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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
First Gear is a work of fiction in the mystery, sleuth and Southern fiction sub-genres, and was penned by author Patricia C. Lee. A Sadie Hawkins mystery novel, this work sees our protagonist Sadie presented with an interesting new opportunity to deal in antiques. But when a mummified body goes missing and a fresh one takes its place, Sadie finds herself the prime suspect for both the theft and the murder. Determined to clear her own name, Sadie turns to unlikely allies to aid in her investigation, and all the while she searches the sins of her past and tries desperately to keep her business afloat for a future she wants to see.
Author Patricia C. Lee has crafted a truly charming and suspenseful novel for fans of cozy mystery fiction who still like a little grit and realism in their reading material. Sadie Hawkins is an enigmatic protagonist who is admirable but far from perfect, and we as readers can follow her ups and downs with empathy and root for her from cover to cover. Lee’s intimate narration style gives us insight into the character and the world as she sees it, and there’s plenty of empowering moments and Southern grit to keep the mood of the novel uplifted. What results is a well-paced mystery plot unfolding around charming characters who react realistically to their settings, making for a truly entertaining read. Overall, I would certainly recommend First Gear to fans of mystery fiction who want a novel that delivers on all levels.