REVIEW: The Girl with the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir
Dear Ms. Weir,
When Jane forwarded your email offering this novella to the DA reviewer loop, I will fess up to thinking, “this could be cute/great or it could be a bomb.” Sunita stepped right up and said she would read it, or anything else you had on offer, so I took the coward’s path and waited for her opinion like the children used to wait for Mickey to decide if he liked “Life” cereal. Boy, did I just date myself with the reference to that old TV commercial. (Go to youtube and type in “Life Cereal with Mickey). Anyway, when she said she liked it enough to recommend it for June, I slinked back into the picture and asked to read it too.
Max is tired of the losers his cat slave (aka person) Melody brings home with her after going out for evenings with her friends. The latest is a textbook example and Max announces his thoughts on the man by pissing on his clothes. After the loser, um man, stomps out yelling that Melody is a crazy cat lady, Max resolves to find Melody a man like the one they both lost when Max’s first owner – and Melody’s husband, David, was killed two years ago (which is forever in cat time).
The next day he sets out on his mission with a check list in his mind and follows a decrepit older man to a place that serves food. A younger man gives Max some chicken and Max thinks he just might have a winner here. Staying around until all the other people leave, the man notices Max’s collar and drives Max home where he and Melody meet. It’s not quite meet cute so Max repeats the scenario the next day and soon Melody and Joe are dating.
But after snooping, um that’s investigating, into Joe’s backpack, Max makes a horrifying discovery. Joe has a gun. Just like the one that killed David. His efforts to get Melody to notice don’t work but Melody’s family’s concern over who Joe is does leading Melody and her sister to decide to try and discover why Joe is so cagey about his life away from Melody. When the truth comes out, will there be a future for Melody and Joe or will Max have to start looking all over again?
This is quirky yet done with the talent of a long time novelist who is skilled at the craft of writing. You pack lots into the story so that it feels complete which is hard to do in a novella. But it never bogs down so that it must be rushed or some things shortchanged to get everything in. There’s a good balance between dark and light emotions which keeps the cat angle and Melody’s lighthearted style from getting cutesy. She’s that way for a reason because of the angst in her past which it seems she has not truly dealt with until the story starts. The fallout from Joe’s job helps her – and Max – process that and lay it to rest letting both of them move on and be ready for a future with Joe.
Joe is more an enigma for most of book but we still get a sketch of his basic character in how he relates to Max – in contrast to the First Loser the novella opens with. You drop hints throughout the story that show he’s not who and what he is passing himself off as but it’s as much a mystery to the reader as it is to Melody and Max. Still how he deals with Max’s suspected UTI and the trip to the vet solidly shows he’s a good guy
I wish more had actually been told from Max’s POV but there are just certain things he couldn’t intuit or, as Sunita says, he’d be turned into some kind of SuperKitty. I’m glad Max’s sense of judgement is sound as regards to Joe’s character and that Max gets a bit of the happy ending he was aiming for both with Melody finding a new partner and Max in reuniting with family. Will there be future Max novellas? I’m hoping so. B-
It’s ok that I bought the book based on the cover alone, right?
I’m reading this right now and as happy as I was to have a book with a cat’s POV, I was worried about the overall feel of the book. I like quirky and cute, but I have a limit. Fortunately, that’s not the case. I’m glad you guys enjoyed it. Also, love the cover!
I think this is going to be a trilogy, she has an interesting post on her blog about why she decided to self-publish the book and mentions it. http://monkeywithapen.blogspot.com/2012/05/would-you-like-some-sugar-with-your.html
@Vi Dao: I didn’t see the cover until after I read the novella but I love it. Melody is a children’s librarian and sometimes dresses Max up for reading hour with the children.
@Brie: Yes, it does have a good balance of quirk. When I went looking for the cover to add to the review, I checked at Amazon and it says this is part of a trilogy. Yeah, more Max!
I’ve been looking for the perfect read for my annual mammogram this afternoon (is that weird?) and this seems like it fits the bill perfectly. If anything can distract me and keep me smiling, a match making cat will. Plus – the Dr Seuss hat is too cute – my mom was a children’s librarian for 15 years before she retired a couple years ago and her “story lady” props were awesome like that.
Great review, Jayne!
I loved, loved, loved this story (as will be obvious when my review posts). I agree with all your points, but there was something so compelling to me about it and so unusual, I have bits of it stuck in my mind even as I’m typing this comment.
It’s a perfect example of how, when a reader trust an author, she can be taken to places she didn’t expect and have a great experience.
@cleo: This will be great to take your mind off the tittie squishing. Max, bless his heart, gets dressed up a few times for story hour and frankly isn’t that wild about having little monsters trying to pet him afterwards -but he holds it together.
@Sunita: I agree with the statement you made that if anyone could pull off this story, it’s Theresa Weir. It’s good to see her back.
Okay, hearing Melody is a children’s librarian and sometimes dresses up her cat has convinced me! I AM that crazy cat lady! (both a children’s librarian and cat dresser. I have no shame.)
Okay, had to buy it. I love cat books. Oh I’m a sucker for cat books.
The cover is priceless!
How could I NOT buy this one?!? Click.
Read the review this morning, and hit download ASAP. What a sweet, fun story! “Max was a cat of action.” may be one of my new favorite quotes. Cannot wait for his sister’s book, it sounds like she is next.
Between your review, Sunita’s review, and that damned cute cat on the cover, I think I’ll have to bite on this one. Apparently there is going to be a trilogy, at least according to the blurb on Amazon, so, yes, more novellas to look forward to.
I’m going to date myself too by remembering that the Life cereal boy was Mikey.
@Jayne: It WAS perfect (the story that is, not so much the boob smashing). I even laughed out loud a couple times while reading in the waiting room – and then noticed the other pink robed women looking at me strangely. So glad I read your review this morning!
Would follow her anywhere, even to a … Kindle?
Is there anyway to get this e-book not for the Kindle and not for the Nook, just as like an epub file? I like ebooks, but have never bought them through either Amazon or B&N.
@Elly: Theresa Weir just uploaded this to Smashwords, so you can buy non-DRM versions of various formats there. She said she hasn’t checked every version yet to make sure it works properly, but if you have problems, please let us know.
Awesome! Bought, read = happy! :)
I used the epub edition, and it loaded and read great in Aldiko.