chez_jae: (Books)
I've been so busy that I haven't had time to post about the book I finished on Thursday. Sheesh.

The book was Catch as Cat Can, which is part of author Claire Donally's "Sunny and Shadow" mystery series.

A shop selling fresh fish has opened next door to the small tourist/travel office where Sunny works. Her cat Shadow is sufficiently intrigued that he hitchhikes to town with Sunny a few times to mooch fresh fish from the owner, Neil Garret. When someone is murdered in Neil's store, Sunny learns that he's been in a witness protection program, and now the Feds are in town, and Sunny's boyfriend, Chief Investigator Will Price, is also on the case. Neil's alibi is shaky, and he becomes a suspect, but Sunny doesn't believe he'd harm anyone. Her old, investigative journalist instincts kick in, and she soon becomes embroiled in the mystery.

Good story, although the author didn't provide any information to allow me to connect the dots until quite late in the story. Boo on that!

Favorite line: Sooner or later, you'll have to go to sleep. And then, when you least expect it, I'll jump on you.
That was the "thoughts" of Shadow, the cat!

Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Woot! I never set out to read a hundred books this year, but I'm quite proud of my accomplishment, in any case.

I just finished reading Hiss and Tell, which is part of author Claire Donally's "Sunny and Shadow" mystery series.

With a local, high-society wedding looming, Sunny is asked to brush off her journalist and photography skills and go to a scheduled press conference to take pictures. Later, the owner of the local paper asks her to come with him to investigate some lights on the cliffs where the family's compound resides. Sunny ends up taking photos of security removing the body of a woman from the water. The bride-to-be wants to know what happened to her friend, and she asks Sunny to join the family at their compound as an embedded journalist. Sunny jumps at the chance, not knowing how distraught her leaving makes her cat, Shadow. After Sunny returns home to fetch more clothing, Shadow takes the opportunity to hitch a ride back to the compound with her.

In the meantime, an old, journalistic flame of Sunny's is in town, and he tries to convince her to help him look into an old legend of a blackmailer known as the Taxman. Sunny dismisses Randall's speculation as urban legend, but as she spends time with a family of politicians, she begins to realize that blackmail could well be a motive for murder.

The story moved along at a good pace. I figured out who dunnit early, but the author threw out enough red herrings to make my conviction waver at points. Shadow caused no end of hilarious trouble while on the loose at the compound, and Sunny's growing relationship with Will was enjoyable to read about.

Favorite lines:
♦ "We might see some seals over on Appledore Island." / "Which was not named after the guy who taught Harry Potter..."
♦ Apparently the furniture gets harder use here in boy-land...
♦ "No demon speeders rushing to get last-minute bargains will avoid the long arm of the law."


Fun, exciting story! Five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading Last Licks, which is the third book in Claire Donally's "Sunny and Shadow" mystery series.

When Sunny's odious boss, Ollie the Barnacle, breaks his leg and ends up in rehab, it's up to Sunny to deliver things to him from the office. Her father, Mike, insists on going to visit Ollie, because it's the thing to do. Mike discovers that Ollie's roommate is an old friend of his, and soon, he's visiting the rehab center on his own to visit with both Ollie and Gardner. In the meantime, Sunny's cat Shadow is intrigued with the scent of one of the therapy cats that he can smell on Sunny's clothes when she returns home.

When Ollie's roommate, Gardner, dies suddenly in the night, Ollie swears it was murder. He wants Sunny and her boyfriend, constable Will Price, to investigate. Sunny isn't convinced it was murder, but she agrees to launch an investigation. Soon, she realizes that there are several potential suspects, but putting together means, motive, and opportunity is proving to be a challenge.

I didn't enjoy this book as much as the others in the series, but it was still a good read. It was nice to see a more human side to Ollie and to meet some new characters, including Portia, the therapy cat that Shadow was so enamored of.

Favorite line: Sunny wanted to get this meeting back on track before Ollie made a grab for her pickle. I admit it--lines referencing pickles just amuse me!

Giving this one three of five for being rather average:

***
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading my current book Cat Nap by Claire Donally. This is the second installment in her "Sunny and Shadow" mystery series.

When Sunny accompanies her friend as Jane goes to confront her ex-husband, Jane finds Martin dead in the office of his veterinary practice. With Jane at the top of the list of suspects, Sunny begins looking into the matter. She uncovers a string of affairs, a deal with eastern European mobsters, and clients who had a beef with the good vet.

In the meantime, Sunny's cat Shadow has darted out of the house in the middle of winter, and Sunny is anxious to find him.

The story was interesting, if predictable. I figured out whodunnit within the first half of the book. Still, some things caught me by surprise, and overall, it was a good read. Giving this one three out of four:

♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
I just completed reading The Big Kitty, which is the first in author Claire Donally's "Sunny and Shadow" mystery series.

Sonata "Sunny" Coolidge has left NYC and returned to her small home town of Kittery Harbor, ME to help her ailing father. She had to give up her job at a large city newspaper and settle for a low-paying job at a tourist office. The town's resident Crazy Cat Lady, Ada Spruance, asks Sunny to help her find a winning lottery ticket that she has misplaced in her home.

When Sunny goes to Ada's, she finds her neighbor dead at the bottom of her cellar stairs. While the death appears accidental at first, Sunny grows suspicious when another neighbor insists that Ada never used those stairs, because she was afraid of falling down them. Sunny begins asking questions, and soon finds her own life in danger.

In the meantime, one of Ada's multiple cats, named Shadow, follows Sunny home and adopts her. A local constable takes an interest in the case, and in Sunny, and there is a budding romance between them.

The book was fast-paced, with plenty of potential suspects. I have a couple more books in the series, and I anticipate they'll be as enjoyable as this one was.

Four stars:

★★★★

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