In Devil’s Food, the first book in the Loretta Kovacs thriller series, it’s make-it-or-break-it time for zaftig Loretta when she’s assigned to the ragtag Parole Violators Search Unit, a.k.a. the Jump Squad. All her buttons are pushed when she goes undercover as a desperate dieter at a Florida fat farm in order to nab an embezzler who’s a perfect size 2.
Review: What a fun book! A light, easy read with a little action and a lot of humor.
Loretta is a plus-size woman with a snarky inner voice. She thinks the same things I often do when confronted by peppy, young, skinny people. When she goes undercover at a Florida weight loss center she is confronted by a bouncing aerobics instructor who can’t stand still and a waiter with a calculator to tally her calories as she orders, not to mention the woman she is trying to arrest and the biker who is trying to kill her. But behind the snark, Loretta has some very valid points – “So what’s wrong with being fat?…It’s not like being stupid…”
Joe Marvelli is her new partner at the Jump Squad, a nickname given to the Parole Violators Search Unit). His wife is dying of cancer so his mind is split between doing his job and helping Loretta keep hers, and his wife and family and how he will cope once she’s gone. Internally, Joe proves to be a strong man with a good sense of humor. And he’s loyal to Loretta even though they’ve only been partners for a day. His only drawback is that he occasionally thinks things like, “Too bad she’s so heavy.” However, this is honest – people think like this in real life – so I can’t be too critical.
One character I would love to learn more about was Roger Laplant. He was a pseudo-bad guy, owner of the weight-loss center, and in trouble with the IRS. But it seems that underneath he’s a good guy. When he finds Loretta death in a sauna, thinking she is an undercover IRS agent out to arrest him, he could have left her but he saved her life. He sputters about his early life and I kept thinking, “There’s another story here.” I hope it gets written.