Thursday, December 27, 2018

Cat Got Your Secrets (A Kitty Couture Mystery #3)

Author:  Julie Chase
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781683312833; 9781683316763
Crooked Lane Books
320 Pages
$17.70; $11.34; $7.80 Amazon
September 12, 2017


Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable groove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, she's busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life.  But when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle's bark-mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene - and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father.

It's up to Lacy to clear her dad's name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good.  But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets.  And Lacy's not the only one with bones in her closet.


Lacy Marie Crocker owns a pet boutique in the heart of New Orleans, where she also bakes tasty treats for the animals.  She's trying to make a go of her business and prepare for Valentine's Day - when people even dress up their pets, all the while trying to keep her mother from interfering in her life.  Things seem to be going just fine when problems start to arrive.  She's making a big delivery for a bark-mitzvah, but when she arrives at the event hall to deliver boxes of treats, she's surprised to see city vehicles surrounding the building next door, home of the Wallace Becker's business.  It turns out that the man has been found dead in a walk-in freezer.  She soon learns that her father was the last person to see Walter alive, and is a suspect in the man's murder, due to a video camera feed that shows him arguing with Wallace shortly before his death. 

When Detective Jack Oliver takes him in for questioning, it puts a strain on their relationship, such as it is (which isn't much at this point).  With no one else in view, Lacy - against both her father's and Jack's wishes - decides to find the killer herself.  But what she discovers isn't going to make anyone happy.

Not only does the man's widow throw her off her property and try to get a restraining order against her, someone sends her old photos of herself and her ex-fiancé in an attempt at blackmail.  Lacy refuses to be cowed, and it's not until a second set of photos arrive, putting others in the crosshairs, that Lacy begins to wonder in earnest who wants to frame her dad for murder.

Now Lacy has a personal vendetta against an unknown person who's threatening her and trying to send her dad to prison, and the one person who can help her is also the one person she doesn't trust right now...

First off, I want to say that I am a firm believer in not dressing up pets, just to be clear.  Having said that, I will also tell you how much I enjoyed this book, which says a lot for the writing.  If one can take a subject one is against and still enjoy the book, it means something.

This is the third book in the series and I also have to say that it's improved with time, and that's a good thing, too.  The plot was a very good one (while following the formula of MC or MC's family/friends being in danger); it was put together well and I think much of that was because of the characters.

Lacy has grown into quite an interesting person and her relationship with her mother is going through some very good changes.  She's got her head on right and knows - to an extent - of what she wants out of life; she's not afraid to defend people or pets that she feels needs her help.  Now, we also have the 'battle' between Chase and Jack.  While Chase is pretty much happy-go-lucky, one gets the idea that he might actually be serious about Lacy in his own way, preferring to allow her freedom until he's ready to settle down; and Jack has his own demons to deal with before he's ready to move ahead and admit that he actually has feelings for Lacy.

I do like the fact that this isn't a traditional love triangle (and, as I am sure I sound like a broken record on this subject); I absolutely abhor love triangles; no one should be waffling between 'who wants me more, go ahead, fight it out'.  But indeed this will be worth watching as the men decide what's important to them.  I think we already know what - or who - is important to Lacy.

In the midst of this, her mother has volunteered her for a committee, and she goes willingly (surprisingly) and soon is railroaded into making costumes (not so surprisingly).  Now Lacy has more than enough to keep things interesting in her life.

On the negative side, I really disliked Kinley.  She's not just angry, she's downright nasty.  She barely meets Lacy and treats her like she just stepped in dog poo.  She doesn't even have the manners to try and make a new friend, knowing that Lacy is important to Scarlet and Chase (otherwise, why would they introduce her to Lacy?).  Then, she literally throws herself at Chase - which begs another question: why would he bring her to an event he was supposed to bring Lacy as his date?  I honestly hope she won't be in any other books.  She's distasteful.  Minor spoiler, but I don't think it affects the book at all, since it was one scene. 

All in all, when the killer was revealed it came as a surprise, and I felt that the reasons - connecting one case to another - seemed believable and therefore was gratifying.  I found the climax one of the best points in the book.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Recommended.


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