Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch
We all grew up hearing a variety of common superstitions. Walking under a ladder, breaking a mirror, Friday the 13th, opening an umbrella inside – all of these things are supposedly unlucky. I’m not superstitious. For one thing, superstitions are illogical. And they’re inconsistent. One says “to dream of a black cat is lucky,” while another states “dreaming of a cat is regarded as a sign of bad luck in the future.” I certainly don’t believe that a black cat crossing my path will cause me bad luck. Since I began writing the Bad Luck Cat series, though, I’ve learned that several acquaintances of mine would seriously turn around and go the opposite way if they saw a black cat in their path. Hearing this annoys me, but I don’t argue the point because their minds are already made up and everyone is entitled to an opinion.
In Black Cat Crossing, aspiring mystery novelist Sabrina Tate faces a similar situation when residents of the fictional town of Lavender, Texas announce the legendary Bad Luck Cat is back. They’re on a mission to trap the cat so they can remove him from the area and keep the town safe. One of those people is Thomas, who works for Sabrina’s Aunt Rowe at her rental cottage business. Here’s a snippet from the book:
Thomas lifted his arm to check his watch, and I spotted a bloody cut on his forearm. Looked to me like he might need stitches.
“What happened to you?” I pulled a fresh napkin from the dispenser and handed it to him.
He accepted the napkin and dabbed at the wound. “El Gato Diablo is what. Gosh-darned cat crossed my path, next thing my toe caught on the curb, and I fell flat out. Arm caught the edge of one of them fancy metal planters in front of the wine shop. Better’n smacking my head, I guess.”
“A devil cat?” My forehead creased. “What are you talking about?”
“The black cat,” he said. “Big fella. Been around these parts since I was a kid.”
The coffee shop’s owner, Max Dieter, came up with a mug for Thomas in one hand and a steaming coffee pot in the other.
“Heard you talking about the bad luck cat,” he said. “Legend around town. I thought we’d seen the last of him when Wes Krane loaded him up and carted him off to Nolan County.”
From the start, Sabrina feels a kinship with the cat whom she sees as an ordinary, lovable stray black cat. Well, maybe not always ordinary, but still…Sabrina loves him. When he sits on the window sill of her cottage and watches as she works on her novel, her writing takes off and suspense flows effortlessly onto the page. Sabrina names him Hitchcock and declares that this cat is creating good luck for her.
Yes, Hitchcock leads Sabrina to discover a dead body in the river, but he also helps her solve the mystery. Believe what you will – Sabrina and I are sticking to our story – Hitchcock the cat brings us both good luck, and we intend to keep him around for a long time.
You can find out more about Kay Finch on her webpage here.
Black Cat Crossing
(Bad Luck Cat mystery, A)
Brand New Series
Setting – Texas
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (September 1, 2015)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Brandon Dorman
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00SI0275K
In the first in this cat-filled cozy series, aspiring mystery author Sabrina Tate is about to discover that when it comes to solving murders, her new feline friend Hitchcock is a master of sleuthing…
Sabrina has never been the superstitious type. Still, when she moves to Lavender, Texas, to write her first novel and help her Aunt Rowe manage her vacation rental business, Sabrina can’t avoid listening to the rumors that a local black cat is a jinx—especially after the stray in question leads her directly to the scene of a murder.
The deceased turns out to be none other than her Aunt Rowe’s awful cousin Bobby Joe Flowers, a known cheat and womanizer who had no shortage of enemies. The only problem is that Aunt Rowe and Bobby Joe had quarreled just before the cousin turned up dead, leaving Rowe at the top of the long list of suspects. Now it’s up to Sabrina to clear her aunt’s name. Luckily for her, she’s got a new sidekick, Hitchcock the Bad Luck Cat, to help her sniff out clues and stalk a killer before Aunt Rowe winds up the victim of even more misfortune…
Sabrina Tate, an aspiring author, comes to Lavender, Texas to help her Aunt Rowe take care of her rental cabins while her broken leg heals and to finally get the book out of head and down in print. She quickly learns about a Bad Luck Cat in the area. She is surprised when a black cat is right outside her cabin door, it has to be the same cat. She can’t help but follow the feline and wishes she hadn’t when he leads her right to a dead body. The body of Bobby Joe Flowers, her Aunt Rowe’s conniving cousin who had just come back to town. The body of a man her Aunt Rowe argued with earlier. She knows this is going to be bad, she knows her aunt his going to be the number one suspect. Since the cat led her to the body maybe he can lead her to the killer. How is she ever going to get her book written if she has to solve a murder case while the police have their sights set on Aunt Rowe?
I liked Sabrina right away. She does not believe there is any such thing as a Bad Luck Cat, in fact she is going to do everything she can to save him from the superstitious folks of Lavender. As a true cat lover I was totally rooting for the kitty she quickly names Hitchcock.
The author sets a very fast pace from the first page. Sabrina has her hands full – saving Hitchcock, writing her book, helping with the cabins, solving a murder and maybe an old murder too. Her friend even sets her up with a meeting with an agent when she barely has written 3 chapters let alone a whole book.
Writing the first book in a series is hard because all the characters need to be introduced and they have to be fleshed out enough so the reader can engage with them. The author also has to give us a good credible mystery that we cozy readers can try to solve before the protagonist. Kay Finch does a good job with this, but at times is was just a little too much. Sabrina just had so much going on. At times I wanted to jump into the book and tell Sabrina’s friend, Tyanne, to slow down. Seriously I get Sabrina may need a nudge to get going on her book but after she found a body on her aunt’s property and her aunt being questioned by police it was time to back off and reschedule the meeting. I am surprised Sabrina held it all together, a normal person would have crumbled with all the weight upon their shoulders.
With that said the mystery was good and had great twists and was very entertaining. I was totally surprised by how things played out. Hitchcock and Sabrina make a great team and I am looking forward to seeing what drama they get themselves wrapped up in next.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 2 copies to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”