Publication Date: 12/02/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
T.C. LoTempio on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, Meow If It's Murder, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
First in a new series!
Nora Charles doesn’t believe in fate, even if she is a crime reporter who shares a name with a character from The Thin Man. In fact, she’s moving back to Cruz, California, to have a quieter life. But after finding an online magazine eager for material, and a stray cat named Nick with a talent for detection, Nora’s not just reporting crimes again. She’s uncovering them…
Back in her hometown, Nora reconnects with old friends and makes some new ones, like Nick, the charming feline who seems determined to be her cat. But not everything about Cruz is friendly. Writing for a local online magazine, Nora investigates the curious death of socialite Lola Grainger. Though it was deemed an accident, Nora suspects foul play. And it seems that her cat does too.
Apparently, Nick used to belong to a P.I. who disappeared while investigating Lola Grainger’s death. The coincidence is spooky, but not as spooky as the clues Nick spells out for her with Scrabble letters—clues that lead her down an increasingly dangerous path. Whether fate put her on this case or not, solving it will take all of Nora’s wits, and maybe a few of Nick’s nine lives.
T.C. LoTempio brings readers the first book in her new Nick and Nora mystery series, Meow If It's Murder. Fans of The Thin Man movies are sure to take notice of this new series and all of the crazy antics of Nora, a former investigative reporter and her cat, Nick. LoTempio matches Nora's wits against a killer, who murdered a friend of Nora's deceased mother. With eerie nods to some of the mystery greats this is a very good first effort in a series.
What I liked:
First of all, I was intrigued right away with this book for several reasons. Being a fan of The Thin Man, having a cozy series that made a play on the movies was a great idea and I think it really worked for LoTempio here. She doesn't beat the reader over the head with the references but she does allude to the great movies of William Powell. Not only that, but the fact that Nick the cat has the distinct features of his former owner, a brilliant detective, was a cool idea, even making the reader think along the lines of reincarnation or something of the sort. There was also the fact that the murder in the story was eerily reminiscent of a Hollywood starlet's murder that was never solved. So, many good little tidbits to draw the reader in.
Nora is former investigative reporter turned sandwich shop owner. She returns home to California from her stent in Chicago, after the death of her mother only to find that one of her close friends has possibly been murdered. I liked the investigative reporter angle. It still makes Nora an amateur sleuth, but it gives her bit of a leg up on just your average deli owner trying to solve a complex crime. I thought she was brilliant and I loved her interaction with police detective, Corleone. (A nod to the Godfather, perhaps?) I think there is plenty of room for romance between these two in the future.
The murder itself was not an easy one to figure. You kind of knew why someone may have done her in, but not exactly who did it. There were plenty of twists and turns and Nick's little trick with the Scrabble tiles was ingenious. He has to be carrying around the spirit of his former owner. This one wasn't easy to predict and there were plenty of suspects. I found myself enthralled with it and couldn't put it down until I finished. That's saying a lot since I read tons of cozies every month.
This was an excellent first book in a series. There was enough background to get the reader going on the series, but it didn't overpower the mystery of the first book. I thought LoTempio made nods some of the greats, including The Thin Man and the worked well to build interest in the series. I liked Nora a lot and found her angle for investigating believable. A great first book in a series!
Meow If It's Murder is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade. When she isn’t reporting or writing novels, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read.
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