Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review and Giveaway: The Big Kitty

The Big Kitty (Sunny & Shadow Mystery - Book 1) by Claire Donally

Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Penguin USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0425248027
ISBN: 042524802X

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Excerpt from The Big Kitty Courtesy Of Amazon's Inside Look Feature


Sunny Coolidge left her New York City newspaper job to go back to Maine and take care of her ailing father. But there’s not much excitement—or interesting work—in Kittery Harbor. So when Ada Spruance, the town’s elderly cat lady, asks for help finding her supposedly-winning lottery ticket, Sunny agrees. But when she arrives at Ada’s, with a stray tomcat named Shadow tagging along, they discover the poor woman dead at the bottom of her stairs. Was it an accident—or did Ada’s death have to do with that missing lottery ticket, which turns out to be worth six million dollars?

Town Constable Will Price suspects the worst. And Sunny’s reporter instincts soon drive her to do some investigating of her own. Even Shadow seems to have a nose for detective work. Following the trail of the purrloined ticket, Sunny and Shadow try to shed some light on a killer’s dark motives—before their own numbers are up…


The Big Kitty is the first book in the new Sunny and Shadow cozy mystery series. Author Claire Donally sets her story in the beautiful state of Maine and gives readers who are also pet enthusiasts a great new heroine with a feline sidekick. With engaging characters and a missing lottery ticket worth six million dollars, The Big Kitty is a cozy with attitude!

I had several questions about this novel from the get-go. First and foremost, I had a hard time finding out even the most simple of details about the author. Claire Donally being a pseudonym, I always try to find the authors real name, website and that sort of thing. Not so with this one, Donally remains almost as big a mystery as the whodunit in the novel. LOL!

This is the first book in the series, so I have to give this one a little bit of grace. The author has to set up the story, introduce the characters and get the reader acquainted with the surroundings. Sometimes that doesn't leave a lot of room for the plot of the book and I think that's what happened here. The Big Kitty was a bit predictable. The ancillary details about the town and the people were well done, but the story itself lacked a little. That's not to say that I didn't like it... I did, but I had it figured out way to early on. 

Sunny is a great character. A reporter from New York returns to her hometown and ends up in the middle of a murder investigation. Considering that reporters tend to stick their noses into just about everything, this was a good profession for the heroine and a good way to get her involved in the action. But Sunny wasn't quite what I was expecting from a seasoned reporter. She didn't go about things in a manner that I thought was consistent with the plot. She seemed a little too soft. Most reporters are hard-nosed and full of sass. Sunny was a little on the timid side.

Shadow the cat, was a great sidekick for Sunny. Shadow basically adopted her and not the other way around. I liked the sections of the book that were told from Shadows point of view. It added a lot to the story and fans of books with animal characters will quickly for Shadow's personality and attitudes. Believe me, animals have a personality just like people. There is room for growth in both Sunny and Shadow, which gives this series a lot of potential overall. The author could go a lot of different directions here and I think all of them would be interesting and fun to read about.

The plot was fairly easy to figure out. It was definitely plausible. A person could certainly get killed over a six million dollar lottery ticket. Sunny's reason for investigating was also realistic and made good sense. I think the problem came in when there were just too many things to accomplish in the first book of the series. The author did a great job with some aspects of the book, but fell a bit short in other areas. I think this is going to shape up to be a great series and I'm sure the next book will probably focus more on the  mystery and less on the set-up. I look forward to seeing what's next for Sunny and Shadow and finding out who in the heck Claire Donally is... LOL!

The Big Kitty is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 3 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Claire Donally is a pseudonym for the author of many other critically acclaimed cozy mysteries.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway of one copy of The Big Kitty by Claire Donally.

~You must be a GFC follow or an E-mail subscriber to participate.
~U.S. addresses only.
~Deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST May 29th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation to the author on this post, not the form.
2.Please fill out the FORM.


Wendy Newcomb said...

Thank you for your review, it sounds like a great book.


AnnaZed said...

That sounds like my kind of mystery, spunky female and cats!

(I am a follow via GFC as 'Marguerite' ~ margueritecore [at] gmail [dot] com)

Theresa N. said...

Sounds like a good mystery and I love cats.
Theresa N

Karen B said...

Beautiful Maine sounds like the "purrfect" setting for a new series!

Email subscriber.


Angela Holland said...

Thank you for the chance to win this book. I look forward to adding another cozy to my shelf

Carol M said...

I have a big kitty! I'd love to read about this one!

Sue Farrell said...

I just love cozies with cats---so I can hardly wait to try this series.

Linda Kish said...

I enjoyed your honest review. I love cats. Tried to find out the author's true identity but failed. I'd love to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Emma said...

Thank you for the review. sounds like a great book.

Martha Lawson said...

I love the title and the cover. The book sounds really good.

lag123 said...

I too like Cozies with cats. I would love this one.

lag110 at mchsi dot com

bn100 said...

This sounds like a fun start to the series.

catslady said...

How could I not love this book!!!


mamabunny13 said...

Sounds like this is going to be a good series!

Kate Becket said...

Just finished this book. Enjoyed it though the plot was no challenge. The best parts, that I loved and look forward to in future books of the series, were the parts written from the cat's point of view - great!

Bella said...

I love cats