chez_jae: (Books)
Sunday night, I finished reading The Black Cat Sees His Shadow by Kay Finch. It's the third book in the "Bad Luck Cat" mystery series.

During the local Pumpkin Festival in Lavender, TX, Sabrina comes face-to-face with a woman who looks like they could be twins. Tia is an artist, in town for the festival. She has her young son Damon with her, along with their black cat, Merlin. Merlin looks just like Sabrina's cat, Hitchcock. The similarity in their appearance leads to some misunderstandings, especially when Sabrina is accosted by a man she doesn't know. It turns out that Tia and Calvin Fisher have butted heads before. When Fisher turns up dead, Tia becomes the prime suspect in his murder, and Sabrina is determined to prove her new friend is innocent.

In addition to trying to solve a murder, Sabrina is trying to work on her next novel, keep an eye on her feisty Aunt Rowe, dodge the sketchy attentions of a man who seems to be stalking her, and enter something in the baking contest. Now, to compound her problems, Sabrina's mother has shown up and would like nothing more than for Sabrina to return to Houston, where she belongs.

Well, there was certainly a lot going on! Fisher had no shortage of people who might have wanted him dead, which keeps Sabrina guessing. She also finds herself the target of Detective Patricia Rosales' wrath once more, simply because Sabrina is dating Game Warden Luke, whom Rosales has the hots for. There's also the mysterious appearance of Fisher's wife, who is convinced that her late husband gave something to Sabrina for safekeeping before he died.

Not my favorite in this series. Too many sinister characters, to the point that it was getting tedious. There was no resolution as to how or why Tia and Sabrina looked so much alike, and the motive for murder was weak and bizarre.

Favorite line:I hoped this trek didn't turn out to be some mysterious mission that only a cat would understand.

Good story, in spite of the drawbacks. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Stayed up a wee bit late last night to finish reading The Black Cat Knocks on Wood by Kay Finch. It's the second book in the "Bad Luck Cat" mystery series.

While Sabrina is hard at work on her second novel, her aunt's friend Pearl asks to borrow Sabrina's black cat Hitchcock in order to impart some bad luck on the realtor who submarined Pearl's bid to buy the store next to her candy shop. Sabrina refuses, but when the realtor is later found dead, Pearl is the primary suspect. Sabrina is reluctantly drawn into the investigation when both her Aunt Rowe and her best friend's daughter ask her to do some sleuthing. To compound things, the wicked attorney, whom Sabrina used to work for, has taken up residence in the vacation cottage next door to Sabrina, and Deputy Rosales is hassling Sabrina because she's jealous of the budding relationship between Sabrina and handsome game warden Luke. There's also the small matter of Aunt Rowe wanting to participate in the senior pro rodeo, while Sabrina tries to talk her out of it.

Between dodging her former boss and the bitter deputy, Sabrina asks questions of the people in the victim's life in an effort to learn who may have killed her.

The book was a light, cozy read with enough action to keep the pages turning. The author did a good job of creating several suspects. My biggest turn-off as far as the story is concerned is that Sabrina learned some things that she promised to keep in confidence, yet in the next chapter, she'd be bringing the information up to someone else in an attempt to rattle some cages and get some answers. It was a character flaw that I didn't care for.

Favorite line: I mean, who indicts the candy-store lady for murder?

Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Just finished reading Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch. It's the first in her "Bad Luck Cat Mystery" series.

The story features protagonist Sabrina Tate, who's an aspiring mystery-writer. Divorced, Sabrina has moved to Lavender TX to help care for her Aunt Rowe and to help her aunt run her business of renting cottages to tourists. Sabrina keeps hearing tales of a local legend about a ''bad luck cat' that brings misfortune to anyone whose path he crosses. The black cat leads Sabrina to discover a body in the river, and it turns out to be her father's cousin, Bobby Joe. He was the black sheep of the family and had plenty of enemies, but Aunt Rowe and Bobby Joe had been arguing earlier, and now Rowe looks to be the primary suspect in Bobby Joe's murder.

Sabrina doesn't believe her aunt committed murder, and she can't help but think Bobby Joe's death is somehow connected to another murder, which took place 30 years prior in the same place. Sabrina is compelled to try to put the clues together. In the meantime, she has an upcoming meeting with an agent, and she's supposed to be working diligently on her book. In addition to questioning family, friends and neighbors, Sabrina is concerned that someone means to harm the black cat she's taken to calling Hitchcock.

Wow, lots going on in this book. The characters were well-developed, including some who were transients. Others, I hope to see more of in future books. Hitchcock stole the show, but he may have been more aptly named 'Houdini'. Ha ha! Fun story, and it whetted my appetite for more in the series.

Four out of five:

♦♦♦♦

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