entire Moonlight Magnolia team travels with her on an Alaskan dream cruise. Sometimes, though, dreams turn into nightmares and, almost before they know it, the team is investigating a series of frightening events. This is an engaging mystery with lots of humor that will make you smile even while keeping you guessing as to what's actually happened. It had me turning pages just as quickly as possible. Fans of the genre will love this book. While this is part of a series, it is a stand alone novel. However, you will enjoy it so much more if you've read the prior books in the series and they're so good that you really owe it to yourself to read them all. The author is on my must read authors' list.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
Every Body on Deck featuring plus-sized P.I. Savannah Reid is an exciting addition to this series by G.A. McKevett. Being hired by her favorite mystery author is like a dream come true to Savannah. When famous mystery writer Natasha Van Cleef hires the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency to embark on an Alaskan cruise, Savannah has no idea just what she is in for. Keeping the author alive is her job, even if she has to risk her own life in order to do it. I enjoyed the cruise setting and the actual story itself. This book was filled with wild adventures and I loved hanging out with Dirk's family, I loved Dora in this story. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
Every Body on Deck featuring plus-sized P.I. Savannah Reid is an exciting addition to this series by G.A. McKevett. Being hired by her favorite mystery author is like a dream come true to Savannah. When famous mystery writer Natasha Van Cleef hires the Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency to embark on an Alaskan cruise, Savannah has no idea just what she is in for. Keeping the author alive is her job, even if she has to risk her own life in order to do it. I enjoyed the cruise setting and the actual story itself. This book was filled with wild adventures and I loved hanging out with Dirk's family, I loved Dora in this story. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.