Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Book Review: Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James (Cat in the Stacks Mysteries #10)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Christmas setting, strong mystery, great characters, cute cats
Cons: No cons hiding under this Christmas tree
The Bottom Line:
Litter of kittens
And a Christmas murder in
Strong seasonal book




Kittens and Murder at Christmas

Fans of the Cat in the Stacks series know these books are prime examples of the cozy mystery.  Even though the murders and plots can touch on some serious topics, the books themselves always have a warmth to them, thanks in large part to Diesel, the Maine Coon cat the series is named after.  Add in the Christmas season, and my expectations for Six Cats a Slayin’ were high for a pleasant book.  I was not disappointed.

Charlie Harris's feline family has grown quite a bit.  Someone has left him five kittens, bringing the total cats in the house to six.  As cute as the kittens are, Charlie doesn't think his household can support all five of them, but he is taking care of them until he can track down the owner.  Once he finds out the story behind the kittens, he will decide if he needs to find new homes for them or can give them back.  Fortunately, Diesel seems to be in love with the kittens, acting like a parent to them.

That's not the only thing that Charlie is struggling with this Christmas.  He's finding it hard to extend the Christmas spirit to his new neighbor, Geraldine "call me Gerry" Albritton.  Gerry has just moved in across the street, but she has rubbed Charlie and Diesel the wrong way from the moment they went over to introduce themselves.  Others in the neighborhood are having their issues with Gerry, but it's at a party Gerry is throwing that tragedy strikes.  Even though Charlie doesn't intend to get involved, he finds himself once again caught up in a murder.  Can he figure out what has happened?

If I'm making it sound like there are two storylines in this book, there's a reason for that.  The mystery of the kittens is more center stage early in the book, while we get some of the background we need on Gerry.  Once the murder takes place, the focus shifts to that being the main mystery, with the kittens becoming a sub-plot.  Honestly, I didn't mind because I suspected the focus would switch at the appropriate time, and I got caught up in the story of these kittens myself.

Fans of the series know to expect some good twists along the way to the ultimate solution, and this book is no exception.  The foundations for the mystery are laid down before the murder takes place, and once it does, we get plenty to keep us guessing until Charlie figures it all out.  The mystery definitely has a somber element to it, which contrasts with the Christmas setting, but it manages to pull it off without pulling the book too dark.  The suspects are real enough to make us fully invested in what we learn along the way.

The kittens help keep things from getting too dark, as well.  They are so cute!  Even though I'm not a pet person (mostly due to allergies), I couldn't help but smile at them and how Diesel was interacting with them.  And yes, he is still as much a character as ever in the series.

With the Christmas setting, we get to see plenty of Charlie's family and extended family.  I love these series regulars, so I was thrilled to spend time with them.  And yes, that includes Charlie's two grandchildren.

The book left me with Christmas carols in my head and tears in my eyes, the good kind, as I turned the last page.  Six Cats a Slayin' is sure to make Diesel and Charlie's many fans happy and will win this duo new fans as well.

Need to catch their other cases?  Here are the rest of the Cat in the Stacks Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner Tuesday October 30st, so please leave your comment before midnight Pacific Time on 10/30.  You will have until midnight on 11/4 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 11/5.

18 comments:

  1. Mark, to say that I am thrilled by this review is a gross understatement. Thrilled and humbled. Thank you.

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  2. This is one of the best and most entertaining series being written in this genre. Of course Diesel is one of the best cats in the mystery world.Would love the book - our library system does not have it on order as yet.
    Jeannette Gape
    motherhen5490@att.net

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  3. Guess it's been a while since I checked in with Charlie & Diesel because I don't recall any grandkids. I believe Arsenic & Old Books was the last one I read.This is a very intelligent cozy series. Thanks for a chance to win & have Christmas come early!
    cameronbarbara@ymail.com

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  4. I really want to read this book. norbert8bubba@yahoo.com

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  5. This book sounds wonderful. Thank you for the review and contest. mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  6. I love the Diesel series so much and am so excited about this Christmas story. Crossing my fingers: sarahradamson@gmail.com

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  7. I'd love to read this -- ty for the giveaway. Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

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  8. You always have the best reviews! This series is one of my favorites and with having new kittens, an intriguing new neighbor and a Christmas theme, I am anxious to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway!
    debprice60@gmail.com

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  9. I love this series. Diesel is awesome. Thanks for the chance to win this book.
    bmlewerenz@gmail.com

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  10. Love this series! Thank you for the chance. Vickihardman318@gmail.com

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  11. Thank you for your wonderful review on "Six Cats a Slayin'" by Miranda James. Love a story that can bring a good kind of tear to your eye AND put you in the Christmas frame of mind. Diesel and Charlie sound adorable and I can't wait for the opportunity to read this amazing book. Love the cover!

    Appreciate the chance to win a copy. Fingers cross to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  12. I absolutely love this series. Thanks for the contest. ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

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  13. I’ve been wanting to try this series, thanks for the chance to win! christistricky (at) aol (dot) com

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  14. Love this series! What a great read for the holiday season. Can't wait to read.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. I love this series! Diesel & Charlie are so much fun! Thanks for the giveaway!
    turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

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  16. I have not read this series, but would like to. Please enter me.
    Wendy
    clarksrfun at gmail dot com

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  17. Another great review, Mark! I love this series, but am not as far along in it as you are. Please enter me to the giveaway! Thanks--I'm Donna at the Cozy Cruisin Group at Goodreads. dclaine at fastmail dot com

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