Nine Lives and Alibis By Cate Conte: Review/Giveaway

Oct 14, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

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

Maddie James has always felt the pressure to live up to her family’s name, what with her father being the CEO of the only hospital on Daybreak Island and her mother a local business magnate and community leader. So Maddie knows that when her sister Sam recruits her and their other sister Val for the Daybreak Island Haunted Halloween Festival, the family’s all-in philosophy will keep Maddie busy juggling tasks to ensure success. Event planner Val will be organizing most of the events, but Maddie and Grandpa Leo will keep the festival feline-focused with their JJ’s House of Purrs cat café hosting a pet costume parade.

For her contribution, Sam has booked celebrity psychic medium Balfour Dempsey, whose mother still lives in town and is proud of her son’s success. Balfour’s handlers are more demanding than Maddie expected, adding to the contract an addendum that makes Balfour’s equally famous cat – Balfour Dempsey, Jr., confusingly enough – the grand poobah and master of ceremonies for the parade. They’re not the only ones insisting on special treatment, as even local residents are willing to pay an exorbitant amount of money for private sessions with the psychic even though a stalker menacingly looms around.

The town seems to be torn between taking advantage of the tourist revenue and not wanting to appear to be kitschy, with the owner of the Inn at Lighthouse Point refusing to allow Balfour to stay despite the publicity it could bring. Maddie’s grandfather steps in to house the psychic, while Maddie herself is worried about how to gather enough pumpkins for a carving contest during a pumpkin shortage. While the cat costume parade and other contests are Maddie’s focus, it’s a larger mystery that may be the biggest draw for the town and the psychic. The ghost haunting the Inn at Lighthouse Point is rumored to be that of Archie Lang, who on October fifth, 1983 fell down an elevator shaft while a maid went missing. The Daybreak Island Gazette owner hopes that Balfour will provide clues with his visions, not only solving the case but maybe winning her an investigative journalism award. When Balfour himself is murdered and Balfour Jr. goes missing, Maddie wonders if the ghosts of the past have returned to haunt those still around in the present.

This seventh in the series brings back all of the characters whom fans have grown to love, if only for brief but memorable appearances. Maddie herself finally has a real, adult relationship, with boyfriend Lucas and his foster dog moving into the home that also houses the cat café. While Maddie doesn’t truly believe in ghosts, Balfour’s eerie insights into her grandmother has her wondering if he was murdered before he resurrected secrets someone needed to keep buried. Despite her family’s legacy and history with Daybreak Island, Maddie is learning that there is much she still doesn’t know about those she’s lived beside since birth. Maddie’s cat JJ may be the one donning a Sherlock Holmes costume, but it’s she who will be delving into the past and uncovering the events from 1983. This is another entertaining pet-friendly mystery that highlights the importance of shelters and animal rescues while crafting a satisfying mystery set in an exuberant Halloween setting.

To enter to win a copy of Nine Lives and Alibis, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “alibis” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 21, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

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 went up this 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.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

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. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. Sounds great!

  3. Just got this from the library.
    Good series. Highly recommend it.

  4. Would really like to read. Sounds like my kind of book.

  5. I love a Halloween mystery, and a cold case besides. Sounds perfect for some fall reading.

  6. Great book title and book cover! Thanks for the chance!

  7. I would love to win this cozy mystery. Just in time for Halloween ?

  8. Sounds like a good one. Count me in. Sarahstar616 at gmail

  9. We have a winner!


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