Blurb: When cat lover and quilter Jillian Hart volunteers to help a local animal shelter relocate a colony of feral cats living in an abandoned textile mill, she never expects to find a woman living there, too. Jeannie went missing from Mercy, South Carolina, a decade ago, after her own daughter’s disappearance.
Jeannie refuses to leave the mill or abandon Boots, her cat who died years ago. After all, she and Boots feel the need to protect the premises from “creepers” who come in the night. After Jeannie is hurt in an accident and is taken away, those who’ve come to town to help repurpose the mill uncover a terrible discovery.. As the wheels start turning in Jillian’s mind, a mysterious new feline friend aids in her quest to unearth a long-kept and dark secret.
My Review: Leann Sweeney's adoration of cats shines through in every line she writes of the Cats in Trouble mystery series.
This fifth book in the series finds Jillian volunteering to relocate feral cats from an old textile mill so the space can be renovated (the end result is still in dispute). Everyone is shocked to find a homeless woman, Jeannie, living there with her long dead cat Boots, as they protect the "holy place" from "creepers". It was widely assumed that she disappeared years ago searching for her "missing" daughter Kay Ellen, but when a skeleton is found stuffed in a fireplace, Jillian finds herself immersed in a tangled web of secrets long thought buried.
I enjoyed learning more about the history of the textile industry and was surprised by the social barriers between the mill people and the town people. I also loved how feral cats were integrated in the story. There is much misconception about these kitties and I thought it was well explained how they are different from the typical homeless cat.
Jeannie is a character that my heart really went out to, but of course my favorite character was the precious little ghost cat Boots. (Meet Boots here!) I firmly believe that our beloved pets are always with us after they've crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but how comforting it would be to actually be able to still see them! The fact that Jillian is also able to see him shows the powerful connection she has with all cats, and it was wonderful to see Boots lend a paw in solving the murder of his mistress so many years ago.
It's easy to see why this is a New York Times bestselling series; I just hope readers don't have to endure another year-long wait for book #6!
SOURCE: Review copy courtesy of the publisher.