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Saturday 21 March 2015

✍ Kittens Can Kill: A Pru Marlowe Pet Noir [5] - Clea Simon

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Published by Poisoned Pen Press
Number of pages: 295 
My rating: ★ ★ ★  I liked it 
About the author | VBT Spotlight | Author Q&A

"The dead don’t keep pets.  So when animal behaviorist expert Pru Marlowe gets a call about a kitten, she doesn’t expect to find the cuddly creature playing beside the cooling body of prominent Beauville lawyer David Canaday. Heart attack? His three adult daughters angrily blame drug interactions, feline allergies—and each other. And begin to feud over their father, his considerable estate, and that cute ball of fluff.  While the cause of death is pending, each sister has an axe to grind –with arguments that escalate when David’s partner reads out the will.

Pru’s special sensory talents and sensitivity to animals that caused her to flee the cacophony of Manhattan for the quiet Berkshires add further problems.  The local vet is overwhelmed with money running out. There’s that needy Sheltie and some invasive squirrels? But the dead man’s kitten, his former partner, and his troublesome family keep drawing “wild-girl” animal psychic Pru back in. Despite the wry observations of her trusty tabby Wallis, now the wrongfully accused kitten’s guardian, and the grudging compliance of her cop lover, this may be one time when Pru can’t solve the mystery or save the kitten she wants to believe is innocent.

A single witness knows the truth about that bright spring morning. How far can Pru investigate without risking her own hidden tale?"

Prior to even considering reading this book, ask yourself this question: "Can you cope with a jaded and nosy woman narrator who can talk to animals Dr Dolittle style and sense their traumas and presence á la "Sixth Sense"?
If the answer is no, as you think that is an absolutely ridiculous and annoying concept, you should really give this one a miss.

Also, if you are looking for a cosy novel, this isn't it.
Pru Marlowe is a typical noir character: she has baggage, bad habits and often a bad attitude.  She is very sceptical about people and she is very nosy.  She is not a private investigator and she does not work for the police; she is an animal behaviourist, with a very special talent, which is both a blessing and a curse for her: Pru does not just sense what animals think, she can actually fully understand their language, and read their minds, and they can hers.

Kittens Can Kill is the fifth instalment in the Pru Marlowe Pet Noir series, and the first one I have ever read.

It is well written and fairly engaging, even though at times I found some passages to be a bit slow and rather educational with preachy undertones about animal welfare (which is not necessarily a bad thing).

We get a reasonable insight into the main characters, who are mostly unlikeable, and what had actually happened to the deceased, Mr D Canaday, does not become clear until the very end.
Family feuds and intrigue are plentiful.

All in all, I did enjoy this book and I would definitely read more from this author.
Each book in this series can be read as a stand alone novel.

[ARC received via Netgalley]

About the Author

Clea Simon is the author of the Dulcie Schwartz feline mysteries, the Pru Marlowe pet noir mysteries, and the Theda Krakow mysteries, as well as three non-fiction books, including The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats.

The recipient of multiple honors, including the Cat Writers Associations Presidents Award, she lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jon Garelick, and their cat, Musetta."

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