A CATastrophic Neighborhood By Maryann Shanesy: Review/Giveaway

Jul 1, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze, Pets

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Although born Teresa, due to a childhood pronunciation faux pas, everyone knows her as Tarsey, and due to a fortunate greeting at a local coffee shop, she met Steve Quinston, a young attorney in the prosecutor’s office, and married him. Two years later, as they ponder starting a family, they seriously start looking for a more family-friendly environment, and due to an article in the paper about the “most desirable neighborhoods in the area,” the two are eager to exchange their loft for a home with all the best amenities and easy access to shopping, schools, and medical facilities. Tarsey was eager to proceed, while Steve was more pragmatic, but it’s hard not to see Bluffington Hills is a perfect “neighborhood” for a budding young family … maybe!

A CATastrophic Neighborhood Earns 5/5 Coincidences … Clever Cozy!
As advertised, Bluffington Hills is a most desirable neighborhood, but can they handle a rather picayune Homeowners Association? The property manager, Minnie Waffenberg, scooters the area on the lookout for any and all violations of the HOA agreement, no matter how trivial. But, the two have found a Victorian that fit their needs and thrilled their bid is accepted … the house on Climbing Rose Lane is theirs! After making things official, a surprise awaited them: a gray cat with green eyes melted Tarsey’s heart.

The neighborhood is almost perfect, discounting their first HOA violation and fine, and Tarsey has a new friend, Amanda, the owner of the local consignment shop. She was also “right time, right place” to offer her expertise altering a dress for Helene, a customer whose regular seamstress, Felicity Irrington, had unexpectedly passed away a few months earlier under suspicious circumstances. Tarsey enjoys the opportunity and learns she and the seamstress had a few things in common as well as a few coincidences, including, it seems, a cat, a gray cat with green eyes. But, what lies behind the quaint neighborhood is disturbing? Is Silver really Felicity’s cat? Was the woman’s death more than just an unfortunate accident? How will they survive Minnie’s constant scrutiny along with an incompetent HOA? Mr. Rogers, where are you!?

MEOW! Maryann Shanesy’s first outing as a cozy mystery author, A CATastrophic Neighborhood, is filled with surprises, some intrigue, and a neighborhood not quite in line with Mr. Rogers’ vision. Although a few friendly faces and cooler heads reside, it’s filled with karma-worthy antagonists, incompetence, confrontations, and a fascinating mystery. However, as with many cozy mysteries, this story doesn’t use a traditional crime first and investigation second formula, which isn’t bad, it just took a few chapters to grasp that. Readers, like me, definitely will see a few perfect choices for “victim” in true cozy fashion, but it isn’t until well into the drama when our protagonist starts to receive threatening calls and a close encounter of the intimidating kind. Of course, Tarsey and her friends continue asking questions making someone nervous. There are other pressing issues – some annoyances, some life-threatening – that ramp up the intrigue to a surprise confrontation and arrest.

Beside the drama itself, I look at the lead character as a determiner of how much I’ll enjoy the whole book, and Tarsey is quite a unique character to whom I really took a shine. She’s satisfied with her secretarial job at a non-profit, sees sewing and gardening as more than just a hobby, and her intuitive nature gives her insight into people’s emotions. I enjoyed the fact she uses crystals and wears a bracelet of stones for protection, and although enjoyable, the “new age” focus is not a main element. I like Shanesy’s writing style, the neighborhood dynamic and various personalities she created, hints of trouble, and possible felonies explored, and even though the intensity didn’t occur until well into the book, it was still an entertaining read I recommend.

Be a Big Fan of Maryann Shanesy!
From the book: Maryann Shanesy is a native of Maryland who has always enjoyed writing. A lifelong lover of mysteries and anything gardening, she is a pet momma to a rescue dog and cat that brighten her life. She and her husband have two wonderful daughters and live in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She hopes you will enjoy her first cozy mystery.

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Enter to win an ebook copy of A CATastrophic Neighborhood by Maryann Shanesy by making a comment below about: (1) your dream neighborhood: Beverly Hills? SoHo? Etc?, (2) your favorite music genre, or (3) are you a dog or cat person?, or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “cat,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 8, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. My dream neighborhood: right here in Reedley California!
    Favorite music: bluegrass, especially bluegrass gospel
    Cat person all the way!

  2. I tend to be more of a cat person.

    • My dream neighborhood is is in Michigan and I’m definitely a cat person, but I love dogs too. Would really love to read the book, love cats in books.

  3. We have a winner!



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