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.
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.
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