Kill All Cats
by Rick Bylina
Review by Mel Jacob
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781533581914
Date: 03 June 2016 List Price $13.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This quasi-comic noir mystery, Kill All Cats by Rick Bylina, centers on a flawed hero with a past, an intelligent cockatiel, and the death of an old woman along with her thirty-eight cats. Because of threats Ron Black made in the past against the woman, the police immediately focus on him as the killer. As the evidence against Ron mounts, he fears for his life.
Brisbane, the cockatiel, helped Ron cope with his tragic past and start a new life. The bird's favorite things are watching old detective series and eating mashed potatoes. He has a surprisingly large vocabulary and especially likes the Rockford Files.
Ron grew up as a loner raised by his grandfather after his father died. His mother died in childbirth and his father blamed Ron. His violent background also doesn't help him with others. He now works as a night watchman in a warehouse building converted to offices.
His great uncle Kurt Frazen helped him get the job. The building also houses his now retired uncle's old lab that some think is haunted. His job is mostly watching security cameras and making periodic tours of the building to ensure security. His presence is also recorded by those same cameras. They provide him with an alibi for the night when he thinks the old woman died.
His neighbors are a strange lot and seem reluctant to talk about the dead woman. There are the Copely twins, Ford and Truck; a butcher, Arnold Sanders; a married couple, the Alworths, Digby and Ruth (he's a pharmacist); and Ron's great uncle Kurt Frazen, a retired research chemist.
Initially, Ron panics, but gradually realizes only he can save himself and catch the real killer. Ron's motto is "control what you can control" and it helps him cope with police suspicion and uncertainty as the circumstantial evidence against him mounts.
Bylina has concocted a convoluted conspiracy against the cats, their owner, and Ron. He digs into Ron's psyche and his few relationships with people. Bylina presents a cast of quirky characters with competing interests most of which don't help Ron. The ending will satisfy mystery readers, few of whom will have worked out the answer to who killed the cats and Nedra and why.