From the publisher: Introducing Blackie, an unusual feline hero, and his companion Care in the first of this dark new mystery series.
Three figures, shadowy against the light. That’s all I remember from my past life, as I am dragged, dripping and half-drowned, from the flood. My saviour, a strange, pink-haired girl, is little help. She can barely care for herself, let alone the boy she loves. And although she has sworn to avenge the murder of her mentor, she must first escape the clutches of drug dealers, murderers and thieves. I would repay her kindness if I could. But we are alone in this blighted city – and I am a cat.
The past is an enigma to Blackie, the voice of Clea Simon’s dark new mystery. Combining elements of feline fantasy and cozy whodunit, The Ninth Life introduces this unusual hero and his companion, Care: two small creatures in a nightmarish urban landscape, fighting for their lives, and for the lives and memories of those they love.
If not for the fact that The Ninth Life is narrated by a cat, this is a book that I most likely never would have picked up. My mantra when it comes to mysteries is "the cozier, the better", and reading about the difficult life of a child and cat on the streets certainly doesn't fit the bill. That being said, the narration by Blackie the cat as he witnesses things humans can't puts an especially unique and enjoyable twist on this tale (tail...) of "feline noir".
Carrie "Care" Wright meets Blackie the cat when she saves him from being drowned by three evil men. They instantly form a bond. Care has been under the mentorship of a private detective and sees this new life as a way to escape her current situation, but then he's murdered and things look bleaker than ever. Meanwhile, Care's foster brother Tick, who Blackie isn't sure can be trusted, is in the clutches of an evil gang leader, AD, and in danger of becoming addicted to a drug known as scat.
As Blackie and Care team up to solve her mentor's final case and catch his killer, they find themselves in more than one life-threatening situation, leading you to wonder who is really taking care of who. Blackie is a true hero and the relationship he forms with Care is very well written. I look forward to seeing what's next for this crime-solving duo.
Welcome, Blackie! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you and Care came to be companions?
Hi Mudpie! Thanks for having me here today. As you can tell from the scars in my jet-black fur and the fraying of one of my ears, I’m a street cat, and I’ve had a tough life. But it would have been a lot worse if not for Care. This strange girl saved my life, pulling me from a flood in a storm drain, where I was drowning. Is it any wonder that I’ve vowed to stay with her? I’m one lucky cat.
What's life like for a homeless cat and girl on the mean streets?
It’s a tough life, but it’s better together. Although I can’t talk to Care directly, I do what I can to keep her safe - alerting her to the dangers that my superior senses can pick up. She’s a smart girl, but her hearing and sense of smell are just not as good as mine!
Are you ever able to just have fun and be a regular cat?
I do! And there are times, when we’ve both had a good meal and the sun is shining that I’ll just roll on my back and let her rub my belly. Purrrrrrr…..
What kinds of adventures do you and Care have in your debut mystery, The Ninth Life?
Well, by rights, I should insist you read “The Ninth Life” to find out. But I can tell you that Care used to be the apprentice of an amateur detective, who was murdered, and she is trying to figure out what happened. She’s also trying to set herself up as a detective – it would be preferable to her other choices on the street! Because she saved my life, I’ll help her in any way I can – even if that means putting my own life at risk.
Are you ever frightened by the situations that the two of you find yourselves in, or have you taken it upon yourself to be fearless for Care's sake?
I am both frightened and resolved to be fearless. As a cat, I have multiple lives and I suspect I may be on my last one - but I will sacrifice it to save this girl, if I need to. That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid.
Any clues you can give us about what's next for the two of you?
If you read “The Ninth Life,” you’ll know that I know a few things that Care doesn’t – and that although she may solve the case at hand, there is a bigger mystery pending. Plus, a friend of hers – the boy called Tick – needs our help. As Clea works on the second Blacke and Care mystery, you can be sure we are on the case!
http://www.cleasimon.com home page
Amazon Indie Bound Severn House