Saving grace

Title: Saving Grace

Author: Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Published: September 23, 2012

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository

Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously in a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. When she flees Texas for the Caribbean, Katie escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and a wicked Bloody Mary habit, but she trades one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. She’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are. As the worst of her worlds collide, Katie drags herself back to the courthouse to defend her new friend Ava, an island local accused of stabbing the senator she’s been sleeping with.

For me, Saving Grace had two parts, the portions set in Dallas, which I didn’t enjoy, and the parts on St. Marcos which I loved.

First Dallas. Katie’s life is a wreck there and to be honest I didn’t like her. She drinks way too much, is pining after a man who doesn’t seem to have any interest in her whatsoever, hates her job, and lets her friends down. Thank heavens she needed closure after her parents deaths and headed off to St. Marcos.

Now, St. Marcos is an entirely different story. A fresh start suits Katie. She meets Ava who helps her relax and, though Ava is a bit on the wild side, they become good friends quickly. But then vacation ends and Katie heads back to Dallas. I didn’t want her to, so I was quite happy when her offer on an abadoned mansion on the island is accepted and she heads back to St. Marcos permanently. To be honest, I wanted to go with her. Warm sun, sand, good food, music, tropical flowers and drinks – sign me up, especially on these cold wintery days.

The mysteries were actually well done, both who killed Katie’s parents and who stabbed the senator. The clues were there and the various suspects, motives and suspicious behaviors, but it didn’t feel like  a typical mystery. That portion of the plot was fairly even with Katie’s journey to becoming sober, putting her old life behind her, starting over. It was as much novel as it was a who dunnit, which I guess explains why it’s advertised as myster/women’s fiction.

And the mansion is haunted, there’s no question about it, but the spirit is a friendly one, at least in her interactions with Katie and her friends.

I was happy to read that this is the first is a planned trilogy. I’m looking forward to reading more of Katie and company’s adventures. And to returning to the islands.

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