Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Cat in a Vegas Gold Vendetta

Summary: Temple Barr is an ace P.R. wizard when it comes to promoting Las Vegas’ hottest clients.  She’s also an amateur sleuth who has caught her share of bad guys.

B-movie actress Savannah Ashleigh begs Temple to investigate the suspicious death of her rich aunt’s handyman. Temple happily takes the case, if for no other reason than to take her mind off her chaotic private life. Her ex-fiancé, the Mystifying Max, is back–minus his memory.  And current fiancé Matt Devine has shown up from a stint in Chicago with the promise of a surprising future.   Which may or may not include Temple.

As Temple digs into the man’s untimely demise she finds plenty of suspect and greedy humans swarming around the ailing Aunt Violet, who means to leave her estate to her resident cats.  Temple thinks she’s close to solving the case, but it becomes clear to Midnight Louie, Temple’s roommate and ace feline detective, that there are more deaths both human and feline coming. Add in the return of a mysterious stalker from the past, and it's murder and mayhem on all fronts for Temple, Louie, and the ones they love in the newest story in the Midnight Louie mystery series. -- Forge

As part of Mystery Mondays, I have been trying to read a wide variety of mystery books -- even if that means starting a series in the middle or reading one out-of-order. The latest book that I picked up is the twenty-third book in the Midnight Louie Mystery Series by Carole Nelson Douglas called CAT IN A VEGAS GOLD VENDETTA. Needless to say, with 23 books already released in this series, I'm pretty sure that there are a ton of loyal fans who have come to know and love these characters. Unfortunately, I just wasn't able to connect with them as much as I had hoped.

I think my biggest problem with this book is actually my own fault. I didn't read the other 22 books first. I won't go so far as to say that the author didn't do a good job of catching me up on some of the events that occurred in prior books. However, I will say that I sometimes felt left out. There were many references to past events, and I know I would have appreciated them more if I had been familiar with these characters and their crimes. Maybe it was just me, but I found myself not really being able to follow some of the side stories.

Putting aside my issues with starting this series entirely too late, I will say that I see why this series has had so much success. The basic premise behind these books is very cute and the book is pretty darn funny. Midnight Louie is a feline private investigator. He's very smart and insightful and he uses his feline instincts to help Temple Barr, a Vegas PR person and amateur sleuth, solve crimes. While most of the book is written in third person, there are quite a few chapters thrown in which are written in Midnight Louie's voice. Midnight Louie is just a great character and his voice is very entertaining.

In addition to Midnight Louie, I also really liked his owner Temple and her "associates." There were characters from Temple's past that suddenly reappeared. And there were other ones who were thought to be dead that most definitely weren't. All of the characters in this story were all extremely complex (as were their background stories), and I can see lots of opportunities for future mysteries given how "interesting" they were. There was even a little bit of romantic conflict/sexual tension thrown in for good measure.

As far as mysteries go, I enjoyed the mystery that is described in the book summary above -- the one about the suspicious death of a rich woman's handyman. I thought the mystery was fairly well developed and I appreciated the twists and turns. I was also equally impressed with how that mystery was resolved. (And no -- I didn't have a clue!) My only beef about the mystery aspects of the novel was that I felt as if some of the the side stories were too tied up in past books.

I do think CAT IN A VEGAS GOLD VENDETTA is a probably a great addition to this already critically acclaimed series. I just wish I had been more familiar with the characters and their pasts so I could truly appreciate this novel.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've had a similar experience of picking up a book far along in a series and sort of surprised that it is so popular! But then again, that's why there are so many books - to appeal to all sorts of different readers!

bermudaonion said...

The fact that the cat helps solves the crimes makes me think of the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown, which I love.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I like mysteries and I like cats, but there are SO MANY series out there, and the fact that this one has so many now...well, I'm just not sure I could do it. When it comes to funny, goofy mysteries, I have enough room in my life for maybe three of them, then I burn out. (Boy I really sound grumpy!)

Audra said...

Honestly, how much story can you tell after the 20th book or so? I suppose there's a time and a place for the comfort of a formulaic mystery with characters you know, but I always find I peter out on these kinds of mysteries series about six or seven books in... (like the Phryne Fisher books -- great to begin with, lost interest after a while...)

Anonymous said...

Looks fun if one has a good hand on the series. I think I learned, long ago, that I can’t do the whole starting in the middle of the series thing.