Killer Nashville 2018 Silver Falchion Nominee


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By Julie Chase

Crooked Lane Books | $26.99
September 12, 2017

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KN Silver Falchion nominee


Recipe for Mystery – A Review of Cat Got Your Secrets by Joy Gorence

Julie Chase writes about suspense, murder, and self-discovery in her third novel, Cat Got Your Secrets.  The narrator, Lacy Crocker, “thirty and single,” has recently opened the Furry Godmother, “a pet boutique and organic treat bakery in the heart of New Orleans’s Garden District.” Having left home twelve years earlier to find herself, Lacy discovers that although she left New Orleans, her family roots and ancestral heritage define her and provide the comfort and support she seeks.  However, once she is home, she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation, the third since her return.  With a flair for invoking life into her characters, Ms. Chase commands each page with finesse and suspense.  From the opening chapter, the characters take on a life that draws the reader into the midst of the action and tension that builds throughout the story.

Penelope, Lacy’s cat, provides the indirect anchor for the story.  Although there must be more to her cat than meets the eye, Violet Conti-Crocker, Lacy’s southern and wealthy mother contributes to the list of colorful characters that compose Lacy’s support system. When the body of Wallace Becker, her father’s close friend is discovered, and Dr. Crocker is accused of his murder, the motivation behind Lacy’s unending quest to find the murderer has her cross paths with Detective Jack Oliver and Chase Hawthorne, a member of the “Garden District Royalty,” attorney, and her best friend’s brother-in-law. 

The author’s deft manipulation of the story-line is enhanced by the addition of the sexual tension and uncertainty of Lacy’s emotional feelings for both Jack and Chase.  Part of her self-discovery involves her understanding of her relationship with these men.  In addition, the underlying tension in the story is enhanced through juxtaposition. It subtly forces Lacy and the reader to consider that people and events are not always as they appear.  For instance, Ms. Chase writes that her “Dad’s friend was dead” and in the next paragraph, she shows the life surrounding the city as Lacy “careened onto Magazine Street, the heart of the Garden District…Robust baskets of red, white, and pink flowers hung from lampposts along the six-mile stretch of charming shops and delicious food, anchored by matching ‘Fall in Love with the Garden District’ flags and golden silhouettes of Cupid and his bow.”

With a flair for detail, Ms. Chase provides an entertaining read the keeps one riveted.  The questions that one may have about some of the other characters, such as Kinley and Mrs. Becker, may be revealed in her next novel.  But as any good writer, Ms. Chase brings the reader back again to the beginning of the story with her discovery of the truth.

Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville.  She is an author, world-traveler, English professor, and avid reader.  Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill and their two pampered kitties.