Monday, February 12, 2018

Bookish Thoughts: Claws for Concern by Miranda James

I couldn't stop checking the clock on the wall nearby. ~ Opening of Claws for Concern

Claws for Concern (Cat in the Stacks, #9) by Miranda James
Berkley Books, 2018
Crime Fiction (Cozy); 288 pgs
Source: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Goodreads Summary:
Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, are embroiled in a new mystery when a cold case suddenly heats up in the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series. 
Charlie Harris has been enjoying some peace and quiet with his new grandson when a mysterious man with a connection to an unsolved murder starts visiting the library...

This is the ninth book in the Cat in the Stacks series, but my first by Miranda James. Charlie Harris is a retired librarian who volunteers at the local library. He also enjoys every minute he is able to spend with his infant grandson. Charlie is well known about town, probably most notably because of his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, who goes just about everywhere with him.

Claws for Concern was a nice break from the more intense thrillers I have been reading lately, although it was not without its own suspenseful moments. The author takes his time setting up the story. A familiar looking stranger who frequents the library approaches Charlie and asks him about an address that just happens to be Charlie’s. In addition, a true crime author reaches out to Charlie in a roundabout sort of way to see if he would like to be a part of his latest project.

Charlie has a good head on his shoulders and is a very thoughtful man. I liked that he doesn’t rush into anything, something I see all too often in mystery novels. He takes his safety and that of those he loves seriously. He is reluctant about meeting with the true crime author, not wanting to be in the limelight. And, as for the stranger, he knows nothing about him or what exactly it is he wants. Of course, Charlie does make up his mind about both situations, and soon he is digging into a cold case of a triple homicide from years before.

I have read a number of cozy mysteries recently that have really knocked my socks off, and I was hoping this one would too. It didn’t quite, unfortunately, but I did enjoy it just the same. The novel took a little too long to get off the ground for me, and there were day to day details, which I read more like a checklist than naturally occurring events. That was not enough, however, to pull me out of the story. It’s a good solid book overall.

I adored Charlie’s cat, Diesel. Diesel may or may not understand everything going on around him (although it seems like he does), but he clearly is a smart cat. I loved that Charlie takes Diesel just about everywhere—on a leash, even! Talk about a good icebreaker when questioning folks about a murder! Charlie has a great support network from his family to his tenants to his friends, and I appreciated that he took their opinions into consideration.

I would consider reading another book by the author and in this series, although it isn’t at the top of my list. I liked getting to spend time with Charlie and Diesel and am curious to know how they got their start as amateur detectives.

To learn more about Miranda James (aka Dean James) and his books, please visit the author's website. You can also find the author on GoodreadsFacebook, and Diesel's Facebook Page.

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  1. It's a pity this didn't knock your socks off but it does sound like a pretty good read! I've enjoyed cat-themed cozies before so this sounds right up my alley!

  2. Cozies rarely "knock my socks off," but I almost always enjoy them. This sounds good.

  3. One of our mystery group members read the first book in this series instead of reading about the service dog theme we had for February. She loved it and is continuing the series. To each his own - right? Ha!

  4. This is one of my favorite series, especially when I want to read and be engaged but not surrounded by gore and horrible-ness. And the author really understands libraries and archives, which for me is a bonus. Like you, I long for a kitty like Diesel. Mine would have a heart attack (and I've have lots of scars) if I tried taking them out on a leash ...

  5. This sounds like a nice enough little read. I enjoy reading these in-between darker reads every now and again and the pets on the cover always get me.

  6. I don't read many cozies, but Diesel does sound like a great addition to this one! :)

  7. I appreciate your honesty.The cover is cute though :)

  8. While these books stand alone, I think that probably accounts for some of the exposition you found off-putting. I've read all the previous ones in order and that probably helps a bit.

  9. I like it that it has a library setting. Plus, the cover is lovely!

  10. Diesel sounds like a great little character and what a cute cover!

  11. I agree that this series isn't one that knocked my socks off. I think what has me rating it pretty high is Diesel! I'm not a huge cat fan but I want one like Diesel!

  12. Claws for Concern sounds good overall, even with the qualms you mention. I don't read too many mystery cozies anymore, but I used to. Enjoy your weekend!

  13. I am loving that there are so many animal books just now, do you think it would have helped if you had read the others? Not an author I have read before. BTW everytime I stop by, I love the piccy of your kitty attacking your hair <3 always makes me smile xxx


  14. The cat on the cover, don't it's ears look unrealistically pointy? Or too large for a Maine coon? Something's a bit off with that illustration, for me.


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