The fourth book in the Cats in Trouble Mystery series, published April 3, 2012.
Genre: cozy mystery
After returning from craft fairs and cat shows to her lake house in Mercy, South Carolina, quilter Jillian Hart discovered her friend Tom is missing - and his estranged half-brother has made himself at home in Tom's house. Jillian doesn't trust the guy, especially since he allowed Tom's diabetic cat to escape. When Mercy police officers find Tom's wrecked car with a dead stranger inside, Jillian’s worry turns to dread. What is this man doing in the car – and who killed him? Aided by a trio of cats and a spunky rat terrier, Jillian is determined to find out what kind of trouble Tom has gotten himself into - before someone else turns up dead.
Jillian is worried, she has not heard from Tom for days now, and has no idea why he doesn’t return her calls. But she is coming home from a tour of craft fairs and cat shows, where she has been selling her quilts for cats, and will find out. Only Tom is not at his house, according to his half brother Bob, he has not been home in a couple of days. Jillian did not even know Tom had more family, and she really does not trust this stranger. The idiot let Dashiel escape and is doing nothing at all to find him. And over all of this, where is Tom? What happened to him? When she finally finds Dashiel, the cat is unconscious and she rushes him over to the vet. Stress is very bad for his bloodsugar, and who knows what he has been eating outside. Jillian decides to report Tom missing to her friend Candice, who is also a police officer in the Mercy police department, and she tells them all about the strange Bob who is living in Tom’s house.
When Jillian finally arrives home, without Dashiel who is staying overnight at the vet’s, she finds Tom in her house. Totally beaten up and with a large black eye. He doesn’t really wants to tell her, as he has to leave again. But Jillian really wants to know what happened. Apparently Tom has been married before, when he was still a cop. The lady in question was a grafter, something he found out too late, but as he really liked her teenage son, he tried to make the best of the marriage. Until he found out she was sleeping with his partner, a bad cop, whom he had to turn in to IAD. He hasn’t heard from her ever since, but he did keep in touch with the boy, named Finn. Finn has recently turned 18, and apparently he left home. With his little doggy. And Logan and Hilary think that Finn went to see Tom. When Logan could not find any trace of Finn at Tom’s house, the forced Tom to come back with him, and abused him on the way. Tom was kept prisoner for two days, before he made his escape, and now he is frantic to find Finn.
But when they do find him and his cute little dog, Finn is wearing clothes drenched in blood, he has lost his memory and appears to have a large head wound. And there is a gun in his backpack, of which he has no idea how it got there. What happened?
Later Candace calls Tom to tell him his car has been found, with a dead body inside it, and can he come over to identify the man? It is Logan, and someone has shot him in the head before crashing the car into a big tree.
All signs point at Finn, but Jullian and Tom refuse to believe that. And Jillian sets out to find the truth. But the stakes get higher when more people die, and Tom becomes a suspect as well.
I absolutely love this series. I like all the characters in it, and some are pretty strange and colourful. Jillian is a great lady, she loves her cats, and all other animals. So when Tom’s old and diabetic cat needs her help, she doesn’t hesitate for a second to take him in as well. Or Tom’s kind of stepson, although he never adopted the boy, which he still regrets.
A very good mystery plot, and I did see some of the details, but not all of them. All in all, a lot of action in this book, but it still is character driven. Jillian learns a lot about Tom’s past, and they grow even closer together. Also Kara, Jillian’s stepdaughter, is growing on me. I did not really like her in the first book, but she has become really loving and protective of Jillian. And of course the animals in this book, the cats and the cute doggy, are heroes as well. I love them.
I am already looking forward to the next book. The addition of Finn will not make a relationship between Tom and Jillian easier I guess.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian