Black Cat Crossing (Bad Luck Cat)
by Kay Finch
Cover Artist: Brandon Dorman
Review by Carolyn Frank
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425275245
Date: 01 September 2015 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Some say a black cat crossing in front of you is bad luck; others say all cats are wonderful and that anything bad associated with black cats is just superstition. In Black Cat Crossing, Sabrina is attempting to start a writing career after moving to Lavender, in the midst of the Texas hill country. Sabrina has moved into one of her aunt Rowena's cottages in order to provide assistance to her aunt's rental cottage business, while Rowena deals with a broken ankle. This also enables Sabrina to end her career as a paralegal in Houston and start her new life writing her first mystery novel.
The black cat in question shows up just in time to direct Sabrina to the scene of a murder, the murder of her ne'er-do-well cousin. Since the cousin had just gotten into a screaming match with Sabrina's aunt the afternoon before the murder, Sabrina needs to clear her aunt of suspicion by finding the true murderer. But having just gotten a chance to market her book concept to a literary agent who is in the neighborhood, she also needs to work on her book.
The cat in question wanders through Sabrina's life and the story, behaving like any normal furry beast: appreciatively eating the food that Sabrina provides, and wandering around as he desires. Sabrina is frantic to keep the cat from being captured and killed by superstitious locals, but the cat is unconcerned. Sabrina eventually names the cat Hitchcock and the cat is happy to live in and around Sabrina. But others in the area persist in thinking that a black cat equals bad luck.
This cozy murder mystery stuffs in several of the current tropes: a companion animal (Hitchcock the black cat), recipes (Sabrina bakes desserts when stressed), and a small town in the middle of nowhere filled with colorful characters. The book is intended as the first in a new series, and for the reader who enjoy such tales, the story is engaging. Sabrina is a credible amateur detective with her burgeoning mystery author credentials, and the cat is not required to do more than behave like a normal cat with the ability to appear and disappear at whim.