by Cynthia Chow
Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this review.
Allison Cuddahee, owner of Mercy, South Carolina’s pet rescue/no-kill shelter, knows a cat who travels on his own to return home always makes national news. When a feline named Clyde treks over two hundred miles to find his cancer-stricken human, it’s sure to be a media sensation. The additional hook of owner Norm Jeffrey’s death before they could be reunited makes the story more irresistible. Jillian agrees to foster the massive tabby but soon finds her lawn trampled by reporters salivating for a story sure to pull at viewers’ heart strings. Clues indicate Jeffrey’s death might not have been natural. It’s only a matter of time before Jillian’s best friend, Deputy Candace Carson, is plagued by media interference and their wrong conclusions. The arrival of an inexperienced but ambitious weather girl, Emily Nguyen, means Jillian will have to stay on her toes to protect Clyde and find him the safest home possible.
When Clyde, an escape artist, leads them to another body, Jillian admits reporters haven’t been the only ones to ignore Mr. Jeffrey and focus on the cat. Jillian and her friends look into the surprising life of a man who seemed so distant from his very dysfunctional relatives. The rural aspects of a small community are highlighted—very few secrets, everyone seems connected and neighbors often go out of their way to help one another.
Cat-on-quilts and quilts-for-cats maker Jillian may be an unusual sleuth but her complete devotion to her three Katrina rescue cats means she’ll spare no expense to protect felines. The support and aid of fiancé Tom Stewart, a security expert, certainly helps, especially when he assists with creative GPS’ing to leash in a curious reporter. Jillian’s stepdaughter Kara, the owner and editor of the local paper, is on hand to assist. It’s refreshing to see how their relationship has grown since the death of Kara’s father. Jillian is finally ready to move on in her life with Tom. They have developed a strong, romantic, mature and enviable relationship.
Cat people and cozy mystery lovers will rejoice to see this popular series continue. Strong writing explores family dynamics as well as affection for pets, integral to the plot. The theme of animal welfare is never preachy and even those without animal companions will enjoy the characters and intelligent dialogue. Jillian’s nemesis, the completely Tom-obsessed coroner’s investigator, Lydia Monk, does return to plague Jillian’s life. Thankfully, Jillian has learned how to manipulate Lydia into a controllable adversary. In this seventh of the Cats in Trouble series, Sweeney achieves the difficult task of making the jeopardy and fates of felines as impactful as that of humans, without ever losing the humor and realism that are trademarks of this entertaining author.
To enter to win a copy of The Cat, the Vagabond, and the Victim, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Vagabond,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 23, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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