Imbrifex Books (2017)
Reviewed by Anna Riley for Reader Views (10/17)
As in the words of the Talking Heads, “Psycho killer, Qu’est-ce que c’est?” author H.G. McKinnis captures readers in her debut novel, “A Justified Bitch” with quirky Helen Taylor. Helen speaks to her dead husband, has lots of cats, and sells “antiques” at a jockey lot, looking like a straight-out demented serial killer. When murder erupts in Helen’s sordid neighborhood the only question is did she do it?
McKinnis does a clever job of combing wit, suspense, charm, and family trials delivering a fast paced read with heart. Readers follow along like a fly on the wall as Helen, Cleo, and Detective Madison deal with obstacles as they occur after one of crazy Helen’s cats brings her neighbors severed finger to her doorstep. The whole book is a thrill ride that will tug at your heart strings. The entire time I felt entranced with Helen’s wit and ease of being completely comfortable with talking to her dead husband on the streets, and with those she met. Even more so I loved how her new friends played along like they could see him as well. Who knows maybe Bobby was really there?
I also loved how Helen viewed people, for instance, “her new friend who looked like a green M&M.” Every character has depth and personality, even the minor characters in the book, which causes readers to become attached to each one. I was guessing till the end whether or not Helen did it, and she was as well!
“A Justified Bitch” by H.G. McKinnis is great for teens, adults, and anyone who wants a great read on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s also great for those who love to solve the mystery before the book ends. It took a different twist than I expected, so good luck to you sleuths out there! I also learned a new perspective on mental health in this book. Crazy isn’t always as it seems. I really enjoyed this story and would love to hear from Helen and her family again, and see where their life has taken them.