Disclosure: I received a copy of this book via LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program in exchange for reviewing it on LibraryThing.

Elvis and the Grateful Dead
A Southern Cousins Mystery
by Peggy Webb

An Elvis impersonator festival and contest should be full of sequins, crooners, good music and food–especially when it’s being held in the King’s hometown. But when someone starts picking off the impersonators, it’s up to Callie Jones, her estranged mystery man ex-husband, and her basset hound Elvis (who IS the reincarnation of the King) to solve the mystery and keep cooking cousin Lovie out of the Jailhouse.

The good:
The story is told by both Callie and Elvis (the dog). Their voices are very distinct and amusing. Elvis spends a lot of time “singing” references, which can be a little distracting but I can imagine a friend of mine’s basset hound doing this. 

Well developed secondary characters. Though I never really felt for the Elvis’s who were being killed, I could completely recognize some of the other town characters. Callie’s Mom was delightfully outrageous and many will be able to identify a beloved Uncle who is ready to lend an ear, helping hand, and sage advice. 

I didn’t figure the mystery out until the end. That’s always a challenge for me, because very often one sees it coming and then you have to decide whether or not to slog on through. 

The bad:
Webb occasionally switches narration mid-chapter. That was a little confusing the first time as usually you got a fresh chapter.

Callie is obsessed with having children and a “good father” to go with that. Certainly that’s a big part of her character but the dwelling on having babies and how her ex isn’t good father material makes her less dynamic.

The confusing not-quite-ex-husband thing. Personally, I can’t say I’d let my soon-to-be-ex wash my back (literally) if it was serious enough that we were divorcing. It’s clear that he doesn’t want the divorce, but Callie’s a confused bundle of nerves. She vacillates from sleeping with her ex husband in Chapter 2 to a possible new love interest by the end of the book, which was a little overdone for me.

There’s some definite male as heroic rescuer that gets a little old. The whole idea of always needing a big strong man to rescue one grated a bit.  

Elvis’ constant singing could certainly get old after a while if one isn’t a fan of the King.

Slightly over-referenced book one of the series. I felt like I almost didn’t need to read it because everything was rehashed in book two.

What I’d like to see more of:
The relationship between Callie and her mother. It reminded me a bit of Donna Andrews’ style, which I adore, and I’d like to see more of that.

A very cute addition to the cozy mystery section. Book one is going on the hold list at work.  Share with your animal and cozy mystery lovers.