Either you’re a cat person or not one. Me? I can take them or leave them. Some cats have endeared my heart. Mysty, my daughter’s pet, was a feline that I truly liked. Her latest additions to the furry collection, Pumpkin and Pizzelle, are okie-dokie as cats go. But you won’t catch me in any line at a free cat giveaway. Despite my nonchalant attitude to the cats of the world, Rick Bylina’s newest book, Kill All Cats, grabbed my attention. I had envisioned this epic to be something like a mass killing of cats all given spiked catnip with promises of a better life in the cat-hereafter. Or maybe a serial cat killer, taking them out one by one, while keeping souvenirs of their pretty little collars with bells and rhinestone studs. But it was none of those.
Ron Black is your average Joe working a night job, sleeping days, and trying to earn a college degree somewhere in-between. But things suddenly go south when he learns someone has murdered one of his neighbors along with her hoard of cats. The police zero in on him as a prime suspect because of his past dealings with her and her feline entourage. The cast of this tale in varied, quirky, and fascinating. Among some of the notables are Ford and Truck Copley, two woodsy guys a few houses down; Arnold Sanders, a crusty old butcher; Digby, the pharmacist, and his wife; Dawn and Douglas Dietz, newlyweds; Jean, a quirky, almost girlfriend; Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice, bowling buddies; Kirk, his great-uncle and scientist; and many more. This is a big cast, but I promise you will know them all intimately before the book’s end.
One more character needs to be mentioned—Brisbane, Ron Black’s cockatiel, side-kick, muse, and soulmate. The world of fictional sleuthing duos have given us Sherlock Holmes & John Watson, Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin, Hercule Poirot & Arthur Hastings, Frank and Joe Hardy, and now a new twosome has been added--Ron Black and Brisbane.
The book is laced with Rick Bylina’s style of humor and has more twists than a crooked tail cat. He weaves a story of murder and betrayal, a mystery that will keep you guessing, a story filled with surprises and suspense. For any mystery reader, I highly recommend Kill All Cats.
I give this book a hearty 5 stars.