Monday, August 16, 2021

Book Review: Claws for Alarm by Cate Conte (Cat Cafe Mysteries #5)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters, wonderful setting, good mystery
Cons: Pacing, some editing problems, and Maddie’s behavior in one scene
The Bottom Line:
Fundraiser gone wrong
Sets scene for fun mystery
Great island setting

Fundraising with Murder

I’ve always been fascinated with life on an island, so that was one reason I jumped on Cate Conte’s Cat Café Mysteries as soon as I heard about them.  She has managed to capture my imagination with the series, and I enjoy each visit back.  Claws for Alarm is our fifth visit to Daybreak Island, and it’s another fun visit.

Maddie James and her family and friends have spent the off season renovating JJ’s House of Purrs, and they are ready for the upcoming tourist season.  That’s a good thing because the cat café and their work helping all the stray animals on the island is beginning to get wider recognition.  That’s how Jillian Allen, the head of a group that raises money for animal rescue organizations, heard about them, and as soon as she gets on the island, she wants to meet JJ, the cat that started it all, and see the work Maddie doing.

Jillian is so impressed that she offers to have her group host a fundraiser for Maddie’s cat café, with Maddie’s sister, Val, helping to organize it.  With a tight deadline, they are going to need all of Jillian’s whirlwind energy to pull it off, but when Maddie and Val go to meet Jillian at the place they’ve selected as the location for the event, they find Jillian strangled with the cash leash that was supposed to be a party favor.  Since Jillian is a visitor to the island, who would have wanted her dead?  Or did she have connections to the island that Maddie didn’t know about?

Jillian really is a force, and she jumps off the page when she is around.  Even though she’s the victim, her presence still infuses the rest of the book even if she isn’t alive on the page.  There is a lot going on here, but I do wish the pacing had been a bit better.  We get lots of revelations at the end that make the ending seem rushed because it takes so long for us to process everything.  Having said that, it does answer all our questions in a satisfactory manner.

I talked about Jillian, but the rest of the cast is just as strong.  They aren’t as over bearing, but that’s a good thing, and they are memorable in their own way.  I loved spending more time with Maddie and the rest of the regulars.  Some of the characters who turn into suspects are absolutely wonderful.  I loved getting to know them, and I wouldn’t mind if they popped back up in future books.

There are a couple of things that bothered me.  One was some simple editing mistakes as people popped into scenes they weren’t in a couple of times, etc.  It only happened a handful of times, but it was annoying.  More serious was a scene late in the book where Maddie does something she shouldn’t do, mainly because she’s promised not to do it.  Don’t worry, it’s not too stupid to live behavior, but still, her behavior really didn’t sit well with me.

But the setting!  I always enjoy books set in tourist destinations because it feels like a mini vacation while I am reading, and I can feel myself relaxing.  That was true once again here.  I would gladly go visit if I could – between murders, of course.  Despite my cat allergies, I might even pop into the cat café for a couple of minutes, too.

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Daybreak Island with Claws for Alarm.  If you are looking for a cheap island vacation fill with some intrigue, this is the book for you.

Enjoy more trips to Daybreak Island with the rest of the Cat Cafe Mysteries.

1 comment:

  1. I'm allergic to cats too (shots did wonders thankfully) so I'm not sure I'd want to go to a cat cafe but I do love reading about them! I have a book or two in this series and despite the editing issues this does look like a fun read.