Tuesday, June 21, 2016

FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE by Janet Cantrell


Publisher:     Berkley
Published:     April 5, 2016   
ISBN:        978-0425267448
Genre:       Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com


Chase Oliver has a lot of her plate between planning her friend Anna’s wedding and running her shop, Bar None.  Her relationship with veterinarian Mike Ramos is moving along nicely.  And her escape artist, ever food seeking kitty, Quincy is adjusting to walking about with a leash and harness. What more could a girl want?

Or need?

Definitely not a 14 year high school reunion.  Who has a 14 year reunion?  Apparently a former high school star who is running for political office and hoping to snag some votes from former classmates. And just like it was in high school, there seems to be one of just about every kind of character—inlcuding a class stalker. And when that stalker is found dead under a bush who better to look at as his killer than one of his most recent victims. In this case it also happens to be Chase’s best friend.  Did Julie do it? Or does it just look that way?

Janet Cantrell’s third entre into the Fat Cat Mysteries, FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE, takes some interesting turns into areas not often seen in cozy mysteries.  It also seems to have a distinctly different voice from the two earlier books leaving this reviewer wondering if it portends Cantrell moving in a different direction or perhaps was written by another author.  While the series is called the Fat Cat Mystries, Quincy, the cat’s presence doesn’t add very much to the story.  In FAT CAT TAKES THE CAKE what few times we see Quincy seems more gratuitous than him being the star of the story.  The small excerpts describing his moves just did not read like someone who knew cats.  In the earlier books the author showed a definite understanding of how a cat can manuever to get what he or she wants.  There were any number of opportunities Quincy could have taken part in finding the killer, especially since he is now out and about walking on a leash, that were just missed by the author.

I did like the idea of using a reunion as a scene of a crime.  Who among us hasn’t wishes we could run into some high school classmates for one reason or another?  The intertwined subjects of stalking, blackmail and elder abuse are presented in credible fashion and dealt with appropriately.  The ending felt a little rushed – mostly because the murder was solved, the baking contest concluded and the wedding concluded.  After the hard hitting subjects of stalking and blackmail the baking contest was a non-event, especially how it turned out. 

The introduction as Eddie in the growing ever present love triangle in cozies left me wondering just what Chase was thinking or feeling.  I did like how Anna talked to her about just what was going on, or potentially going on.  It was the kind of conversation I think a lot of mothers should be having with their teenaged daughters.  And I REALLY appreciated that this triangle was squelched before it even began.  Eddie wasn’t very likeable and I just couldn’t see what Chase could possibly see in him

Hopefully in book 4 we’ll see more of Quincy and his crime solving skills again.

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

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