Saturday, April 20, 2013

THE BIG KITTY by Sunny Donally

Publisher:   Berkley
Date published:   May 2012
ISBN:  978-0425248027
Genre:   cozy mystery
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Following the fright of her father having a heart attack Sunny Coolidge left her job and home in New York and returned home to Kittery Harbour, Maine to care for him. Sunny had planned to return to the big city once things were stable with her dad but her boyfriend, who happened to be her boss at the big city newspaper where she worked fired her not long after she travelled to Maine. With her father needing her care and no reason to return to New York Sunny has taken a job with MAX – the Maine Adventure X-perience as a web-designer.  When the town’s cat lady, Ada Spruance, ventures into the MAX office with a request for help Sunny agrees to help. After all, how hard can it be to find a missing lottery ticket…one that will bring the owner in close to six to eight million dollars.

On the appointed day Sunny ventures over Ada’s house but all isn’t quite well. In fact, it’s pretty far from well—Sunny finds Ada at the bottom of the cellar stairs—dead. While the Sheriff is quick to write the death off as an accident, Sunny isn’t quite sure he’s right. In fact, she’s pretty sure Ada was murdered for the winning lottery ticket. When Sunny returns home she finds one of Ada’s kitties has followed her home.

Well not quite followed. In fact, Shadow, the kitty, hitched a ride back home with Sunny. Well he didn’t exactly hitch a ride. He pretty much made up his mind he was coming and there wasn’t much Sunny could do about it. A cat on a mission will not be deterred from said mission. Shadow quickly endears himself to Sunny and she begins to realize Shadow just might know something about how Ada died. Together they set about finding the killer but how much can one little cat do and his faithful human companion do?

I adored Shadow in Claire Donally’s debut mystery THE BIG KITTY. He isn’t drawn as an over-the-top cat character but is portrayed realistically. While Ms. Donally takes you into his mind she does it in a credible way. Shadow doesn’t baby talk or come across smarter than the average human. Instead his fears and hopes are portrayed very true to a cat’s basic wants and needs. While Shadow lived with Ada, he was still a little street cat fending for himself. When he talks about trusting or not trusting the “two legs” you enter into his world.  He doesn’t rationalize or describe in human terms what happened to Ada, but through his actions and reactions the reader knows what he has seen and that he is trying to alert his new human of what may happen to her as well. He’s a great character and one of the best cat characters I’ve seen.

Sunny is realistically portrayed as a young woman torn between the life she wanted to have in New York at a big city newspaper and the fears of watching her father age. When Mike, her dad, thinks he may be having another heart attack you know what Sunny is going through. She’s not over the top dramatic but compassionate and in control.

The budding romance between her and Constable Will Price has its lighter moments as they search out the killer.

The ending and who killed Ada completely took me by surprise.

THE BIG KITTY is a well done mystery that keeps you guessing with each page. Animal lover or not Shadow will get into your heart.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


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