In an effort to find greater variety in contemporary, non-paranormal reading, I deliberately searched out the cozy mystery section at my local store. I haven’t read out of that bunch of books in many years. I came up with this book, which my grand-kitten, Tigey, wholeheartedly applauds. In fact, she thinks Orange Guy is a total studmuffin. Okay, I’m exaggerating. She’s fixed, so she don’t care.
Maddie travels from her studio apartment and successful juice bar on the West Coast to her little seaside hometown on the East Coast for her grandma’s funeral. Grandma loved cats and Orange Guy shows up by the tombstones too. No identification and he takes a liking to Maddie who reciprocates. But, it’s busy and noisy and Orange Guy slips away.
Grandpa is now alone in a big, beautiful house that’s been passed down in the family for generations and Maddie is his favorite descendent. They’ve been hanging out and reading books together since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. So, she’s pretty annoyed when she finds out the local snake-like rich dude, Frank, is after Grandpa’s house, now Grandma’s gone. While Maddie takes her walk down memory lane, remembering all the people she grew up around, the places, and streets, and her high school sweetheart and bff, she’s also trying to figure out how to help Grandpa. Orange Guy finds her again and follows her everywhere, meeting friends, et cetera.
The prose is superbly written. I totally envied Ms. Conte’s descriptive ability. It’s so hard getting what I ‘see’ in my imagination down on paper so other humans can ‘see’ it the same way in theirs. She totally nailed it. Made me want to cry. Also, her description of Grandpa made me miss my dad so much I had to call him.
Maddie insists Frank meet her at a café to talk about the situation and he’s a slippery dude to pin down to such a thing too. He implies Grandpa’s losing his memory and one foot in the grave and all that, the same as he’s been implying to everyone else. He goes on about his plans to turn the property into a major business for his own family. She’s none to pleased with that and tells him so.
But…just when you think Frank’s the villain…
Orange Guy slips away from Maddie at an outdoor festival later that day. She searches for him, almost frantically. These two bonded that fast. Then, she sees him and he leads her to…
Ut-oh. The plot thickens. Of course, the police show up and interview Maddie who had words with Frank earlier that day. Did I mention Grandpa is the retired Chief of Police. Well, the investigator is kinda cute, but he’s no Sherlock. Maddie’s casually interviewing several useful people without realizing it for a while, before the police get a clue. They’re not used to murders in their quiet community, just bullying business-dudes.
In fact, there are several adorable romantic possibilities for Maddie, though this is not a Romance genre novel. So, don’t even go there. Nevertheless, I liked Damian, the seafood stand guy, best. Maddie favors the musician and I’m thinking it’s no wonder she’s still single.
More clues pop up that Maddie doesn’t seem to take conscious note of, like how not every business owner belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and maybe ’cause they don’t really want to. Hmmm… Kinda fishy.
There are several colorful secondary characters, like the Tai-Chi bookstore guy and the guy who wonders around dressed in a leopard-pattern outfit, quoting Shakespeare. Makes you feel like you live there too, or want to.
The list of suspects piles up and Maddie starts to be more deliberate. Meanwhile, Orange Guy (officially named JJ) has achieved hero status by virtue of having discovered the dead body and Grandpa is grumpy about all the attention on his family and his private life. An unknown person hires a contractor to fix Grandpa’s roof while she’s butt-naked in the shower and an old friend offers to help her buy a house when she moves back. When she moves back? But, she has a life in California, right?
This book is on the shelves right now or you can order it. Here’s a link to get you started on that- https://us.macmillan.com/catabouttown/cateconte/9781250072061/
Here’s the author’s Facebook Page- https://www.facebook.com/CateConteAuthor/
But, she also publishes under another name and you can find her on Twitter through that- https://twitter.com/Lizmugavero
Tigey says buy this book and you’ll be happy. Actually, she says nothing, because she is asleep and she is a cat.