For a book lover like me, it’s like my birthday and Christmas combined when one of my favorite authors has not just one, but two new releases coming out at the same time. I reviewed Clea Simon’s Grey Expectations, which came out on April 1, last week.
Cats Can’t Shoot, the second in Simon’s Pet Noir series featuring pet behaviorist (and psychic) Pru Marlowe, was just released on Tuesday. I received advance copies of both books from the author, and it was hard to decide which one to read first. I also knew from previous experience of reading Simon’s cat themed mysteries that it’s not wise to start reading unless I know I have some uninterrupted time, because they’re all impossible to put down.
Cats Can’t Shoot opens, quite literally, with a bang. Pru gets a call that there’s been a cat shooting, which infuriates her. As an animal behaviorist and psychic, she cannot stand the thought of animal cruelty, and she is determined to help the traumatized cat. When Pru finds out that the cat is actually suspected of doing the shooting by accidentally setting off a rare dueling pistol, she quickly realizes that there is more to this case than meets the eye. Could the white Persian really have killed her owner? Pru gets drawn into the murder investigation, and with the help of her cranky and opinionated tabby cat Wallis, and assorted other animals, she tries to find the killer.
The expertly drawn plot keeps the reader engaged, but, as with all of Simon’s books, it’s the characters, both human and animal, that make this book special. Pru is a fascinating, and likeable, protagonist. She feels like a real person, flaws and all. Her taste in men leaves a lot to be desired, she’s got a temper, and she tends to build walls around herself. Her ability to talk to the animals both helps and hinders the investigation, much to the chagrin of Wallis, who often gets frustrated with Pru’s limited ability to understand what the assorted critters in the story are trying to tell her. From a gay bichon named Bitsy who insists that his real name is Growler, to a Siamese named Pickles who would prefer to be addressed as Princess Achara, the animals try to point Pru toward the killer. Even a ferret named Frank and a bunny named Tadeus get in on the action. Simon handles Pru’s communication with the animals with great skill and sensitivity, showing the author’s deep love for all creatures.
Much to my delight, Wallis got a bigger role in this book than she had been given in Dogs Don’t Lie. I fell in love with the cantankerous feline in the first book, and came to like her even more in this one.
This book is a must read for lovers of cat fiction and cozy mysteries. And while you can read it as a stand alone, why not treat yourself to both books. As with all series novels, part of the fun is not just in the story itself, but in revisiting the characters. It’s like getting together with old friends after a year long absence. I can’t wait for my next visit with Pru, Wallis, and the others in another year.
Clea Simon has generously offered one autographed copy of this book to go to one lucky winner. To enter the giveaway, tell me in a comment why you’d like to win this book. For an additional chance to win, tweet about this giveaway or share on Facebook, and post the link in a separate comment. This giveaway ends Friday, April 13 .
Clea Simon is the author of the Dulcie Schwartz and Theda Krakow mysteries and the nonfiction The Feline Mystique – On the Mysterious Connection Between Cats and Their Women as well as several other nonfiction books. For more information about Clea, please visit her website or her blog.
I received an advance reading copy of this book from the author. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Coming Wedneday: an interview with Clea’s cat Musetta