The Black Cat & Ali Brandon - Dark Streets
Who says Black cats are unlucky? Not author Ali Brandon, that’s for sure.
You’ve heard all the old wives tales – don’t let a black cat cross your path, black cats are a sure sign of either death or bad luck, they’re witches familiars, etc. But they’ve been pretty lucky for author Ali Brandon, or at least one black cat in particular. Ali is the author of the BlackCat Bookshop mysteries, all of which prominently feature black cat Hamlet, feline detective extraordinaire!
I fell in love with this charming series (and Hamlet!) from the first volume and I think you will too, even if you are not a cat lover but just love a good mystery!
In the debut volume, DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH, we meet Darla Pettistone. As the new owners of Pettistone's Fine Books, she’s determined to prove herself a worthy successor to her late great-aunt Dee...and equally determined to outwit Hamlet, the smarter-than-thou cat she inherited along with the shop. Darla's first store event is a real coup: the hottest bestselling author of the moment is holding a signing there. But when the author meets an untimely end during the event, it's ruled an accident-until Hamlet digs up a clue that seems to indicate otherwise...
Hamlet’s adventures continue in A NOVEL WAY TO DIE.
Darla is settling nicely into her new life, even reaching an uneasy truce with Hamlet. Unfortunately, when she needs to hire a new clerk, the finicky feline decides to lend a paw to the hiring process. He chases away applicants who don’t meet his approval, finally settling on an unlikely candidate: Robert, a book-loving Goth kid who has a secret only Hamlet knows.
And Hamlet can’t seem to stay out of trouble. One of the bookstore’s regular customers, a man who is renovating a local brownstone, claims he’s seen Hamlet prowling the neighborhood. When the man’s business partner is found dead, Darla discovers that Hamlet may have been the only witness to what could be murder. With the crafty cat’s help, she wonders if they just might be able to pounce on a killer...
Hamlet even has some cool karate moves! In WORDS WITH FIENDS, Hamlet finds himself in a bit of a funk after a close encounter with a criminal leaves him a bit shaken, and Darla hires a “cat whisperer” to get to the root of Hamlet’s problems. Darla decides to get out of her own funk by taking up karate to learn how to defend herself in case the need arises again.
But when Darla finds her sensei dead at the dojo, it seems that even a master can be felled by foul play. Darla decides to investigate the matter herself, and the promise of a mystery snaps Hamlet out of his bad mood. After all, Darla may be the sleuth, but Hamlet’s got a black belt in detection! And a cool video that goes viral provides the impetus for the most recent adventure...LITERALLY MURDER
After a video of Darla and Hamlet performing at a martial arts tournament goes viral, the Florida chapter of the Feline Society of America invites the “Karate Kitty” to be the guest of honor at their championship cat show in Fort Lauderdale.
Upon arrival, Darla discovers that not everyone in the Sunshine State has a sunny disposition. Animal rights activists are on the march, and a cat show contestant stages his own angry protest when his special breed Minx—half Sphynx, half Manx—doesn’t win. Then Hamlet disappears—only to be found next a dead man's body. Now it’s up to Darla and Hamlet to take best in show and collar the killer….
You don’t have to be a cat lover to enjoy these books…you just have to appreciate a good whodunit! I personally cannot wait for number 5, due out later this year. Try one today!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
While Toni Lotempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic. She lists among her favorite mystery/suspense writers Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Higgins Clark and James Patterson, as well as EJ Copperman, Steve Hockensmith, Victoria Laurie, Ali Brandon, Rita Mae Brown, Miranda James and Sofie Kelly to name only a few! Toni is also passionate about her love for animals, as demonstrated with her four cats: Trixie, Princess, Maxx and, of course, ROCCO, who not only provided the inspiration for the character of Nick the cat in the Nick and Nora mystery series, but who also writes his own blog and does charity work for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read! Toni’s also devoted to miniseries like The Thorn Birds, Dancing with the Stars, reruns of Murder She Wrote and Castle (of course!). She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – the first volume, MEOW IF ITS MURDER, debuts Dec. 2, 2014. She, Rocco and company make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Find them at: www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com or at www.tclotempio.com