Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book Review: Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann

Regulars to the show will know that Susan Spann is one of our most featured guests. We originally brought her on for her legal expertise, but wanted to give her a chance to showcase her writing, too. I never knew if I would read her books simply because there are so many books, and when we first met, I was SUPER focused on reading as much sci-fi and fantasy as I could get my hands on. Little factoid about me, though: one of the first books I ever tried to write was a mystery. I even studied mystery writing for about a year before returning to fantasy.

As a kid, some of my fondest memories were of mystery shows on PBS. Poirot, Miss Marple, Cadfael...great memories. Especially when I was sick. It was comforting, familiar. Home.

Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann reminded me EXACTLY of those childhood memories.

I've never read Japanese historical mysteries, but Claws of the Cat ticked every box I ever wanted in a classic mystery novel. A genuine who-dun-it with all the clues on the page for the reader to figure out so that the big reveal isn't annoying. It moved forward with new pieces of the puzzle, character development, and rich setting descriptions that kept the story alive and vivid on the page.

I seriously have no complaints. If I REALLY wanted to dig for something that I "wish" were different, it would be that I wanted a couple closer insights into the protagonist's thoughts. It's written in third-person close POV, so on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being first person and 10 being a synopsis), I'd say the reader gets about a 5-6 level of insight most of the time, zooming into a 4 at times. I would've liked to see a more consistent 4 with a few spots that zoom into a 3. But, really, that's a personal preference and not in any way a comment on the quality of the writing. I think the book is excellent, and everyone should go out and read it RIGHT NOW!

Mystery is one of Giles' first true loves. He's excited to read the next book in Susan's series. And the ones that follow.

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