Philippa Watson, a good-natured yet troubled seventeen-year-old, has just moved to Washington, DC. She's lonely until she meets Judy Peabody, and the girls become unlikely friends. Soon, a classmate is found dead in the Anacostia River, murdered, the body stripped and defiled with a mysterious inscription.
... delicious ... To expose the darkness and rot beneath his tale, Copenhaver peppers it with literary allusions...But this 1940s noir homage would not succeed if it weren’t for Judy and Philippa’s chemistry, which promises to deepen — and perhaps combust — over two more books.
... dark, captivating ... appreciative of the influential crime novels and films of the era while condemning the strict misogyny that limited women’s lives in this time ... Copenhaver does a magnificent job of capturing the ever-shifting nature of teenage girls. Intelligent, bold, and passionate, Philippa and Judy are bursting with the possibilities of who they may become ... The diary-entry format also creates a sense of nostalgia, heightened by the compiler’s brief introductions to each chapter. Though her tone is foreboding at times, it is also decidedly affectionate toward Philippa and Judy, and she seems to remember those years fondly. Similarly, the novel itself is nostalgic while also firmly critical of the misogyny and racism of its era. In this way, The Savage Kind accomplishes a self-aware nostalgia, reveling in the good memories while shining a light on the more sinister aspects of the past. The result is a suspenseful and thrilling novel unapologetic in its revitalization of classic elements of crime fiction and its appreciation for complicated, morally gray women seeking agency over their lives, using whatever means possible to do so.
Perfect for readers who love a historical fiction feel with a true mystery at its core, John Copenhaver’s The Savage Kind is a beautiful homage to film noir and an intricately woven tale of murder, secrets, jealousy, and everything we love to find in traditional mysteries ... Tightly-woven, multi-layered, and beautifully written, The Savage Kind will be a treat for mystery lovers, and will thrill fans of Copenhaver’s multiple award winning debut novel, Dodging and Burning.