BOOK REVIEW: Cat About Town {A Cat Cafe Mystery} by Cate Conte

“Cats were my weakness. I’d never met one I didn’t love instantaneously.”

Amazon has been recommending Cate Conte's Cat About Town to me for at least a year now; and finally, since we have officially reached my favorite time of year for mystery reading {fall!}, and I've come to the conclusion that I desperately want to open my own cat cafe, I decided to give it a whirl. Long story short: there was something missing; but I'm down to give the sequel a shot.

Maddie James is back in her quaint Massachusetts hometown of Daybreak Island for her beloved Grandmother's funeral. Though she bailed for the West Coast to open Goin' Green, an organic juice bar, years ago; her reappearance in the New England nook has left her with all of the feels and memories of her past {aided by encounters with her BFF Becky Walsh and ex-high school sweetheart turned local police officer, Craig Tomlin}. Planning to merely stick around briefly to comfort and grieve alongside her Grandpa Leo, former Daybreak Island police chief, Maddie feels her plans start to shift when she encounters a stray tabby she dubs Orange Guy {later named JJ}, who captures her heart, and subsequently leads her to the dead body of one very powerful Frank O'Malley.

Though merely a wealthy resident, Frank O'Malley has the type of pull in Daybreak Island reserved for those holding political office; and as the President of the Chamber of Commerce, O'Malley is convinced that he runs the quaint town. From bullying new business owners to excluding less-profitable businesses from joining the Chamber, to badgering Grandpa Leo to sell his home - a residence that has been in the family for generations...you name it, and Frank O'Malley can state guilty as charged. So when JJ leads Maddie to Frank's dead body during the annual Food Stroll, there is no shortage of suspects. Unfortunately, the police appear to be targeting Grandpa Leo for the crime - an assumption that does not sit well with Maddie. So she does what any good granddaughter would...she decides to uncover the true killer, with JJ's help, to clear Grandpa Leo's good name. But the deeper she digs, the closer she is to losing her life - and she definitely doesn't have eight more to spare.

This book left me feeling unsettled upon turning the last page. Not because I knew who the murderer was the second they appeared in the book {though I did}, or because there wasn't a strong enough cat presence; rather, it was the characters themselves {barring JJ, who I would die for}. I can't figure out whether I liked or disliked the characters because they all felt very one-dimensional - like I knew them, but I didn't know them, if that makes any sense. They were just there; not doing anything to enchant me or leave me worrying about their well-being - including Maddie. I also found the love triangle between Maddie, Craig, and newcomer Lucas Davenport to be incredibly juvenile, trite, and obnoxious - perhaps because I felt no connection to any of them. Please keep in mind that there is no cat cafe in this book, that is planned for the sequel, Purrder She Wrote, which I do expect to purchase, as I'm eager to see if the addition of more cats and perhaps another chance at fleshing out the characters will win me over.

Star Rating: ***



ellie said...

There are a lot of cat mysteries out there. You might have to find another..Cat in the Stacks mysteries come to mind...by Miranda James.

Caitlin'nMegan said...

Thanks so much for the review! I love the Cat Cafe idea so much! We do have one near here. Naturally, you have to make an appointment..just to get in.

Sofie Kelly has a mystery series too!

Ivy's Closet said...

Thanks so much! It's feeling foolishly fall here! Love the mystery idea! & the Cat Cafe too!

Ananka said...

Not sure this would appeal to me. I want more cats too! I love cats :-D

Kasia Dudziak said...

Very good review. I love stories about cats very much. Fantastic book.

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