Animal photographer Janet MacPhail is training for her cat Leo’s first feline agility trial when she gets a frantic call about a "cat-napping." Janet and her Australian Shepherd Jay set out to track down the missing kitty, and quickly find themselves drawn into the volatile politics of feral cat colonies, endangered wetlands, and a belligerent land developer. Janet is crazy busy trying to keep up with her mom’s nursing-home romance, her own relationship with Tom, and upcoming agility trials with Jay and Leo. But when a body is discovered on the canine competition course, it stops the participants dead in their tracks—and sets Janet on the trail of a killer.
Ms. Boneham's smooth prose endears the pets and their people to us from the word "go", or in this case, the word "the", which is the first word in Catwalk. Janet receives a call from an acquaintance whose cat is missing and she wants Janet's dog Jay to find the feline. And find Gypsy (the cat) they do ... in the worst place possible: the 'studio' on the property of a developer who hates animals, with a litter of three new-born kittens. When the man calls the police to report 'intruders', he gives the number as seven, so the police rush out, thinking they have a situation on their hands. But he neglected to say that the 'seven intruders' were Janet, her friend, Janet's dog Jay, Gypsy the new mama and her three kittens. Yeah, now there's a menacing bunch. Further, he calls Jay a 'vicious dog', whose only growl at the man came when he tried to strong-arm past Jay's person - with a plastic sack, intent on disposing of the kittens. Oh h-e-double-toothpicks NO! Not on my watch. Or Janet's.
This is the same man that wants to develop the wetlands near Alberta's (Gypsy's person's) house, thereby destroying the feral cats' home - all in the name of 'development' and 'money'. So the environmentalists are not happy with 'Mr. Developer' Charles Rasmussen, either. His opening parlay in the pissing match involves putting white stones around the wetlands pond for 'improvement' - a way to stake a claim on the land. But poor them, before that can happen 'someone' spray-paints the rocks day-glo orange.
Rasmussen is a 'great' bad-guy. He ticks off EVERYBODY. In addition to the aforementioned offenses, he also abuses his wife, emotionally and physically, and moves his wife's father (without her knowledge) out of the nursing home out of spite. You see, Louise Rasmussen's father is the man who has fallen for Janet's mother.
Catwalk actually refers to feline agility trials, in which Janet's cat Leo will shortly be competing. (Who knew there was such a thing? I thought cats too independent and/or disinterested to be able to concentrate for such a task.) But Ms. Boneham gives us so much more, both in terms of a captivating story and various social causes. Catwalk has one of the best marriages of fiction and social causes that I've ever seen. The cause message gets across in a superbly entertaining manner without being overbearing or preachy.
I have three opinions about this book: that animals (even feral cats) deserve a family that love them and a suitable, safe place to live, just like people. It is also my opinion that there is no excuse for abuse of or violence towards someone or something not in a position to defend themselves (the cats, Louise Rasmussen, or her father), and that Catwalk will be loved (and should be read) by animal lovers everywhere.
Sheila Webster Boneham writes fiction and nonfiction, much of it focused on animals, nature, and travel. Drop Dead on Recall (2012), the first book in her cozy series from Midnight Ink, won the 2013 Maxwell Award for Best Fiction Book from the Dog Writers Association of America and was named a Top Ten Dog Book of 2012 by NBC Petside. The sequel, The Money Bird, was released in August 2013, and Catwalk will be released fall 2014. Six of Sheila’s non-fiction books have been named best in their categories in the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and the Cat Writers Association (CWA) annual competitions, and two of her other books and a short story have been finalists in the annual competitions. Her book Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals (Alpine, 2009) has been called a “must read” for anyone involved with animal rescue. Sheila lives in North Carolina and travels frequently to speak to groups and teach workshops.
~~~oOo~~~a Rafflecopter giveaway