Published: April 2014
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com
After losing her big city job Sarah Grayson has returned to her home town of North Harbor and is now the proprietor of Second Chance, a quaint little shop that repurposes an array of items. She employs a diverse cadre of assistants ranging from high schooler Avery to her friend Nick’s mother, Charlotte. She is also, ahem, assisted by her black cat, Elvis. Besides managing her shop she also teaches a class at the local senior’s residence. When one of her regular students, Maddie, who is also a long time and close friend of her grandmother, Sarah heads over to her house to check on her. What she discovers on her arrival isn’t just Maddie…it is Maddie and her new beau and that gentleman is dead. She moves Maddie away from Arthur Fenety’s body and calls the police. Two long-time friends arrive – Michelle who is a detective and Nick, the new coroner. While Sarah and Michelle were one time very close, suddenly, one day years before Michelle closed Sarah out of her life. Now they have little choice but to at least talk because Michelle is investigating the murder and Sarah is out to prove Maddie did not kill her beau. But Sarah isn’t without help. Her grandmother and Maddie’s friends might be a bit on in years, but they have all the gumption and skills of, as they call themselves, Charlie’s Angels.
Sofie Ryan’s new Second Chance Cat Mystery series is a wonderful addition to the cozy genre. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, THE WHOLE CAT AND CABOODLE as it introduces what appear to be a marvellous cadre of characters and with some solid mysteries for Sarah and her gang to solve. Of course, my favourite character is Elvis, the black cat who picked Sarah as his human. Ryan portrays Elvis in a realistic way—showing how felines can let their humans know when something isn’t quite right. She doesn’t anthropomorphize, but her shows him in true cat fashion. I liked how Ryan showed Sarah considering Elvis’s actions and reactions and questioning herself as to whether or not Elvis was communicating something specific or just behaving like a cat.
All of the characters were well developed and realistic. This first book introduces them without overwhelming the reader with too many all at once. The rekindling of the friendships between Sarah, Nick and Michelle is nicely done. There’s no overnight, unexplained connection, but a nicely paced reuniting. The way Michelle explains what happened to turn her away from Sarah almost two decades ago was credibly done.
The killer was a surprise—I didn’t see that one coming! The second chance cat mysteries are shaping up to be one really fun series.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.