Escape Claws by Linda Reilly is the first book in the NEW “Cat Lady” mystery series. Publisher: Lyrical Underground, December 2017

Here, killer, killer, killer . . .

For the first time in sixteen years, Lara Caphart has returned to her hometown of Whisker Jog, New Hampshire. She wants to reconnect with her estranged Aunt Fran, who’s having some difficulty looking after herself—and her eleven cats. Taking care of a clowder of kitties is easy, but keeping Fran from being harassed by local bully Theo Barnes is hard. The wealthy builder has his sights set on Fran’s property, and is determined to make her an offer she doesn’t dare refuse.

Then Lara spots a blue-eyed ragdoll cat that she swears is the reincarnation of her beloved Blue, her childhood pet. Pursuing the feline to the edge of Fran’s yard, she stumbles upon the body of Theo Barnes, clearly a victim of foul play. To get her and Fran off the suspect list, Lara finds herself following the cat’s clues in search of a killer. Is Blue’s ghost really trying to help her solve a murder, or has Lara inhaled too much catnip?

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A visit to her aunt lands Lara and her aunt Fran in the crosshairs of a murder mystery and it’s Lara’s determination to clear her family’s name. I enjoyed this book where the tone was comfortable making it easy to follow along with the multi-plot scenario. This was staged beautifully with our feline friends blending in with their human counterparts, especially Lara’s Ragdoll cat, Blue. The mystery was well-defined with plenty of suspects littered with clues that kept me reading as I had to know what happened next. With a likable supporting cast, engaging dialogue and a small-town atmosphere, this was an enjoyable read and a welcome addition to the cozy mystery genre. I look forward to more exciting times with Lara and her friends in this delightfully charming series.

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