Tuesday, February 16, 2016

NO CATS ALLOWED by Miranda James

Publisher:     Berkley
Published:     February 23, 2016
ISBN:       978-0425277744
Genre:      Cozy Mystery
Format:    Hardback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com


Charlie Harris couldn’t be more content with his life—his daughter, Laura, is married and teaching at nearby Athena College and the couple are expecting his first grandchild, his son, Sean, is engaged to his law partner and their business is thriving, Charlie’s relationship with Helen Louise is progressing nicely and his cat Diesel adds unconditional love and joy to his life.  On top of that he enjoys his part-time job at the Athena College library and enjoys spending time chatting with childhood friend Melba who works in the library office.  What more can a guy ask for?

Life does, however, have its bumps and in Charlie’s life these days it seems to be in current interim library director, Riley.  Not the most pleasant person the staff on the whole hopes that by “interim” the library means really, really short timer.  While some staff members merely roll their eyes at his demands and attitude, someone is playing some pretty nasty pranks on him.  But someone isn’t content with just playing pranks on the beleaguered Riley.  When the man is found dead—murdered—in the library, despite his hopes to avoid being drawn into yet another murder, Charlie suddenly finds himself in the middle of yet another investigation.  This time, however, Charlie may well be the target.  Along with his faithful companion, Maine Coon, Diesel, Charlie is racing against the clock to find the killer.

Miranda James is one of my auto buy / auto reads, mainly because I love his Diesel, the Maine Coon, character.  Diesel doesn’t talk or walk through walls or even get directly involved in solving the mystery.  He is, instead, a cat-cat in the stories that adds some wonderful dimension to Charlie, Azalea and the other characters that spend time in Charlie’s life.  James “gets” cats and their personalities and actions.   

And Charlie is such a great character. He’s smart, inquisitive, friendly and genuine.  Charlie is portrayed so real to life that as he was reading Penman’s LIONHEART I was so drawn in that I ordered a copy of the book to read myself.  How often is it that you read a character that makes another author’s book sound so interesting?

Normally Charlie is more involved in solving the murder and/or mystery of the story but in this one he seemed to observe more—perhaps because he himself bordered on being a victim.  I felt that the end came too quickly—once Charlie put it together the story was wrapped up just a little too fast.  I anticipated a little more drama to the climax of the story. 

Without saying too much, Charlie has some interesting prospects in his future which I’m sure will lead to some even better mysteries for him to solve.

This is one do not miss series.  I cannot wait for the next book to appear on the shelves.

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

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