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Gretchen Archer
Double Dose
Davis Way Cole, undercover security operative for a luxurious beachfront casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, tries to keep her toddlers in preschool and find the person responsible for the synthetic nerve agents unleashed in the casino in the eleventh installment of the Davis Way Crime Capers.
Davis Way Cole is having a day, which plays out in this unpredictable and hilarious mystery packed with trouble and action. The 11th installment in the celebrated Davis Way Crime Caper Series, Double Dose finds Davis—a mother, a wife, and undercover security operative in the Bellissimo Resort and Casino—constantly on the move and problem solving. Between the hijinks her twins get into at their fancy pre-school, and the mob trying to sabotage her place of business, to an outbreak of hiccups on the Bellissimo floor, Davis is facing the craziest day of her quite-crazy life—and, for readers, perhaps her most entertaining one, too.

“It’s a rabbit, hiccups, and donuts,” Davis explains, when pressed to identify the emergency that’s shaken her. That captures the book’s spirit. As always, Archer deftly blends mystery and comedy in sharp, lively prose that keeps the pages turning. From the get-go Davis has her work cut out for her, forced into damage control mode in both her business and personal life. With entertaining and eclectic characters, like best friend/partner Fantasy Erb, boss Jeremy "No Hair" Covey, and a havoc-wreaking mob family, Archer packs both the day and novel with fun and surprises, building stakes and excitement all the way to the satisfying conclusion. For all the wild happenings, though, Archer remains attuned to the everyday realities of casino work, motherhood, and what it takes to get a biohazard team dispatched to Biloxi.

Fans of cozy mysteries and beach reads will be overjoyed with this entry, which feels refreshingly vital and inviting for arriving so deep into the series. Readers new to Davis’s adventures should feel comfortable jumping onboard here, as the key relationships and backstory are always clearly sketched out. That said, the earlier books are breezy pleasures, too, well worth catching up on. This is a whirlwind ride, filled with clever solutions to seemingly outlandish problems and an indomitable heroine whose company remains a pleasure.

Takeaway: The uproarious Davis Way Crime Caper Series cleverly blends mystery and comedy.

Great for fans of: Abby Collette’s Body and Soul Food, Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Archer shines in her breezy 11th mystery for undercover casino operative Davis Way Cole (after Double Wide), which takes place over the course of a single day. Recently, Davis’s job working security for the Bellissimo—her husband’s Biloxi, Miss., casino—has taken a backseat to managing her mischievous twins, Bexley and Quinn. Davis’s action-packed Friday begins with the girls bringing birth control pills and a live rabbit to show-and-tell, pushing them closer to expulsion from their ritzy private preschool. Then, at the casino, multiple guests come down with sudden, persistent hiccups around the same time that someone drugs the surveillance team and manipulates the security camera feeds. Harried, Davis sets out to determine whether it’s the work of the Bellissimo’s mob-controlled neighbor casino, the Bling-Bling—and if so, what their motive might be. Archer supplements her amusing, original plot with wry humor and colorful characters, most notably Davis’s casino security colleague, Fantasy. Carl Hiaasen fans will lap up the effortless blend of comedy and crime. (Self-published)