Tuesday, March 1, 2016
"A Picture-Purrfect Christmas (A Klepto Cat Mystery Book 13)" by Patricia Fry, is a book in her series that works perfectly fine as a stand-alone novel.
This is a very sweet and heartwarming story! Even though it touches on the dark subject matter of child abduction and abuse, the tone of the book is positive, full of adorable moments with children and animals. Of course, the heroic pet and the title character is the loyal and brilliant cat named Rags, who belongs to the main protagonist, Savannah Ivey.
Savannah and her husband Michael are veterinarians, whose home is filled with love and pets as well their baby daughter Lily. Savannah and her schoolteacher friend Shelly become involved in teaching a photography class to at-risk children. The characterizations of the kids in this group, ages about 10-12- is probably my favorite part of the book, because they seem so REAL. One of the kids in the group is a young girl named Marissa, whose legs were damaged by an early injury and never repaired. Marissa is a half-orphan who is living a nightmare in a squalid and unmonitored foster home. Her older foster sister, Erin, has been the only comfort in her life.
Marissa's life begins to be turned around when she joins the photography class with Shelly and Savannah. Shelly has an acquaintance, a man called Esse, who seems overly eager to come along and teach photography to the children. This is where things get odd and interesting. Rags, Shelly's cat, acts strange around Esse, as he has a 'sixth sense' about people and shows strong preference in which humans he likes and who he doesn't like. Esse is on Rags' 'bad' list, and little Marissa feels uncomfortable about him when he tries to push her wheelchair away from the group to get her alone. Marissa tells Savannah that she feels uncomfortable with the man as well.
Eventually- the concerns Savannah has about Esse, Marissa's foster family, and some shady characters in the community come to pass. Marissa is abducted. Savannah, her husband Michael, and her detective friend Craig join their animal heroes Rags the cat and Peaches the horse on the hunt to find the missing girl. I do think there could have been more background on the 'villain' characters and why they did what they did.
I liked Savannah, but she seemed too judgemental and 'classist' at one point. She judged a whole neighborhood for the way they 'left cars parked on lawns' and 'people lounging on their porches like they have nothing better to do.' It was good to show a little bit of Savannah's flaws though, because she comes off to me as the 'perfect' woman, a career mom with lots of productive hobbies, compassion for kids and animals- but I sensed some snobbiness in her, too.
I enjoyed this story and the sweet moments with all the characters, both human and animal. I hope to read the rest of the series!
I was given a free copy of this Kindle book for an honest review.