by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of How to Catch a Cat. There is also a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy.
In present-day San Francisco, the mega-CEO of Silicon Valley (known as “the Baron”) has succeeded in bringing the America’s Cup to the coastal city. As the sponsor of the previous winning team, and now the host of the current race, the Baron’s ambitious plans will result in either a spectacular event—or crash with equally impressive failure. Haunting the celebratory race is both the interim mayor Montgomery “Monty” Carmichael (no one is entirely sure how he became mayor), and the Knitting Needle Ninja, a serial killer who has ratcheted up two dozen victims with little sign of slowing down. While Monty will do anything to attach himself to the race that he believes is his ticket to the next election, the Ninja is equally focused on continuing her homicidal path.
The only person aware of the threat facing the regatta attendees is Oscar, a dying man who feels responsible for selling the knitting needles that first inspired the killer. Except for a certain feline, everyone believes that Oscar is dead, including the niece who inherited his antique store. While Oscar attempts to hunt down the Knitting Needle Ninja without revealing his existence, the niece is aided by the cats who own her: beautiful and wise Isabella and ever-hungry Rupert.
Oscar is the only one in on the eerie coincidence of how events of the present are mimicking those of 1775. On an expedition to discover the fog-hidden San Francisco coast, Captain Juan de Ayala navigates the San Carlos with a crew that includes his chef Oscar, the chef’s niece, the incompetent but confession-obsessed Father Monty, two cats, and a crew whose names are disturbingly similar to the people populating city hall. Also on board is a murderer deftly picking off crewmembers at an impressive pace.
Chapters unfolding the tales of both present and the past alternate as their situations align, and it may take the reader a little time to adjust to the shifts, especially considering how the names are nearly the same in both timelines. However, once the rhythm sets in, readers will experience a unique and highly entertaining tale, full of outrageous characters whose flaws are hilarious without becoming ridiculous. Isabella and the niece are often the sole representatives of sanity in this sea of eccentrics and quirky cast members, as even the moon has a narrative chapter. The true highlight of this novel is how both timelines are equally interesting, and the author skillfully balances the suspense in both. The ample amount of humor somehow blends with a rather gruesomely high body count, and Hale never fails to poke fun at the egotistical, the self-important, and the grandiose.
To enter to win a copy of How to Catch a Cat, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Catch,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 11, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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