Thursday, January 26, 2012

Criminal Cats? Unbelievable!

Dark Things II: Cat Crimes
Edited by Patty G. Henderson
Savage Tiki Digi Books, Dec. 2011
ISBN 9781468055481
trade paperback, 243 pages
also available in E-book format

First things first. Yes, it’s true that I wrote one of the short stories selected for this collection of criminal capers involving cats. My story, Diamonds Aren’t Forever, is a piece I’m proud of and truly enjoyed writing.

But it’s also true that I have no close association with either the editor or the other writers who donated their stories to Dark Things II: Cat Crimes. I’m reviewing this book for two reasons only. First, because all proceeds from the sale of this book will go to support feline rescue and support facilities in California and Florida. And secondly, because I’ve read every story in the book, and I’m truly impressed with the quality of the work Patty chose for inclusion in the anthology.

Let me give you a brief sample of the tales so lovingly penned by the twenty-one contributors.

Jim Silvestri’s Eating Cleopatra features a young man who must compete with a bird and a cat for his mother’s love. All poor Chauncey wants is a little attention from dear old mum, but is he willing to go to any lengths to get it? Read the story and find out.

In Nat Burns’ Hisss, Darla is convinced that a dream about snakes shape-shifting into cats is not just a nighttime fantasy, but a true evolutionary explanation for the existence of felines. No one believes Darla—except her cats.

Dogs may enjoy the feel of a good brush down, but cats look on grooming by a human as sheer torture. In Room Service, by Patty G. Henderson, we learn how an angry Angora takes her revenge when a groomer’s shears leave her looking like a shaved poodle.

J. S. Watts’ Cats and Bags tells the story of a sympathetic feline whose beloved mistress suffers a sudden and severe decline in her health. Is a swift mercy killing preferable to an agonizing natural death? Only the cat knows.

Baby Lamb is an unusual cat. She won’t eat store-bought food, preferring to hunt for her dinner in the great outdoors. The weird thing is, when she catches a mouse or a pigeon, she never eats the flesh. Is it simply a coincidence that her former master once investigated the grave of Vlad the Impaler, the model for the fictional Count Dracula? You’ll have to read Anna Sykora’s Baby Lamb to find out.

Have you ever watched a cat play with his image in a mirror? In Edward DeGeorge’s The Other Cat, Skeeter the tabby undergoes a life-changing experience when he discovers another cat lurking behind a glass ‘window’ in his house. He can’t get at the intruder, and this irritates him no end—until the day the other cat passes through the window, causing all hell to break loose in Skeeter’s domain.

Last but not least, my own tale, Diamonds Aren’t Forever, features a trio of feline thieves who must compete with four robbers of the two-legged variety when they attempt to steal the famed Duchess Diamond of Baldagovia from a local city museum. Can Eddie G. and his trusty friends outwit a couple of behind-the-scenes manipulators, two not-so-trusty museum guards, and a doped-up Doberman Pinscher to save The Boss from the feared Axe Man? Given the plates of fresh catnip waiting as their reward, they’re sure going to try!

These are just a few of the tales recorded in Dark Things II: Cat Crimes. If you love cats, you’ll enjoy not only them, but also the other offerings this anthology of odd, funny, scary, and/or off-beat stories.

If, on the other hand, you hate cats, you’ll still enjoy this book: it will definitely confirm all your beliefs about conniving cats and their criminal natures.

And if you don’t care about cats one way or the other, buy this book for someone who does. I guarantee they’ll thank you for it.

And so will our furry little friends in California and Florida.


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