Clea Simon,
Kittens Can Kill
(Poisoned Pen Press, 2015)

Who can resist this title?

I'm sorry if this is a spoiler, but -- the kitten didn't do it. While kittens are both adorable and ruthless, the crimes here are purely human.

Pru Marlowe, our first-person narrator, is somewhat psychic, in that she not only talks to the animals, but they also talk back. In terms of crime detection -- which she is not necessarily keen on doing -- this is not as much help as it may seem, because critters have their own agendas and priorities, and can be maddeningly obtuse about human ones. (Of course, they think the same of us!)

Pru is an interesting character. She is both compassionate and prickly, and she has little trust in the world or other humans. This is the fifth book in this series, and I don't know her backstory, but I am curious.

I thought she and the other characters -- human and not -- were well-drawn and seemed very individual. However, sometimes their actions did not jibe all that well with their characters as depicted; while the plot was nicely convoluted, it was complicated by a lot of seemingly arbitrary refusals to communicate, misunderstandings and similar. While this is arguably realistic, it does make for a less-satisfying mystery plot.

Nonetheless, I definitely enjoyed this book, and will be seeking out more in the series and by the author.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

23 May 2015

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