The early McKevetts were clumsy affairs. The dialog lacked authenticity; the jokes were weak, the exposition clumsy, the sentimentality cloying, and the plots threadbare.
They were only sustained by a set of characters headed by Savannah Reid, the ex-cop (fired for obesity) private eye, with her sexually ambiguous relationships in California with Dirk the slob, Tammy the skinny blonde, and Ryan and John the gays, and with her family back home in Georgia, and two enigmatic cats.
McKevett seems to have been learning on the job. The plotting is quite ingenious in this one, which centers on the murders of full-figured models, and carries a commendable crusading message against anti-fat discrimination.
The quality of writing has improved in an amazing way. I loved the area so derelict that "even the graffiti were out-of-date, with references to Watergate and Vietnam". A magnificent phrase that stuck in my memory was "walking along the edge of the road where the scrub brush, sage , and marguerites surrendered to asphalt."
I think I'm two behind catching up with the series (publication date for this was 2004). I'll hurry.