The Savage Kind

Pegasus Crime. Oct. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781643138091. $25.95. THRILLER
Copenhaver’s (Dodging and Burning) coming-of-age crime novel opens in 1948; impressionable 17-year-old Philippa Watson and her family have just moved to Washington, DC. At the Metro Baptist Bible School, Philippa meets the enigmatic Judy Peabody. The girls are quite different from each other but become fast friends, while attracting the attention of their English teacher, Christine Martins. Miss Martins engages Philippa and Judy with her love of detective books, which she lets Philippa and Judy borrow. One day, Philippa is returning a book to her teacher when she witnesses Miss Martins struggling with a man in the shadows. After the incident, Miss Martins becomes withdrawn and then goes missing. When another classmate is found dead with a strange note attached to their defiled body, Philippa and Judy team up to discover what happened to their beloved teacher and their classmate, while grappling with their burgeoning feelings for each other. Long-buried secrets rise to the surface, the threat of a killer nearby looms, and Philippa and Judy need to uncover the truth before the murderer claims another victim.
VERDICT Copenhaver’s latest is jam-packed with noir themes and plot twists. Sure to please fans of queer fiction and twisty mysteries.
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